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Polish Military Mission in Canada during WW2

Article about: Posted below are photographs of a young recruit named Zdzisław Gajewski in battledress. The back of the photo is dated April 18, 1942 along with the note “youngest volunteer – 16 years

  1. #11

    Default re: Polish Military Mission in Canada during WW2

    Posted below are photographs of a young recruit named Zdzisław Gajewski in battledress. The back of the photo is dated April 18, 1942 along with the note “youngest volunteer – 16 years old”. Also pictured is Sergeant Jan Kalisz, in SD uniform. Both are wearing the Muir made rogatywkas.

    Visible are the early triangular type collar pennons, once again in the armoured black and orange.

    Regards,
    Tony
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Z Gajewski 18 IV 42 - Canadian Volunteer PSZnZ.jpg 
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    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

  2. #12

    Default re: Polish Military Mission in Canada during WW2

    Some period newspaper clippings from the Windsor area (1942). Apologies for the poor quality.

    Regards,
    Tony
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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    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

    Default re: Polish Military Mission in Canada during WW2

    Here is General Duch’s April 1942 letter announcing his departure from the Canadian recruitment mission and closing of the publication of the “Fighting Poland” weekly, in which this letter was printed. Duch went on to a brief post as the commanding officer of the 1st Rifle Brigade based in Scotland and then in 1943reassigned to head the 3rd Carpathian Rifles Division of the Polish 2nd Corps for the remainder of the war.

    Regards,
    Tony
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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    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

  4. #14

    Default re: Polish Military Mission in Canada during WW2

    A nice high resolution photo found on the web, titled 'General Duch with Polish Volunteers in Canada 1941'. Surviving photographs and other documents of the recruitment mission in Canada are quite scarce as most of the document files were destroyed immediately after the war.

    Regards,
    Tony
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Gen Duch with Polish Volunteers in Canada 1941.jpg 
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    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

  5. #15

    Default re: Polish Military Mission in Canada during WW2

    A rare image of the “Henkel House” during the period where it served as the residence of the commanding officers of the Polish Military Mission in North America.

    The building was located on the southeast corner of Sandwich Street (now Riverside Drive) and George Avenue, the property of which extended from Riverside Drive up to Wyandotte Street in Windsor Ontario. The mansion was built in 1909 for Robert Henkel. It was demolished in 1950 for a new residential subdivision being built on this lot and neigbouring municipal property.

    Regards,
    Tony
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Canadian Mission Henkel House.jpg 
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    Last edited by A.J. Zawadzki; 05-22-2012 at 05:46 AM.
    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

  6. #16

    Default re: Polish Military Mission in Canada during WW2

    Now for something a little bit different, this is a piece of artwork by well known Polish architect / graphic artist Marian Walentynowicz. As most likely know, Walentynowicz created the diving eagle image that was used for the training qualification badge of the 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade.

    Lieutenant Walentynowicz served as the graphic artist for the press organ of the Polish Military Mission: Fighting Poland - Odsiecz (Rescue) (see post #13).

    The image is Walentynowicz’s impression of “Kanada” showing a peaceful lakeside scene, a familiar sight to Canadians across this country. This original piece is taken from a photo album that Walentynowicz illustrated for Lt. Ludwik Witkowski who served as an instructor for the recruitment mission.

    Regards,
    Tony
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Kanada - Marian Walentynowicz e1.jpg 
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    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

  7. #17

    Default re: Polish Military Mission in Canada during WW2

    To follow up the previous post, here is a photo from Lt. Ludwik Witkowski’s wartime photo album. Witkowski is standing front and center with a cigarette and holder in his left hand.

    The large format 8 x 10 inch photo is titled “D-ca i pracownicy” (Commander and workers) and was taken on the front stairs of the building that had formerly served as the East Windsor Town Hall. It was demolished in 1964.

    Regards,
    Tony
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

Name:	D-ca i Pracownicy Canadian Mission e.jpg 
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    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

  8. #18

    Default re: Polish Military Mission in Canada during WW2

    Here’s a press photo recently sold on ebay. It was taken April 22, 1941 during Polish Prime Minister General Władysław Sikorski’s visit to Canada. Canadian Prime Minister MacKenzie King is on his left and opposite is U.K. High Commissioner in Canada Malcolm MacDonald.

    Also posted is an excerpt from Malcolm MacDonald’s report of May 2, 1941 that mentions a private dinner he attended with the two Prime Ministers.

    Regards,
    Tony
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Sikorski in Canada 1941.jpg 
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Name:	Sikorski in Canada.jpg 
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    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

  9. #19

    Default re: Polish Military Mission in Canada during WW2

    This cloth North American volunteer’s patch was posted earlier in this thread, prior to welcoming it into my collection. Originating from the belongings of the aforementioned Lt. Witkowski, it has impeccable provenance. As such it was a safe acquisition - even though I had never previously seen this unusual variant. And then the eureka moment - finding this portrait photo. Pictured is a young lance corporal in the 1st Armoured Division wearing what looks very much to be his Canadian issue BD. Clearly visible is this same pattern patch with the rounded corners and the distinctive eagle . An exciting find.

    Cheers,
    Tony
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Name:	Ochotniki Polnocnej Ameryki.jpg 
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    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. #20

    Default re: Polish Military Mission in Canada during WW2

    Hi Piwo, this is Heather's son Paul. It's been a long time since we've chatted, but I just wanted to let you know that we are both very grateful to you for facilitating the meeting between my mom and Jim and Margaret before Jim's passing and for bringing this history alive for us. So many individual threads had to come together for that meeting to be possible. The fact of the matter is that even my mother knew relatively little about my grandfather's wartime experiences and friends, except for the bits and pieces of stories from my grandmother. On my end, the story came together quite unexpectedly. I found myself poking around the University library one quiet day, and almost purely by chance came across a copy of George Cholewczynski's "Poles Apart: The Polish Airborne at the Battle of Arnhem". Now, I knew that my grandfather had served with the Poles and had died in Market Garden, but that was about it. So, thinking this book would maybe tell me a bit more generally about the Polish experience in that battle, I took it home. You can imagine my utter astonishment when I came across not only several passages referring specifically to my grandfather, but even a description of the engagement he was involved in, and, indeed, the very moment of his death. The family had no idea that this history had been recorded, or that anyone remembered or cared. When Heather and I subsequently traveled to Driel for the 2004 commemoration, it was the first time that she had met anyone other than family that knew him from that chapter of Dick's life, and it was the first time that either of us had ever visited his gravesite. To hear the stories of the veterans brought to life for us a whole new side of this man that we both knew only from photographs and my grandmother's stories. It's hard to believe that it's almost 10 years ago now that you, and Gary, and George helped us to reconnect with our history. My "Poland - first to fight" poster still hangs in place of pride in my office. Cheeer, Paul

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