Pole’s wartime map of Scotland restored

The Great Polish Map of Scotland at Barony Castle
The Great Polish Map of Scotland at Barony Castle

Restoration of a three dimensional map of Scotland, the brainchild of a Polish General who was based in Duns during World War 2, will cost £81,690.

In 1975 General Stanislaw Maczek, who had been commanding officer of all Polish forces in the United Kingdom, worked on the permanent three-dimensional terrain map as a reminder of the part played by Polish servicemen in Scotland’s defence.

The historic model map is situated in the grounds of Barony Castle, Eddleston, near Peebles, which was used as a Polish Air Force Staff College during the war. It is believed to have grown out of an outline map produced by the airmen to familiarise themselves with the outline of Scotland’s coastline which they were to protect, and is thought to be the largest outdoor relief map of a complete nation anywhere in the world.

Over recent years the 3D map has fallen into disrepair but in 2010 a project was started to restore it and so far almost £70,000 has been raised including: Heritage Lottery Fund £20,000; Barony Castle LLP £25,000; Polish Consulate £2,600; and Scottish Borders Council £21,125 from Environment and Infrastructure, community grant scheme and Landfill Community Fund after SBC councillors recently approved the grants.

Those hoping to see the great map restored to its former glory describe it as “an amazing learning resource and a lasting testament to technical skill and international co-operation” which will provide the region with an important educational facility and tourist attraction.

The Scottish Borders was home to many Polish soldiers during World War 2. They arrived here to form new regiments before heading back to the frontline in Europe, and while stationed in Duns, General Stanisław Maczek created the Polish 1st Armoured Division (Polish 1 Dywizja Pancerna) in 1942. While Polish airmen were honing their skills with the help of the 3D map at Barony Castle, General Maczek’s men practised their armoured warfare skills on the Berwickshire Moors.

General Maczek’s lifelong interest in geography and landform, makes the 3D map the perfect memorial to his adopted homeland. He had seen a similar outdoor map of land and water in the Netherlands, demonstrating how the waterways had been an obstacle to the Polish forces progress in 1944, and remembering it, he set about replicating it in Scotland.