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Polish Forces in West Africa

Article about: I thought this topic deserves its own thread. Tony posted this letter from Churchill dated June 1941 In response, I have found an interesting response in my grandfather's documents: a letter

  1. #11


    Poles are never acknowledged :-(
    Looking for following WWII German items:
    - anything dealing with Allenstein (Olsztyn) and Wehrkreis I in East Prussia,
    - entrenching tool carrier (straight and folding),
    - forestry and hunting items,

    Polish Militaria 1914-1945 -
    GTA Militaria - Discussions and Sales -

  2. #12


    Hi Esco,

    Thanks for your comments and for sharing photos of your uniform tunic.

    Quote by Esco View Post
    . . . Polish stars . . . were most likely attached by Bulkowski after coming back to the UK in 1945.
    The rank stars on your uniform are communist era Polish People Army, so they were not likely added in the UK.

    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. #13


    One of the early issue of PISM's "Zeszyty" was devoted to service of Polish officers in Africa.

  4. #14


    Thanks for pointing this out Tony.

    Of course you're correct, those are LWP (Polish People's Army) stars which made me question the authenticity of this jacket at first. However after close examination much more things have told me this must be actually genuine item. I think somebody added stars later, in the 80's. It was actually quite common among Polish veterans coming back to Poland from the UK (and often getting promotions to higher ranks) to use whatever materials available for their uniforms.

    Anyway, what I was trying to say is that I am quite sure Polish officers in Burma did not use any insignia or badges because of enemy snipers. If they worn badges then they had to be made detachable because of necessity to use certain washing practice (dhobi wallah) in the jungle.

    I am very sceptical when somebody claims to have a used-condition badge from Burma campaign that was directly sewn to the uniform. For example below is 14th Army patch from my collection - one of possible ways of making badges detachable:

    Polish Forces in West AfricaPolish Forces in West Africa

  5. #15


    Just short update on my bush jacket we've been discussing previously in this thread.

    I didn't manage to obtain any documentation or other items which would suggest that jacket indeed belonged to Lt. Bulkowski. I only know this jacket was bought from the antiques dealer in the city of Gostyń, Poland, who got it from some old lady together with other memorablia and documents. It is only my presumption it could belong to Lt. Bulkowski as I am not aware of any other Polish RWAFF officer who served in Burma and returned to Poland. I inspected the ribbon bars carefully and to me they appear as genuine.

    Also, I have found the "P-MEAD" stamp on the jacket which identifies it's first owner. It was a Pilot Lt. Charles E. Mead of 492nd Bombardment Sq. who was K.I.A. on 21 Nov 1944 when his liberator was shot down by enemy A-A fire near Geang Luang bridge in Burma. I suspect the jacket was then re-issued and dropped with supplies to 81st West African Division early in 1945, when the 492d Bombardment Sq supported British ground forces in the region north of Mandalay and east of the Irrawaddy River.

    Anyway, the item is now part of my 81st West African Divisions, Gambia Regiment display, telling one of the most fascinating, yet little known stories of Polish officers who served in the "Forgotten Army"

    Polish Forces in West AfricaPolish Forces in West Africa

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