Even if Zenon had acquired a skill in the Resettlement Units it is doubtful whether he would have found a job at the beginning of 1949 that demanded it. The only jobs offered at that time was in coal- mines, steel works and textile factories. This was partly because British trade unions resisted other jobs being offered to non-British nationals or even permitted them to join unions and partly due to the large number of workers seeking jobs after demobilisation from the armed services. 80 Zenon joined other Polish associates that were already at work in textile factories at Spondon on the western outskirts of Derby in Derbyshire.
This soon led to a strong enclave of Polish workers in the Derby area and in 1950 a Derby branch of Polish airmen was set up and another in Nottingham. Later 92 Osmaston Road was purchased as the headquarters of the local Polish Air Force Association to be called "Dom Polski" that existed for some 36 years. During those years it became the centre for the whole Polish community in Great Britain. It is assumed that Zenon frequented this centre many times in the 5 years he lived in Derby.
Zenon acquired lodgings at 104 Arthur Street in Derby (shown left) where 2 elderly ladies lived, one named Emily and the other Florence, known as Emmy and Flo. Here he lived and worked at the silk factory. What is known is that he desperately wanted to marry Raymonde and settle in France so as soon as he could he applied for a visa. By 1951 he most probably could wait no longer and presumably asked Raymonde to come to England and be married in Derby.
The event took place at St Mary's Catholic Church, at Chapel Bridge Gate, Derby on 31 March 1951. Michel was of course present and so was Raymonde's oldest brother Marcel and her aunt Marguerite’s husband. Mr Krawczyk was also there.
The couple went to live at 104 Arthur Road while they waited a further two years for the granting of a visa to move to France. During his period Raymonde relentlessly chased up the appropriate ministry departments to bring this about despite the fact that she became pregnant. On I October 1952 she gave birth to a son who they named Jan Arthur, Jan after his Polish Grandfather, and Arthur after Raymonde's cousin, the 20 year old son of her aunt Marguerite, who was killed in a motor cycle accident.
Armed with the necessary papers and a very young son, the Bartkowiak family set forth to France during 1953 but had to return because Zenon did not have a French sponsor that could give him work for two years. For this he sought the help of M Stephan Krawczyk at Marles les Mines where he worked in 1944 when in hiding. This was willingly given and was eventually accepted by the authorities and permission was granted for them to take up residency in France. So in April 1954 they finally left England at Dover on SS “Cote d’ Azur". (shown right)
Zenon’s father Jan also saw service with the Polish Resettlement Corps from 5 December 1946 and was finally discharged on 5 March 1949. He took up a post as caretaker at a private school in Worksop until he retired in 1960.
Introduction - Overview
Chapter 1 - Early years and escape from Poland
Chapter 2 - Zenon joins the RAF
Chapter 3 - A life changing flight
Chapter 4 - In hiding
Chapter 5 - Return to England and his squadron
Chapter 6 - Discharge and marriage
Chapter 7 - Life in France
Life in France - the final chapter