PATRICK Dollan was Glasgow's Lord Provost during the first years of the war, and one of his greatest concerns during the conflict was the welfare of the Polish and Free French forces and personnel stationed in the west of Scotland.

In September 1940 he visited Polish troops in their temporary Scottish countryside base to make a presentation to Władysław Raczkiewicz, President of the Polish government-in-exile, on behalf of the city of Glasgow.

Dollan gave him a richly coloured banner (the work of students in the needlework department at the School of Art), its designs including the Polish eagle and the Glasgow coat-of-arms. It was, Mr Dollan said, a symbol of the long-standing friendship between Glasgow and Poland. He pledged that the city, and Scotland, would continue with the Poles in friendship, sacrifice and courage until the end of the journey.

The president in his turn handed the flag to General Wladyslaw Sikorski, Prime Minister of Poland and Commander-in-chief of the Polish forces, with whom he had travelled north for the occasion. (Gen Sikorski would die in an air crash in Gibraltar in 1943).

“Poland is fighting with Great Britain for Christian civilisation”, the president told his troops and his guests. “The Poles have once reconstructed their country - after the Great War of 1914. They will do it once again. Long live Poland!”

It was a festive day for all concerned; a choir and a band performed national songs and music, and a two-hour-long lunch was served in a large marquee decorated with heather, fir and the national flags of Poland and Scotland.Towards the end, a young soldier conveyed to the Lord Provost the thanks of his comrades and assured him they would try to prove themselves worthy of the reputation of Polish troops of earlier years.

Mr Dollan was a high-profile figure during the war years when he was in office. The City of Glasgow Central War Relief Fund raised huge sums of money, and he was a key figure in the city’s War Weapons Weeks. In August 1941 a substantial crowd of Home Guard battalions and members of the public gathered in George Square to hear him speak during a tank parade.

Mr Dollan’s term of office expired in November 1941. In a farewell speech to reporters he said he had raised some £430,000 for war funds, including £144,420 for the city’s own war fund; over £170,000 for the relief of distress on blitzed Clydeside; £3,000 for a Refugees’ Fund, and £8,000 towards a fund for survivors of the Athenia, the passenger liner sunk at the outbreak of war in September 1939. He was knighted in the New Year’s Honours of 1941; the citation referred to the widely-praised enthusiasm and drive with which he, as civic head, had built up the city’s civilian defence and war effort.

Read more: Herald Diary