Friends of Popski's Private Army


Welcome to the Friends of Popski's Private Army website, the online part of the PPA Memorial, made possible by the Trooper Pat Blake Memorial Grant in 2010. If you are new to the Popski Story, then start here. If you are looking for information about a PPA veteran then start here.

You can also find more day-to-day discussions about Popski and his men by joining the foPPA on Facebook Group, now with over 100 members since setting up in early 2014. Enjoy!


Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee CBE CStJ
1922-2015

foPPA Patron Sir Christopher Lee CBE
Sir Christopher Lee CBE
foPPA Patron

Major John Campbell MC* Major Jean Caneri MC Captain Robert Yunnie MC Major Vladimir Peniakoff DSO MC
Major John Campbell MC*
"Bulldozer"
Major Jean Caneri MC
"Jan"
Captain Robert Yunnie MC
"Capitano Bob"
Lt-Col Vladimir Peniakoff DSO MC
"Popski"
foPPA Patron Sir Robert Crawford CBE foPPA Patron Anne Peniakoff foPPA Patron Sir Christopher Lee CBE
Sir Robert Crawford CBE
foPPA Patron
Anne Peniakoff
foPPA Patron
Sir Christopher Lee CBE
foPPA Patron

This is for PPA veterans and their families, for friends and fans of the remarkable Popski story, young and old, all around the world. Out of 250 verified members of PPA, in January 2015 there are now only 4 of them known to be still alive.

Many people are under the impression that Popski's book is all there is to see but we tell you here about other books on PPA and where to find them, and reproduce newspaper articles and other documents that have lain hidden in The National Archives, the Imperial War Museum, and various dusty attics for decades.

There is already lots of interesting and informative reference material to see, from foPPA's extensive archives, all richly interwoven with relevant cross-links and as time goes on we'll be adding more and more articles and previously unpublished images and documents – see About this website. Further information is also available on the website of our close research colleagues at the PPA Preservation Society.

Heavily armed PPA jeep in the Pineta di Classe, South of Ravenna.
Heavily armed PPA jeep in the Pineta di Classe, South of Ravenna. (See Image Credits)

Although there is some information already available on the web about Lieutenant-Colonel Vladimir Peniakoff DSO MC and his World War Two 8th Army Special Forces unit as they fought across Libya and Tunisa then up Italy and into Austria, we have found that much of it is inaccurate or misleading, from secondary sources or just sloppy writing. This is where to find the facts about "No 1 Demolition Squadron, PPA": collected, collated, compared and confirmed over many years from primary sources.

The purpose of this website then, an integral part of the PPA Memorial, is to :-

Every year foPPA organises three remembrance events: PPA Wixoe, where Popski is buried (May); PPA Westminster, at the opening of the Royal British Legion's Field of Remembrance (November) and PPA Memorial, at the National Memorial Arboretum (November).

Corporal Frank Dobinson of
Corporal Frank Dobinson of "Popski's Private Navy" with his daughter Velia,
representing PPA at the November 2010 Royal British Legion Cenotaph March-past.
Frank and Velia did this for five years running. Frank died, age 94, on 28 December 2014 after a happy Christmas at home. (See Image Credits)

Friends of Popski's Private Army is the continuation of the post-war PPA Association run by Sergeant Eric Brooks and Captain Bob Yunnie until Popski's death in 1951, and since then Corporal Ben Owen's guardianship of PPA history until his death in 2008. We hope that you enjoy exploring these pages and feel able to support our continuing work in the National Memorial Arboretum.


Friends of Popski's Private Army supports : –

National Memorial Arboretum Armed Forces Day Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal
National Memorial Arboretum Armed Forces Day Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal

Guy Harris & Roy Paterson
Copyright © 2015 foPPA
11 June 2015