Review: Little Poland and Battle Scars and War Wounds by Ken Holland

PUBLISHED: 16:19 11 May 2015

Little Poland and  Battle Scars and War Wounds

Little Poland and Battle Scars and War Wounds


Annette Shaw reviews Little Poland and Battle Scars and War Wounds by Ken Holland

Ken HollandKen Holland

Ken Holland is a multi-award winning photographer living in Teignmouth. Over nearly 20 years he took pictures of an old American Military Hospital at Ilford Park in Stover, Newton Abbot. At the close of World War II Polish migrants settled here. They had suffered great cruelty and humiliation at the hands of the Nazis and of Soviet Russia. They had nowhere to live and could not face returning to an occupied country, and so stayed in Britain. They raised families, and called their new Devon home “Little Poland”.

Many had lost their homes in Poland. However their spirit, courage, suffering and memories still live on, the foundations of the buildings providing images of the very memories which might so easily have been erased. The wounds and scars caused by the mechanical diggers echo the wounds and scars caused by the terrors of war, of the Nazi concentration camps and of the Soviet labour camps. Where families once lived, there are now reminders of the past, some violent and horrific, but, at the edges, Mother Nature is beginning her gentle healing process by reclaiming the often barren concrete.

While walking across these bases Ken began to understand the tragic story of these brave, but often emotionally scarred, people. “I saw faces, heads, eyes, and bones. I shared their tears, heard their footprints, and imagined spilt blood. I empathised with broken families, recoiled from monsters and gazed through barbed wire. I felt bullet wounds and pock marks, and peered into black holes. The story does not make easy reading. These photographs are my own personal struggle to understand it.”

Ken is an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society, and has been awarded a Distinction from the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain. Ken has exhibited locally and nationally, in Exeter, Shaldon, Teignmouth, Dawlish, Ashburton, Plymouth and at the prestigious Royal Photographic Society in Bath. His work has been published in a wide variety of books, magazines and journals. As an Honorary Life Member of Dawlish & Teignmouth Camera Club he is frequently invited to lecture and judge at Camera Clubs across South West England and Wales, and has taught City & Guilds photography students locally.

Available via Ken’s website:-

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