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Stories of Poles at war

Article about: The 8th of November. It was quite worm and foggy morning. We were just finishing our breakfast when the post was distributed. I was just about to open a letter from my girl when through mega

  1. #31


    This is is the helmet taken from the "Chartonowicz" grave on the Bendendorps weg, when the body was disinterred for reburial at the Airborne Cemetery.
    (The helmet can be seen at the foot of the cross on the ground.)

    Gary J
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  2. #32


    I have interviewed a couple of ex-combatants from the Polish 2 Corps for the book I'm writing some using a Camcorder.

    I include 2 links here:

    Józef Królczyk (5KDP artillery) describes the start of the battle of Monte Cassino

    Tadeusz Mastalski (3DSK infantry) who was at the front for the entire battle tells that his only injuries occurred 12 years later when he re-traced his steps and was scratched by thorns on his way to the Abbey

    I also had my father's story Mikołaj Pleszak (2WAD) published at Two Years in a Gulag: The True Wartime Story of a Polish Peasant Exiled to Siberia: Frank Pleszak: Books

  3. #33


    704543 Muskus Zbigniew 18.10.1925 kpr. /LAC Mechanik radarowy


    Dad was lucky not to have been sent to the gulags in Siberia when he was deported from Poland. From Kazakhstan he reached Persia (Iran) in April 1942. He convalesced in Teheran for 2 or 3 months to recuperate and gain strength after two years of starvation rations. Then in British Army lorries he travelled to Palestine and, wanting to become a pilot, he volunteered for the Polish Air Force based in the U.K.

    He boarded the Aquitania in Port Said as one of 300 guards for 2000 prisoners from Rommel’s Africa Core. The British thought that the Poles might shoot the Germans so issued them with very old rifles, five rounds each, and only enough rifles for those on duty. At the end of each watch they had to go around a corner and hand the rifle to the next guard. There were however, two machine guns covering the exercise area manned by British sailors. They sailed through the Suez Canal and stopped at Madagascar, Cape Town and Freetown before heading for the U.S.A. In mid Atlantic they found themselves in the middle of a large German fleet spread out on the horizons. Sailing under full power (very uncomfortable with engines throbbing and life jackets on) they zigzagged between the German warships for three days. Dad has no idea how, with four funnels, they were not recognised! Leaving the ship and prisoners in Boston he travelled to New York and waited for embarkation on Manhattan Island. Sailing on to Halifax they waited for a convoy to form and arrived in Liverpool in the autumn of 1942. We pinpointed the timing of this trip because he remembers seeing the three great liners (Aquitan ia, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth) in New York at the same time. This appears to have been the first few days of September.

    While doing his induction for the Polish Air Force it became apparent that Dad was still under 18. This prevented him from training as a pilot, an occupation with a short life expectancy and set in motion a different military career:-
    •316 Squadron where he loaded machine guns and prepared Spitfires for flying.
    •RAF school at Halton he learnt English and qualified as an electrical fitter.
    •Training at No. 9 Radio School RAF Yatesbury as a RDF (Radio Direction Finding) mechanic.
    •Posted to RAF Exminster
    •Posted to RAF Hope Cove in February 1945. It had been reduced to a skeleton staff as the war moved eastwards, but it was kept alert to watch for any threat from German planes or submarines. There were no raids and it was a very relaxed posting, almost like a holiday camp. It was here that he met my Mother. In July 1946 he was responsible for closing the station down, padlocking the gate and sending the keys to Group 60 Command.
    •Posted to RAF Sandwich he was made a Corporal in charge of two mechanics, and put the station back on air after the operations room had been burnt down.
    •Enlisted into the PRC (Polish Resettlement Corps).
    •Released from the PRC/RAF to study at Woolwich Polytechnic on 12th July 1947.

    To be continued.

    Yes an Alien with fresh complexion, hazel eyes and dark hair! As with all red tape, four copies were required.
    •Immigrants to Britain who arrived between 1918 and 1957 were known as aliens in the legal terminology of the time.
    •British-born wives of aliens lost their British status upon marriage.
    •Aliens were legally required to register with the police until their application for naturalization was granted.

    Alien status did not hold Dad back as he achieved a degree in electrical engineering and started work designing radar components for British Thomson-Houston (BTH) at Rugby. He stayed with radar design, never changing his job, but his employer’s name changed several times to Associated Electrical Industries (AEI), English Electric Valve Co (EEV) and finally The General Electric Co (GEC). His department won the Queen’s Award for Industry and by the time he retired he had risen to be manager of Lincoln Division of GEC.

    Having shown that missed schooling and a foreign language were no barrier to a successful career, he also demonstrated that two years of hunger and forced labour on the collective farms of Soviet Kazakhstan did no long term damage to his health. Wanting to celebrate his 80th birthday with him I had to fly to Ecuador, where he was doing voluntary work for 3 years and living with a new partner from Canada! Having gone out to replace the bathrooms in a seminary he went on to design a solar powered herb drier and fit the electrical system in a new village school high on the slopes of Mount Chimborazo. He returned to semi-retirement in Lanzarote and died when he was 83. I am very proud of him. span>

    If you want WW2 military records for a Pole they are available from Ministry of Defence, APC Disclosures 5 (Polish) Building 60, RAF Northolt, Ruislip HA4 6NG. Tel:020 8833 8603

    WW2 | The Long Bridge – Out of the Gulags
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  4. #34

  5. #35


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  6. #36


    Spitfire over Poland
    This summer Polish pilot Jacek Mainka flew a Spitfire in 308sqn colours in Poland and I enclose links to a couple of short videos. Enjoy.

    Spitfire pl/cz OPS2014 on Vimeo

    Supermarine Spitfire PL on Vimeo

  7. #37


    Hello Everyone,

    A recent find a reunion photograph

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    Nr 1. Unidentified although he is wearing 303 Sqdn Badge

    Nr 2. Squadron Leader Franciszek Kornicki

    Nr 3. Wing Commander Stefan Janus

    Nr 4. Squadron Leader Zygmunt Witymir Bienkowski

    Nr 5. Group Captain Aleksander Klemens Gabszewicz (later General Brygady)

    Nr 6. Squadron Leader Marian Trzebinski

    Right on photograph is Squadron Leader Boleslaw Drobinski

    If anyone recognizes Nr 1 please let me know.

    Best wishes


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