THE BLACK DEVILS MARCH
We would like to present our WWII mannequin with his equipment. We would like to show you soldier from Polish Forces on the West (Polskie Siły Zbrojne na Zachodzie – PSZ). It is soldier from 1st Polish Armoured Division under general S. Maczek. The mannequin in our project is based on a person who really did exist. We used a platoon commander Stanislaw J. Markiewicz, who was a tank destroyer M10 Achilles in the 1st Antitank Artillery Regiment. There are more pieces of information about that man on wikipedy.
We also used some documental photos of other Polsih soldiers from this division to recreate the figure.
Lets start our journey in time and space in Scotland, to which get Polish tank crews after Polish campaign 1939 and French campaign 1940, and than we will follow by the traces of 1st Polish Armoured Division through all combat in Western Europe – France with Normany and the Falaise Pocket battle, liberating of Belgium and Holland and finally battles in Germany and capture the Kriegsmarine base in Wilhelmshaven. That is The Black Devils' March. A Doomed Odyssey – which is also a title of a very interesting and worth of reading book written by Evan McGilvray, in which we can find the whole history of general's Maczek division from 1939 to the end of WWII.
Beside the figure of mannequin dressed in uniform we wanted also to show field equipment and personal stuff of Polish soldiers on the West and original photos and drawings from 1940-1945 period, just to feel better the atmosphere of events that happened 70 years ago.
THE ISLAND OF LAST HOPE
GREAT BRITAIN – SCOTLAND 1940-1944
AWAITING THE BATTLE
British propaganda poster POLAND FIRST TO FIGHT designed by Marek Żuławski, London 1939.
Tank destroyer M10 Achilles
Polish post stamp, introduced to use in UK December 15, 1941 with theme Polish Armour in Great Britain.
The barracks where the Poles lived.
Next to a mannequin is posing our Monty the dog, who plays the role of a Scottish dog. Monty is a very mysterious, lame dog in hair color Dunkelgelb RAL 7028, Wehrmacht Olive , he found us on one of the battlefields of the Ostfront in the Carpathians and now accompanies us on our adventures in the history of WW2
CAMP EQUIPMENT 1940-1944
Private purchase, but in military style, British travel bag, private purchase inflatable pillow for sleeping bag made in England with its own storage pouch, folding bedstead with canvas carrying bag. Also folding stool, pressure lamp VAPALUX HALIFAX 1943 and kerosene lamp WAKEFIELDS BIRMINCHAM 1943, fuel can dated 1939. British Shovel 1940. British Jars SRD (Supply Reserve Depot). Polish book printed 1941 in London, Polish and British newspapers.
British private purchase sleeping bag and British military stove
Tents, in which Polish soldiers lived
FIELD GEAR 1940-1944
On this photo we would like to show some field gear used by Poles during stay in Scotland. There are: Alu mess kit N.C.J. LTD 1939, British bread bag and corned beef, ceramic plate JOHMSON BROS. 1943, spoon marked DIXON 1942, fork marked BISBY NS 1940, folding knife (the Poles called it "Churchill" ) dated 1941, British tea mug, Polish field folding solid fuel stove with the Polish campaign in 1939, First Field Dressing Vernonon & Co 1942.
There are also: French binoculars with case (Jumelles 8x30 M.G. Ets KRAUSS, PARIS) taken from 1940 campaign, British ww2 canteen, pencils tin "POLONIA" – keep after the 1939 campaign, French googles m35 with case (Lunettes modele 1935 pour troupes motorisees) – kept after the 1940 campaign, British gasmask from 1937.
PERSONAL EFFECTS 1940-1944
A set of cleaning products and cosmetics: safety razor, shaving stick, dentifrice tin and tooth-brush, soap box, foot talcum powder tin, vaseline and sticking. The white cotton wash roll or holdall with contents, Housewife, etc.
In the second picture: Swiss watch "ROAMER" and the German camera "Kodak Retina I" bought before the war in Poland. British hip flask LANCELOTT Shefield, Tensoplast tin, Polish pre 1939 cigarette case "STOMIL" (“Onehundredmiles” - the name of Polish tire factory which produced tires also for the Polish Army), Aspirin - bought before the war in Poland
French cigarettes from 1940 campaign for the army. Polish soldiers called that cigarettes "corpses" . It is just a macabre joke, a game of words - French "de troupes"- (troops) sounds for Polses like "trup" (dead corpses). Cigarettes Benson and Hodges from NAAFI stores for H.M. Forces, and Match. Horlicks Tablets tin, Nescafe coffee tin – a gift from U.S. Soldiers. Parkinson's Old Fashioned Butter Drops tin.
Books: Little Prayer Book – Mały modlitewnik (London 1941), English for Poles (London 1943), military, French alu mug (le quart modele 1935) – kept after the 1940 campaign, small package of sugar.
There is also a teaspoon – marked W. Nowakowski Katowice - given for our platoon commander Stanislaw J. Markiewicz by his friend, W. Nowakowski before the war. Nowakowski was an restaurant owner in Katowice. He was arrested by the Germans and spent four years in a concentration camp Mauthausen. He returned very ill to Poland in 1945, but his restaurant was took away and nationalized by the communists. Soon after that he died.
Map of France printed 1937 and lot of D-Day Allied Military Currency 2, 5, 10 and 50 Francs
A TIME FOR THE REVANGE
FRANCE, NORMANDY, BATTLE OF FALAISE 1944
Cooperation with US Army in the field, summer 1944
Dutch poster DZIĘKUJEMY WAM POLACY / BEVRIJD DOOR DE POLEN (THANK YOU POLES ) – unknown author, Breda 1944
FOOD 1944 – 45
American, British and Canadian ration tins and cans, cigarettes.
Can openers: U.S. ARMY and Dutch HERO CONSERVEN BREDA
FIELD AND PERSONAL ITEMS 1944 – 1945
British gasmask 1944, Webley & Scott .38 Mark IV revolver and dated 1939 holster, The Chandos matematical drawing set, Rubber Pencil Eraser, Britisch Wooden Meter, Book „On the western front 1944”, report from the battlefield, (London 1945), British Ross 7x50 Bino Prism No 5 Mk IV Binoculars, Mark I Marching Compass, Curvimeter, Torch - The Electric Lamp Number 4 (British torch of the German but also Polish style), The Black Brigade March (published in Edinburgh) , Tank Crew headphones and speak box, „Daily Newspapers Soldier 1st Polish Armoured Division”.
German stuff captured by Polish soldiers:
Items found by Polish soldiers in abandoned German tank - a bottle of Polish vodka “Wódka czysta” produced in Generalgouvernement (occupied Poland), Scho-Ka-Kola cardboard packaging from June 1944, German JUNO Cigarettes, sardines aluminum can produced in occupied Norway. Also PHILLIPS dynamo torch, produced in occupied Holland specifically for the Wehrmacht and SS. Flashlight holder is made by Polish soldiers from the German Mauser rifle pouch.
IN THE LAND OF THE ENEMY
Germany, capitulation of the Kriegsmarine base Wilhelmshaven, May 1945.
A black, left shoulder strap was an part of traditional uniform of Polish soldier from 1939. The personel of Polish 1st Cavalry Brigade (from which 1st Polish Armoured Division took start) was wearing black shoulder straps and black leather jackets, that's why the German called them Die Schwarze Brigade.
The cloth patch on the collar of battledess has a shape of calvary pennant in colours of 1st Antitank Artillery Regiment.
The greatest Polish military award – Virtuti Militari, 5th class, which platoon commander Stanislaw J. Markiewicz was awarded.
Polish badge for armour troops.
A commemorative badge of 1st Antitank Artillery Regimemt – the Saint George killing the Dragon with Polish inscription “God, Honour and Fatherland / 1st Antitank Artillery Regiment / 4. XI. 1937.”
We would like to say the Stanislaw J. Markiewicz entered with his comrades to Wilhelmshaven, Germany. We wish to say he took his memorial photo in abandoned German shelter. We would like to say that he entered Germany and than returned to home in Poland. We really do, but that part of the story had never happened.
Platoon commander Stanislaw J. Markiewicz was killed in action few months earlier, before his unit captured Wilhelmshaven. He was killed during unsuccessful crossing the Mark river, near village of Beek, Holland, November 1, 1944. He is burried on Polish Military Cemetary in Breda, Holland.
Photo Etienne from Breda, Holland
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In this project we used documental photos taken by: Jan Marowski, the author of book “On the tank's traces of 1st Armour Division”, printed Wroclaw 1948 and other photos, took by unknown authors. Some of that photos are part of collections of Polish Army Museum in Warsaw, Imperial War Museum and The Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum London.
All drawings by Marian Walentynowicz, before the war graphic, creator of the fampus graphic novel, a press correspondent with 1st Polish Armoured Division. After the war he wrote a book „The War without pathos” (Warszawa 1969).
A very special thanks we want to say for Mr. Bari Hooper from Essex, England who helped us very much to make this project.
All presented uniforms, parts of field equipment and personal items are from D. & T. Bienek Collection, which now, summer 2013, celebrate the 20th anniversary.
Dabi and Tom