After the war, the Polish Naval Camp continued to operate, this time serving as a resettlement centre for Polish men and women seeking to build new lives in the UK.

From February 1947,  the Okehampton Naval Camp became a Naval Resettlement Centre, and continued as such until 1949. Signing up to the Resettlement Corps signalled a new beginning for all the Poles who were unable to return home after the eastern regions of Poland were annexed by the Soviet Union following the Yalta agreement. Many feared for their lives under a new Communist rule in their country. 

At the Resettlement Centre, Poles received opportunities for English lessons and on-the-job training. Some officers with engineering or technical skills were trained for work in the industry. Enlisted men, depending on their pre-war status, were trained to work in agriculture, building and mining.

Some Polish servicemen and women made permanent homes in the town. As local historians Mike and Hilary Wreford noted, two of them, Tony Smul and Peter Skrzypczak, had represented the Polish Navy at football. Both “immediately joined Okehampton Argyle Football Club where they served the club for many years with Tony as an excellent goalkeeper and Peter as an acrobatic full back” (Okehampton Times, 1st October 2017). 

Read more about Peter Skrzypczak here and here.