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Polish Independent Parachute "Company"??

Article about: I am currently reading a set of archive papers dated 7 September 1944 related to the Warsaw Uprising 1944 concerning Mikolajczyk's written request of 5 September to Lord Selbourne for the &q

  1. #1

    Default Polish Independent Parachute "Company"??

    I am currently reading a set of archive papers dated 7 September 1944 related to the Warsaw Uprising 1944 concerning Mikolajczyk's written request of 5 September to Lord Selbourne for the "Polish Independent Parachute Company" to be sent to Poland assist the Rising since they were no longer required to support operation "Bardsea" (August 1944) as the swift advance of Allied troops in France obviated the need for Polish paras involvement in operations.

    The British war cabinet documents ,in discussions about Mikolajczyk's request, refer to the "Polish Independent Parachute Company" as consisting of just 66 men which the chiefs-of -staff did not consider an effective force to dispatch anywhere given potential losses other than to Italy for the Polish SOE to drop into Poland if the Poles themselves so wished.

    My question for those with some knowledge of the Polish paras is:

    What was the difference between the "Polish Independent Parachute Company" and the Polish Independent Parachute Brigade at the time? Did the former become the latter at some point after 5 September 1944 when numbers of trained men might have become available? Or were the former a component of the brigade?

    If so, it leads to a further question, why did Mikolajczyk only request a company be dispatched to Warsaw and not the brigade?

    Any help will be greatly appreciated
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Polish Independent Parachute "Company"??

    The Polish "Independent Parachute Company" were also known as the "Grenadier Company".
    Prior to Market-Garden, this company had no direct connection to the parachute brigade.

    The company was formed in the style of an elite SAS type unit, and was manned by specialists in various military counter activities.
    By all accounts, these "Grenadiers" were a pretty tough bunch, .. many were multi-linguists ...
    I gather, they were trained to act as a whole counter insurgent body, to fight on mass behind enemy lines.
    The unit came close to deployment on various occasions, but as fate had it, events overtook them.

    Post Market-Garden, with the losses sustained by the Parachute Brigade, the Grenadier company was absorbed into their ranks to fill the gaps of wounded/killed/missing.

    (Attached is a very rare photo of the company which I have in my collection).

    Gary J.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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  3. #3

    Default Re: Polish Independent Parachute "Company"??

    Thanks Gary, your insight is very much appreciated.
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Polish Independent Parachute "Company"??

    Quote by Gary J View Post
    The Polish "Independent Parachute Company" were also known as the "Grenadier Company".
    Prior to Market-Garden, this company had no direct connection to the parachute brigade.
    Gary J.
    Did the Grenadier Company have its own insignia before being absorbed into the parachute brigade?
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Polish Independent Parachute "Company"??

    Here is a scan of a page from a booklet titled "Infantry" published by then Polish Institute in London under Dr. T. Kryska Karski. This is booklet #12, June 1973. It says that the Grenadiers were supposed to wear a flaming grenade badge but in reality they wore the SF patch on right arm. (BTW the most elusive patch of WW2 patches).
    I would like to add that the Grenadiers were probably the best trained troops in WW2. First of all volunteers: either trained by Germans or Foreign legion, or the Polish Army, able to speak french or german, paratrooper training and the Grenadier training.
    I think once Gary J had posted a larger version of the picture above: the guy on the very left front row: on his right side a Colt .45 plus a F-S knife visible, and their weapons were US submachineguns. (Marlin UD 42).
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Polish Independent Parachute "Company"??

    An officer's Grenadier jacket that sold on E-bay a few years ago ..

    Gary J.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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  7. #7

    Default Re: Polish Independent Parachute "Company"??

    Thanks chaps

    Warnham Court, Horsham still exists and is only about 30 miles away from where I live.

    Was the order no. 969 of 1943 the first ever use of the term "Special Force" in military context?
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  8. #8

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    Just found this thread and might be able to add. I'm the son of one of the Polish stationed at Warnham Court 43 to 45. If interested contact me at jdcornwalldev@aol.com

  9. #9

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    Hello jddevel and welcome to the forum. Please do post some more information about your father for us.

    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

  10. #10

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    Hi Tony,
    A brief summary. Born 01/03/1923 near Crakow, Poland. Parents moved to France around 1933. Became apprenticed as tailor. At outbreak of war with no papers was sent to work in local coal mines. Job controlling containers lifting coal. Dumped chains into a container bought plant to halt. Police involvment, no papers, he was sent to a work camp further south in France. Escaped, recaptured escaped again evading Vicey police arrived Marseille and signed on Foreign Legion. During service in North Africa bi-lingual volunteers requested to join free Polish army in Uk. He volunteered. On arrival and following extensive interigation/ de-brief ended up near Kings Cross then sent to Warnham Court for "training". This covered fire arms, unarmed combat and low level parachuting and radio operator. Experienced similar activity to that in Cockleshell Heroes. Dropped near Liverpool and told get get back to Warnham by any means. His main duty radio operator and acted with a group of 6. With others when not abroad listened in to radio transmissions. Although not sure believe this was either in London or at Bletchley. During last single tour-in Paris-the battalion as it was known to the public there started with 60 in total as recall him saying-I have a photo-were disbanded and sent to Germany -according to my mother-to a tank regiment. Their blue berries taken away and a black one issued although until then they rarily wore a uniform. My father remained however in England sent to various camps until final "demob" in 46 following a plea from my mother to the war office. My mother has stated that my father had searched a couple of years before his death looking for a diary which he had kept during this time but having placed it somewhere safe- couldn't find it.The search nedless to say continues. From 46 until retirement he worked as a tailer.On his death he was the last remaining of his group. Two final anecdotes-on one occasion due to be dropped in France but returned. Turned out his brother in the resistance was one of the receiving party. From when he left his home for the work camp until the end of the war his family did not know of his where abouts. Also only on the day of his marriage announced to my mother his real name as she had until then only known him by his code name which in english translates as "socks"
    Regards Jan

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