- Title: THE WHITE EAGLE : August 1940-March 1941 [Main Title]
- Film Number: CPD 101
- Other titles:
- Summary: Documentary shows the Polish community in exile in Britain retaining their distinct political and cultural identity and continuing alongside Britain the military struggle against Germany.
- Description: Story of a nation in exile "now our guests and also our very gallant comrades in arms" opens over pre-war views of Warsaw (tram, lakeside palace, old city). Peace is shattered by explosion and scene switches to wartime Trafalgar Square where a refugee boy Andrew is feeding pigeons and distributing Polish newspapers. Traffic passes a blitzed area. At the Chancery of the Polish Embassy, Ambassador Count Raczynski looks at the Anglo-Polish Treaty of Alliance; Prime Minister Sikorski in session with his cabinet. Polish contribution to the Battle of Britain is recalled over film of Hurricanes in flight and landing and pilots off-duty. Life of Polish community (in London) is nurtured by numerous bodies: Employment Office for Polish Nationals, Polish Red Cross, Medical Centre, School and Polish Hearth (presented by British Council) where President Raczkiewicz is seen entertaining King Haakon to a cup of tea, with Raczynski and Sikorski also present. Anglo-Polish Ballet presents Cracow Wedding Peasant dance in order to keep such traditions alive. Military activity of Poles in exile is suggested by more film of a Hurricane Squadron (306) being serviced, scrambling and in flight overhead. A Polish artist sketches a watercolour of a pilot and Churchill. (End of Reel 1 - short gap in continuity.) (Reel 2) Polish library in London, and also the editing of the present film (cutting-room scenes), survive German Blitz, during which Andrew improves his English by counting the bombs. Polish servicemen enjoy a shelter party in the crypt of the Polish Church as the Blitz continues (blazing streets) and the Polish newspaper continues to be printed. All Clear sign indicates a temporary halt in the Blitz, during which film studio has been bombed out. After experience of bombing, Warsaw and London are now "united by common faith". Remainder of film suggests readiness of Poles in Britain and in Poland to fight back. Polish Army in Scotland keeps guard and trains with infantry and Bren carriers; General Sikorski decorates a boy who lost his leg at Narvik and off-duty soldiers learn Scottish reels and teach the mazurka to the locals. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth are shown around a Polish camp by Sikorski; "reorganised and reequipped this is an army worth inspecting". Polish contribution to the Battle of the Atlantic is conveyed by views of the destroyers Blyskawica and Garland and anti-aircraft library sequence at sea. (Reel 3) President Raczkiewicz and US Ambassador Biddle visit Polish submarine. "Like us, Poles are weary of just taking it"; white rats in the Polish Medical School in Edinburgh prompt commentary to remark that there are "always rats to be exterminated, all sorts of rats" while the bombing up of Polish-manned Wellingtons for a raid on Berlin clarifies this metaphor. Deep spiritual faith of Poles, seen saying prayers in Polish church in London, unites Poles in exile with those in Poland, seen listening (studio) secretly to a BBC broadcast by Alvar Lidell. Bomber crews are briefed. "Not only revenge and hatred in the hearts of pilots, they believe in the better world tomorrow. Democracy must be made a living thing." Pre-war mistakes of selfishness must not be repeated. Film ends rousingly, "as long as Poland is fighting, she cannot die", over Andrew and a piece of blossom heralding a new world.
- Access Conditions: IWM Attribution: © IWM (CPD 101)
- Featured Period: 1939-1945
- Production Date: 1941
- Production Country: GB Poland (Polish Government-in-Exile)
- Production Details: Concanen (Production company) Cekalski, Eugene (Production individual) De Marney, Derrick1906-09-211978-02-18 (Production individual) Cooney, Cecil (Production individual) Jaszcz, Z (Production individual) Palmer, Ernest (Production individual) Plowman, George W (Production individual) Phelps, William A (Production individual) Watkins, A W (Production individual) Gielgud, Val Henry (Production individual) Grabowski, Z (Production individual) Leitgeber, B (Production individual) Lidell, Alvar1908-09-111981-01-07 (Production cast) Howard, Leslie (Production cast)
- Personalities, Units and Organisations: Biddle, Drexel (person) Elizabeth, Queen (person) George VI, King (person) Haakon VII, King of Norway (person) Raczkiewicz, Władysław (person) Raczyński, Edward Bernard (person) Sikorski, Władysław (person) British Army, Polish personnel (regiment/service) Royal Air Force, Sqdn, 306 (regiment/service) Royal Air Force, Polish personnel (regiment/service) British Broadcasting Corporation (regiment/service) Polish Navy, ORP Błyskawica (regiment/service) Polish Navy, ORP Garland (regiment/service)
- Keywords: administration, Polish [Free Poles] - civilian (object name) aircraft, British - combat: Hawker Hurricane & [Polish] (object name) aircraft, British - combat: Vickers Wellington & [Polish] (object name) armour, British - carrier: Bren & [Polish] (object name) arts, Polish - dance (object name) arts, Polish - ethnic (object name) ceremonies, Polish - event-related: investiture (object name) delegations, British international - state: George VI and Queen Elizabeth visit Polish troops (object name) delegations, Polish international - goodwill: President Raczkiewicz visits Polish submarine (object name) delegations, United States international - goodwill: Drexel Biddle visits Polish submarine (object name) destruction, British military - area: bomb (object name) operations, Polish air - preparation: bombing up (object name) operations, Polish air - routine (object name) operations, Polish air - sortie (object name) operations, Polish naval - sortie (object name) propaganda, British - inspirational: radio messages (object name) propaganda, Polish - inspirational (object name) ships, Polish naval - destroyer: Blyskawica (object name) ships, Polish naval - destroyer: Garland (object name) recreation, Polish military - dance (object name) refugees, Polish - relocation: Poles in exile, London (object name) religion, Christianity - ceremonial, Polish (object name) society, British - friendship (object name) society, Polish - domestic: Poles in exile, London (object name) society, Polish - friendship (object name) training, Polish military (object name) GB, England & London <Polish Embassy> (geography) GB, England & London, WC <Trafalgar Square> (geography) GB, Scotland & Edinburgh, Mloth <Polish Medical School> (geography) Warsaw, Poland (geography) propaganda (concept)
- Physical Characteristics: Colour format: B&W Sound format: Sound Soundtrack language: English Title language: English Subtitle language: None
- Technical Details: Format: 35mm Number of items/reels/tapes: 3 Footage: 2267 ft; Running time: 25 mins
- Notes: Summary: last half of Polish ORZEL BIALY is held as RMY 81.
- Link to IWM Collections page:
- Related IWM Collections Objects: