Tentsmuir WW2 defences

Polish Forces based in Scotland constructed the World War 2 defences whose remains are still evident at Tentsmuir in Fife, on both the beach and hidden deep within the forest.

An important defence

The sandy beaches at Tentsmuir would have made an ideal landing location for German invasion troops in 1940, so defending the coast was essential.

Along with the Polish Army, locals helped build a system of linear defences as part of the overall plan to protect Britain from enemy invasion. The defences ran north from Leuchars Airfield, also a prime target for attack, to Lundin Bridge. Defences included lines of concrete anti-tank blocks, observation towers and pillboxes, all designed to slow down enemy movement inland.

Long, wooden poles stood upright along the coastline to prevent enemy gliders from easily landing behind defence lines. At low tide, you can still spot some of these poles at Tentsmuir beach.

The Polish soldiers constructed, and lived in, a camp at the forest. Once they had constructed the defences, many remained to man the guns and patrol the area.

Tentsmuir today

Nowadays little remains of the dismantled camp where the Polish soldiers once lived. Look closely, however, and impressed in the concrete wall of an old well you can find the coat of arms of the Polish Army: a lion and an eagle. This survives as a reminder of the Poles who defended the beaches of Fife.

Want to know more?

Listen to Lech Muszynski recall the WW2 Polish camp at Tentsmuir forest.

    Defending Scotland (MP3)
    Defending Scotland transcript (PDF 338k)
    Manouevres (MP3)
    Manouevres transcript (PDF 335k)
    The Polish Camp at Tentsmuir Forest (MP3)
    The Polish Camp at Tentsmuir Forest transcript (PDF 343k)
    The Polish Camp at Tentsmuir Forest - Polish (MP3)
    The Polish Camp at Tentsmuir Forest transcript - Polish (PDF 335k)