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Polish Cavalry pictures and Italy

Article about: Hi, I have just joined the site after reading lots of other threads on here. I am trying to find out some history on my Grandad, Jan Czajkowski and his brother Leonard. This is a calendar of

  1. #1

    Default Polish Cavalry pictures and Italy

    Hi,
    I have just joined the site after reading lots of other threads on here. I am trying to find out some history on my Grandad, Jan Czajkowski and his brother Leonard.

    This is a calendar of events so far:
    Jan Born 15 May 1912 Leonard born 19 April 1918. Location possibly Lida (now Belarus)
    Jan Polish ARMY Cavalry, 5 PSK, TARNOW 1933 (see Picture) Leon Polish ARMY 1939.
    Unclear if my Grandad stayed in the Polish Cavalry from 1933 up until 1939. I think he was in the Polish cavalry at the outbreak of WWII and he was sent to Siberia with his brother.
    I know he was in 'Anders ARMY' as he was stationed in Italy (see pictures) but don't know how he got there.

    I have his medals (see pictures) but know little about them. I have contacted the War records office at RAF Northolt to gain his service career records. This might detail exactly what he did from 1933. I am also going to write to Central Military Archives ul. Czerwonych Beretůw 124, 00-910 Warsaw-Rembertůw, Poland as I understand they have some records.

    I don't know if picture 'Jan Czajkowski 1' is a military uniform?
    Picture 'Jan Czajkowski 2' has 2 other gentleman in. Maybe someone on here is related?
    Picture 'Jan Czajkowski 3' was taken in Vilnius, year unknown.

    Any help, advice would be great as I have hit a brick wall at the moment.

    I haven't really started on my Nan's side. She was from Smagow and was forced labour in Sachsenhaussen, Auschwitz and another camp. I haven't a clue how she ended up there or even how she managed to survive.

    My Grandad and Nan met at a UK camp sometime in 1947.

    Anyway, any help as I say would be great
    Many thanks

    PaulClick image for larger version. 

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  2. #2

    Default

    Hello Paul and welcome to the forum,

    Letís get straight to your questions:

    Your grandfatherís story is likely similar to that of many Poles forcibly deported to the USSR in the early months of WW2 who would survive to join Andersí army: arrest and rushed deportation typically under terrible circumstances deep into the Soviet wastelands, the struggle for survival amidst starvation, disease, and overwork, and then the miraculous news of the ďamnestyĒ that would free some to make a perilous journey to the recruitment points.

    While your grandfatherís personal account may be lost, I would strongly recommend you read ďAn Amy In ExileĒ, penned by General Anders himself, to gain an understanding of the events that your grandfather lived through. Itís a riveting read. And youíre doing the right thing by contacting the Northolt War Records Office and Polish Central Military Archives for more information.

    The uniform shown in the picture 'Jan Czajkowski 1' is definitely not Polish Army. Judging from the collar badges possibly a railway or some motorized connection - ??

    The medals consist of the British issues: 1939-45 Star, The Italy Star, 1939-45 War Medal and the Defence Medal. The Polish medals are the Army Medal for War of 1939-45 and the SPK medal which was given to veterans who became members of the Polish Ex-combatants Association (SPK).

    The portrait photo of your grandfather in uniform shows a Monte Cassino Ribbon bar, so he should also have the corresponding Monte Cassino cross. Our resident expert on this decoration, Andrzejku, may hopefully chime in with some more information about your grandfather. Iíll relocate this thread to the exile army section to facilitate this.

    Also visible in the photos is the Polish 2nd Corps commemorative badge, and the pocket badge of the 2nd Warsaw Armoured Division. Unfortunately the unit designation is not discernable in the black and white period photos.

    Best wishes in your hunt for information on your grandmother as well. It appears that she also must have had quite a story of survival.

    Regards,
    Tony
    All thoughts and opinions expressed are those of my own and should not be mistaken for medical and/or legal advice.

    "Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday." - John Wayne

  3. #3

    Default

    Hi Tony,

    Many thanks for your reply. Its been an amazing 48 hours ad I have found out some great information, especially from Andrezj. He told me all about my Grandad, which unit he served in and the number of his Monte Cassino Cross. Unfortunately, we don't have that medal, so I am now looking at getting a copy made. My Grandads deportation to Siberia was indeed terrible, as one of the two friends he was arrested with froze to death on the train. The other survived and later lived in Manchester.

    I am looking forward to what information the Northolt War Records office produce.

    Today, I also found out that the picture 'JAN CZAKOWSKI 1' is Polish Police (see attached) taken in 1936, location unknown.

    I did find out from Andrzej that my Grandad was in the 6 Kompania Warsztatowej (6th Workshop Company), 2nd Armoured Brigade later Division. What I don't know is what unit this then became in 1945, as it must have been amalgamated with another unit sometime before 1945. The order of battle for Polish II Corps does not have a 6 Kompania Warsztatowej listed in 1945.

    Its been a super time finding out all of this information and thanks to guys like you and Andrzej it has not been too frustrating!

    As ever, kindest regards and many thanks

    paul

    I will take a look for the book you have mentioned and grab a copy.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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  4. #4

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    I would also recommend contacting the Hoover Insitute as they hold the depositions taken from thousands who were released from the USSR under the amnesty, many of which are translated into English. These depositions are from named individuals and record that persons arrest, transportation, life inside the various camps and settlements in the Soviet Republics where Poles found themselves transported to.
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

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