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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. Enjoy!
1 JANUARY 2014 - New Appointment: We are very pleased to announce that Anne French has joined the foPPA Executive Committee as Head of Memorials. This honorary position reflects the dedication and commitment that Anne has shown in maintaining the PPA Memorial, in all weathers, in recent years. Anne, a qualified pilot, is the daughter of Captain "Ricky" Rickwood, Skipper of 'R' Patrol, and brings a load of practical, straight-talking experience to ExComm. When the Wixoe Memorial is unveiled in May, Anne will take over responsibility for that as well, but we don't expect her to also dust down the PPA Desert Memorial. Along with Anne Peniakoff's earlier appointment as our third Patron, this finally creates a better gender balance in our corporate governance.
|Major John Campbell MC*
|Major Jean Caneri MC
|Captain Robert Yunnie MC
|Lt-Col Vladimir Peniakoff DSO MC
|Sir Robert Crawford CBE
|Sir Christopher Lee CBE
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 249 verified members of PPA, in 2014 there are now only 7 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richly interwoven with relevant cross-links and as time goes on we'll be adding more and more articles and previously unpublished images and documents – see About this website.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. (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 :-
- raise funds to support the PPA Memorial, PPA Remembrance Events and foPPA's research
- preserve the memory of PPA's exploits by bringing the Popski story to a wider audience
- provide reliable information about the man and his unit, drawn from primary sources
Every year foPPA organises or attends four remembrance events: PPA Wixoe, where Popski is buried (May); PPA Westminster, at the opening of the Royal British Legion's Field of Remembrance (November); PPA Cenotaph, at the Royal British Legion's ex-Service March-Past (November); and PPA Memorial, at the National Memorial Arboretum (November).
|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 have now done this for four years running. (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|