Eye Spy Glasgow: the church where Polish wartime soldiers worshipped

The contribution of Polish forces to Scotland's defences during World War 2 is often overlooked.

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After the fall of their country to the Germans, tens of thousands of Poles found their way to Scotland.

Sailors and airmen from their country were already here, as part of the Allied war effort.

While many of the Poles were stationed in remote camps along the east coast, there was a sizeable population in Glasgow.

Members of the Polish Armed Forces found themselves stationed at Yorkhill Barracks.

The majority were practising Catholics and they looked around the area for a place to go to Mass on a Sunday.

The building they chose was a small ornate church tucked down a small street just off nearby Partick Cross.

It was then St Peter's and is now St Simon's - but is known simply as the Polish Church.

For the Poles who had been uprooted from their country it was not just a church, it was the focus of their small community.

A plaque outside the church on Partick Bridge Street reads: "During the second World War Polish soldiers on leave from the battlefields came to this church to attend Mass together to hear the word of God in their native tongue, to sing their Polish hymns, and to thank Our Lady, Queen of Poland, for this touch of home the Polish community of Glasgow has.

"Through the years they felt deeply grateful to Father Patrick Tierney for the privilege he has accorded them of celebrating the Polish Mass in this Church and for the many kindnesses received from him and the parishioners."

There is still a large Polish community in the city and St Simon's is still one of the places it is drawn to.

The architect of the church was Glasgow-born Charles O'Neill.

It dates to 1858 and the first priest was Daniel Gallagher, who at one time taught Latin to a young David Livingstone.

There are many beautiful church buildings throughout Glasgow - this one is small, wonderfully ornate and with its own fascinating story.


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