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Inheritance of a Polish veteran

Article about: Years ago I got a few medals, badges and a belt from an inheritance of a Polish WWII veteran. This veteran served in all probability in the Polish 2nd Corps in Italy. As some kind of tribute

  1. #1

    Default Inheritance of a Polish veteran

    Years ago I got a few medals, badges and a belt from an inheritance of a Polish WWII veteran. This veteran served in all probability in the Polish 2nd Corps in Italy. As some kind of tribute to this almost unknown Polish soldier I like to show you his small inheritance. Until today the items from his inheritance still fascinates me.

    The aunt of an acquaintance of mine was married with a Pole. This Pole, a WWII veteran, is already passed away for many years. His Dutch wife passed away nearly ten years ago. After her decease they cleared out the house and these badges, medals and belt were found. These items where given to me. The family of my acquaintance asked me or I could find out his past because they are interested in it. The Polish veteran seldom spoke about his past, so for them a little is known about him. According to the badges and medals I gather the following story; After the German invasion of Poland in 1939 the Polish veteran fled to France like so many other Poles. The army belt from his inheritance could be from his own Polish pre war uniform. In France he joined the new-formed Polish Armed Forces. He was incorporated with the Polish 2nd Rifles Division (Dywizja Strzelcow Pieszych). This Division was sent to support the French forces on the Maginot line near to the German Swiss border. During the German invasion of France in 1940 the Polish 2nd Rifles Division fought together with the French 45 Corps at Clos du Doubs. After heavy fighting’s and being cut off by the advancing Germans, the French 45 Corps and the Polish 2nd Rifles Division were backed up to the Swiss border. The French commander decided to withdraw to Switzerland, where they were interned. For taking part in these fighting’s he should be decorated after the war with the French medals. His in-laws are confirming his stay in Switzerland because they know that he had a relationship in that time with a Swiss woman.
    The Huguenin brothers at Le Locle, Switzerland manufactured the 2 Polish eagles from his inheritance in 1941. How long he stayed in Switzerland is unknown. Probably he escaped from Switzerland or the Polish government in exile bought him out because according to his in-laws he was also in Italy during the war. The small Italian commemorative badge of the Polish 2nd Corps can confirm his stay in Italy. Or he had taken part in the battle for Monte Cassino is not known. How the Polish veteran came to Holland is also not very clear. Right after the war the Dutch government had the rule that for every killed Polish soldier in Holland, one Polish veteran may live in Holland. Probably he was one of these Poles that may live in Holland. It should be a very clear explanation how he met his Dutch wife. According to the family of my acquaintance, more medals should have been conferred to the Polish veteran. They do not know were the other decorations gone to. Maybe they were already given away to somebody else or they just lost in time. In fact I do not have any further personal information about this Polish veteran.
    The Sikorski institute in London does not give any information to anyone who is not a close family member of the veteran. Even his in-laws have no change because they do not have the same (Polish) family name as him. In all probability the story of the Polish veteran will be unknown forever.


    The belt on the picture is a Polish pre war belt for soldiers. It is in a good condition, has many stamps and is dated 1931.

    The french medals on the picture are from left to right: Médaille des prisonniers civils, déportés et otages 1914-1918; conferred to civil prisoners, deported people and hostages. Croix du combattant volontaire 1914-1918; conferred to foreign volunteers who had served in the French Armed Forces. Médaille commémorative 1939-1945 with France bar; conferred to soldiers who served in the French Armed Forces during the period of September 3rd, 1939 and June 25th, 1940. *

    The badges on the picture are from left to right: Italian commemorative badge for veterans of the Polish 2nd Corps (Polski 2 Korpus); the badge was manufactured by F.M. Lorioli, Milano-Roma and given to the Polish veterans in 1946 (Order No.106 (24.IX.1946) poz.619, L.dz. 1078/AG/46). Two Polish eagle badges of the Polish 2nd Rifles Division (Dywizja Strzelcow Pieszych); the badges were designed by Bohdan Garliński and manufactured by the Hugunin brothers at Le Locle, Switzerland in 1941.

    * The Médaille des prisonniers civils, déportés et otages 1914-1918 and the Croix du combattant volontaire 1914-1918 should also be conferred after WWII because of a short of the new type medals. Both medals should be coming from pre war stock.
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  2. #2
    ?

    Default Re: Inheritance of a Polish veteran

    Great jod on researching this soldier and his items. Gary

  3. #3
    3mk
    3mk is offline
    ?

    Default Re: Inheritance of a Polish veteran

    This is a beautiful part of Polish history.A little correction on the belt I dont think that the belt was made in 1931 but rather thats the model date.Does it say wz.31 on it?Anyway beautiful collection I would love to own it.

  4. #4

    Default Polish 2nd Rifles Division

    Quote by 3mk View Post
    A little correction on the belt I dont think that the belt was made in 1931 but rather thats the model date.Does it say wz.31 on it?
    It could be a model wz.31 belt. I am not sure about that. In two stamps I can read the number "31". Unfortunately the inscription in the round stamp (with the Polish eagle) is to indistinct to read. Maybe it contains a date too.

    Can somebody tell me more about the Polish 2nd Rifles Division (Dywizja Strzelcow Pieszych) after they were interned into Switzerland? I know that some of them escaped from Switzerland or bought out by the Polish government in exile.
    What about the Polish 2nd Rifles Division badge? Was it replaced by another eagle badge when a soldier of the Polish 2nd Rifles Division joined another Polish unit under British command?
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Inheritance of a Polish veteran

    Hello Asjemenou!

    Belts patterns:
    wz.22
    wz.24
    wz.31
    wz.36

    Technical conditions, inter alia, the belt pattern wz.31






    Robert

  6. #6

    Default Re: Inheritance of a Polish veteran

    Hello Robspad!
    Thanks for your reply and it is good to meet you at this forum. So, I understand from your reply that the belt is a wz.31.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Inheritance of a Polish veteran

    Quote by Asjemenou View Post
    . . . . I understand from your reply that the belt is a wz.31.
    Hi Asjemenou,

    Yes, a nice survivng example of an enlisted man's wz.31. Here's an excerpt from the Henryk Wielecki book "Polski Mundur Woskowy 1918-1939" (Polish Army Uniform):

    Regards,
    Tony
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Inheritance of a Polish veteran

    btt as it deserves to be so!

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