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Everything posted by 10FM68

  1. As I said - Brits struggle with her name! Amazing that you were able to find a photo of your father on the internet. Do you know any more about it? Interestingly (for me) the Błyskawica was paired with HMS Greyhound taking troops off the beaches at Dunkirk. It was the Greyhound which brought my grandfather home.
  2. This from Wikipedia, "Major General Karol John Drewienkiewicz CB, CMG is a retired British Army officer, generally known as "DZ"." But, probably the most famous is probably ORP Blyskawica, built at Cowes in 1936, now the Polish Navy's museum ship. During the war she served with the RN who, struggling with the name, stuck with "Bottle o' whisky"! Of course, pronouncing crossed out "L"s as a "W" doesn't help! - above example is something like Bweeskaveetsa. Easier using Cyrillic!
  3. Your father's story is very typical of those of so many - I understand that Gen Maczek, GOC 1st PL Armd Div found a job working in a pub or an hotel in Edinburgh. But, thank you for adding this personal story - we have been the blessed generation - we never had to experience the lives our parents and grandparents did.
  4. Ah! Wojtek! Famous for moving ammunition boxes and carrying 25pdr shells! Lived to be 21 - settled after the war in Edinburgh zoo, but I bet he was bored after his war service.
  5. It is a big subject, so I can give only a brief summary here and will have to leave much unsaid. Suffice to say, though, that the Polish contribution to the defeat of Nazi Germany was very significant and Polish Service personnel remained fighting from 1st September 1939 until 9 May 1945. Those who remained in Poland continued their fight against the Communist regime and their Russian masters from the forests and countryside well into the 50s. Following the German invasion of 1st September 1939 and the consequent Soviet invasion from the East on the 17th, the Polish forces were squeezed and finally defeated in early October. The Polish Navy had largely been evacuated to the UK earlier in 1939 and were now subordinated to the Royal Navy. They continued to fight under RN command throughout. The ground forces were either captured by the Germans, or the Russians, or they managed to escape across the Baltic or via Romania and Hungary. Some went to join the French in the Middle East (3rd Carpathian Brigade) coming under British command after the fall of France, and others made their way to France and fought in the Battle of France and in Norway. With the fall of France many Polish survivors were interned in Switzerland and others, about 20,000, were evacuated to Britain where they took on the defence of the Scottish coast – going on to form the 1st Polish Corps. This Corps was not fielded as a corps until the occupation of Germany in 1945, but included 1st Polish Armoured Division under Lt Gen Maczek which fought across NW Europe as part of 1st Canadian Army,, and the Independent Polish Parachute Brigade under Brig Sosabowki which fought at Arnhem. All Polish Forces in the West were now loyal to, and under the command of, the Polish Government in Exile in London (President Raczkiewicz and Prime Minister - and CinC - Sikorski). This was also true for the 50,000 or so Polish Home Army units (the Polish underground) who continued to fight a guerrilla war in Poland itself – they maintained unbroken communications with their government throughout, regularly sending couriers out of the country to London. SOE visited them in Dec 44 (Op FRESTON). Of those who fell into Russian hands many, particularly officers and the intelligentsia, were murdered - the Katyn forest - near Smolensk - murders being the best known example. The rest were placed in concentration (civilian) and POW (military) camps where they remained until after the Germans broke the Molotov-Rbbentrop Pact and invaded Russia (Op BARBAROSSA) in June 1941. The following month, Gen Sikorski concluded an agreement to release Polish POWs and these were evacuated to the Middle East under General Anders. Gen Anders formed the 2nd Polish Corps which served under the British 8th Army through North Africa and up through Italy with its crowning glory the seizure of Monte Cassino. Some Polish soldiers remained in the USSR and, under Gen Berling, created the Polish 1st Army which advanced into Germany westwards under Soviet command and control, conscripting Poles as they went and which, in 1945, became the recognised Polish People’s Army. Of those who had fallen into German hands many were forced to serve in the Wehrmacht or as slave labourers and a lot of them re-joined the Polish Army in the West as it liberated Europe from D Day onwards. Of the Air Force, some survivors re-formed squadrons in France after the fall of Poland, subsequently making their way to Britain where they became famous for their contribution to the Battle of Britain. Other squadrons were formed in Bomber Command, in Coastal Command and in Transport Command – significantly operating from Ancona in Italy in attempts to re-supply the Home Army fighting in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. (This uprising is not the same as the Jewish Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of April – May 1943.) A famous group of fighter pilots were sent to the Middle East under RAF command, becoming known as Skalski’s Flying Circus. On its disbandment, Skalski and others became squadron and flight commanders in British RAF squadrons. Intelligence. During WWII about 40% of intelligence from occupied Europe came to London from the Poles and that included information on the V1 flying bombs, concentration camps and much else. Before the war they had been working to break the German Enigma cypher machine and passed on their knowledge, to France and to the UK, before the fall of Poland. The three Poles responsible for this feat, Marian Rejewski, Henryk Zygalski and Jerzy Rozycki found their way eventually to France and then the UK, where they continued to work on intelligence work for the Polish Government in Exile. But that is a story of its own. With the end of the war, the western allies recognised the Communist government in Lublin which was under Soviet control and with it the Polish People’s Army. At a stroke, those fighting in the west became stateless, so were conscripted into the British Army and the Polish Resettlement Corps was formed to enable them to be discharged. Many went on to serve in BAOR in Mixed Service units supporting the regular army – they also undertook considerable area mine-clearance in the UK. Some returned to Poland, many more went to Commonwealth countries or stayed in the UK where they were given British status. That's about it in as brief a tour as I can manage.
  6. John F: I'll put something together - a short summary which will fit the bits into the jigsaw as far as Poles fighting in the West were concerned. Rootes 75: Yes, the reason there was such a large Polish diaspora in Britain after the war was because many were unable or unwilling to go back to Poland as it was now under Communist control and those who had fought with the Western Allies were deemed suspect (at best!). Many, of course, were from the east of the then Poland which was also no longer Poland, but the Ukraine as the borders had shifted westwards. So many settled in the areas of Britain where they had been based during the war - particularly in Scotland and also in Wales where many bought cheap smallholdings and began a new life.
  7. I don't want to block the thread about RAF paint by talking about Poland, so I have started this thread, should anyone wish to carry on on this subject. Regarding the photo again - if it was a national event then I would suggest the day was 15 August 1942 or 43. 15 August is a special day for the Polish military - commemorating the "Miracle on the Vistula" in the Polish-Soviet war of 1920. For Tony: Polish involvement in Britain during WW2 is quite involved and I would say still part hidden. Including a 'guarded' camp (political prison) on Bute for Polish officers + two other similar for Polish rankers - locations in Scotland, leading to questions in H of P. Very little is known about Josef Retinger (eminence grise / propagandist for Sikorski / some of London poles). Due to the complexities - only somebody having strong Polish origins could best put to pen. I should be able to give the titles of two books by authors of British origins - where this was revealed. The full situation in general - best I have read is , Britain and Poland 1939-1943 : The Betrayed Ally by Anita J. Prazmowska (1995) There is a lot of material from both British and Polish authors which cover the rise of independent Poland after WWI through the desperate years from 1939 to 1988. Josef Garlinski, Timothy Garten-Ash and others. I have probably about 10 linear feet of Polish historical stuff - primarily military in both English and Polish should you want to read more.
  8. Could well be. And, yes, it's very likely the girls are airwomen and the boys airmen. Great photo and full of interesting detail. I don't want to rabbit on on this thread, but one last observation - back in 2003, I think it was, the Polish Navy sent an M28 Bryza maritime recce aircraft to the Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford. They painted it in the colours of a WWII Polish Air Force Wellington of Coastal Command, complete with codes and RAF roundels - it looked brilliant!
  9. It does depend on the period and, given the presence of a US-built vehicle in the picture, this is probably later in the war than the Battle of Britain (I'm not sufficiently up on my Spitfires to recognise the mark!) But, while 302 and 303 were certainly the first fighter squadrons, 306, 307, 308, 309, 315, 316, 317 and 318 at various times were fighter squadrons (or night fighter, fighter/recce) - though not necessarily equipped with Spitfires.
  10. It's all a bit complicated. By the time of the victory parade in 1946, HMG had recognised the Provisional Polish government being established in Lublin under communist auspices. That was an inevitability given realpolitik. At that time it was still hoped that this government would ensure that non communist parties would get to play in Polish politics so that the London based Polish Government in Exile parties would have a role. Naive perhaps, but that was still the hope. HMG sent an invitation to Lublin inviting them to send a contingent, but they prevaricated. Late in the day the Polish pilots who fought with the RAF were invited to march with the RAF, but they refused because the Polish army and naval elements weren't invited as well. Meanwhile the Lublin government gave the excuse of the expected presence of the pilots with the RAF to turn down their invitation. So none went and, as it turned out, the Lublin Poles weren't invited to the Moscow parade either. All very sad, but such was Europe in those days. This is basically what happened but, as Imsaid, it was all a bit complicated and no one comes out of it very well. Suffice to say, the bravery and tenacity of the fighting Poles was exemplary, particularly as it became clear towards the end of the war that those in the West would be fighting for a government no longer recognised by the Western allies! This led to the formation of the Polish Resettlement Corps in the British Army. But that is another story.
  11. That really is a lovely photo of Polish airmen and their girls. Do you know any more details about it? I was very privileged, some years ago, to have quite a bit to do with Polish ex-servicemen who fought with the British in the west. I was able to host Gen Slawek Skalski at my home following his last Remembrance Service in 2003 - he died in the following November. This from Wikipedia: Skalski was the top Polish fighter ace of the war and chronologically the first Allied fighter ace of the war, credited, according to the Bajan's list, with 18 11/12 victories and two probable. Some sources, including Skalski himself, give a number of 22 11/12 victories. "He returned to Poland after the war but was imprisoned by the communist authorities under the pretext that he was a spy for Great Britain. While in arrest he was tortured and then, in a show trial, sentenced to death on April 7, 1950. Skalski refused to ask for clemency but after his mother's intervention with the president of communist Poland, Boleslaw Bierut his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. He remained in prison until 1956 when a court overturned the previous verdict. After the "Polish October" and subsequent liberalization and end of Stalinist terror, he was rehabilitated and rejoined the Polish armed forces. In 1972 he was moved to inactive service and in 1988, on the cusp of fall of communism in Poland he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general." It gives you an impression of how badly treated were so many Poles who returned to their homeland after 1945 if they had been in the Polish Army fighting in the West and wearing the crowned eagle capbadge. The only Polish army recognised by the Soviets (and of course, the international community once the Lublin government was recognised) was the one which was formed in the USSR and which went on to fight under Gen Berling as the 1st Polish Army and which became the Polish People's Army after the war. Not until the fall of communism did the veterans from the west have their moment in the sun - alas, all too short-lived with few now still alive.
  12. Magnificent! You've done a fantastic job. The DBG looks brilliant and really complements the tanker - every inch a true British military classic. Just great. Well done.
  13. Andy, this is a quote from you on 9 May, " being naïve I had worked on the assumption that if you asked a straight question you could expect a straight answer..." Looking back through your posts, it is clearly a dictum you aren't prepared to follow yourself: you have carefully avoided ever answering a direct question, in fact you seem to have delighted in trying to give us all the run-around. This is, quite frankly, childish, discourteous and boorish. I, for one, am pulling the plug on this thread - I'm bored with your silliness and leave you to indulge in your conspiracy theory fantasy on your own. Sorry.
  14. As Wally says, this has cost the taxpayer thousands - and that includes you! I think most of us on this site are reasonably free to cast stones, given that I doubt many of us have taken advantage of our positions in such a way to the detriment of the country, the tax payer, his regiment, other collectors, those who bought his stolen goods, those who have lost their confidence and faith in buying from others. There's no such thing as a victimless crime. Not impressed with your moral compass!
  15. All good stuff. Doing research and analysis can be great fun, but frustrating unless you have the necessary access. I can't say I have an interest in crime and horror, though - not a book for me, I'm afraid. But, regarding your copy - usually with highly classified papers which were on limited distribution there would be a list on the inside cover stating precisely who was to receive each and the pages would all have "Copy No ... of ..." with repro copies having similar legends, "Repro copy ... of ..." That might help. Dating pre or post 1944 is easy also as prior to 1944 British "top secret" documents were "Most Secret"; "Top Secret" only came in when the US became the major partner and brought that classification with them - apparently to Churchill's chagrin - he preferred the correct use of English! Anyway, too much of this and Andy will wonder what we're on about.
  16. But Maurice Oldfield didn't work for The Security Service, MI5, he was in an entirely separate organisation altogether.
  17. Well, it doesn't take time. Are you saying the tanks are at Waterbeach or not? Simple yes, or no I'd have thought.
  18. OK. First then: are you telling us, categorically, that your tanks are buried under the apron at RAF Waterbeach in 1950? As far as I am aware, the aprons were originally laid during wartime, so while they may well have been upgraded, in the few months between Transport Command leaving and Fighter Command coming in, it remains highly unlikely that there would be sufficient space, secrecy and willingness to bury loads of tanks there at that time. I cannot confirm that the RAF were not considering upgrading for B29s, but I'm not sure why they would have chosen an airfield they had just allocated to Fighter Command and which would host USAF F84s for training when there were plenty of other airfields belonging to Bomber Command to upgrade. As for burying stuff, why choose an active RAF air station when, at this time, the choice of alternative, abandoned military property was immense. It just doesn't add up.
  19. Well, as far as Waterbeach is concerned, it is a problem. At the end of the war Waterbeach was a busy operational airfield in Bomber Command, passing to Transport Command in September 1945. The squadrons were busy all through the Berlin Airlift then Fighter Command took it over in 1950. During the Korean War thee were even some USAF aircraft stationed there for a time. Fighter Command kept it busy until 1963. It was used thereafter by the Varsities from 5FTS at RAF Oakington who continued to use the airfield even after the arrival of the Royal Engineers. So I don't see any point in giving this particular hare any sort of exercise at all.
  20. Well, the first set of coords are Waterbeach Airfield. The second Little Fen Drove some way to the east. During the war and afterwards Waterbeach was an active RAF station - not a likely place to bury tanks. Much later it was home to the Royal Engineers Airfield Damage Repair regiment - 39 Engr Regt (Airfds). They certainly had the capability to dig huge holes, but the coords show the concrete apron outside the hangars which will have been in situ long before the Sappers had it and, anyway, the Army had Waterbeach long after any old WWII vehicles would need to be disposed of. I served myself at Waterbeach many years ago. Today the airfield has been sold. Little Fen Drove has nothing of interest to be seen from Google Earth - no signs of undue excavations or reinstatement of the ground. So... sadly, this adds nothing as far as I can see. Andy... look back through the threads and try and answer some of the more useful questions, please.
  21. You won't have to go very far to find gloss red-painted tow hooks. It was quite a common habit among soldiers given the task of tidying up their vehicle post-exercise. Once the tin of red paint was opened the brush would be hovering looking for somewhere to land and the tow hook was often the place - the maker's name plate being another. But... the fact remains that it was unauthorised and not required. Red lead, basic black, or bare greased metal are correct, gloss red isn't. You'll come across all sorts of justifications for doing it, but most are bollox. One chap suggested that the Marines painted them red so they'd be easier to find underwater! Quite what sort of marine would need red paint for him to find the towing hook on the back of a Land Rover I can't imagine... even the dark most of us found no problem finding them - usually with our shins! So, you are perfectly at liberty to use red paint - it will be completely authentic - in the same way as bits of rubbish, oily cotton waste, the odd bit of graffiti and sometimes penknife marks on Series 3 dashboards are authentic!
  22. This topic is forever coming up. Lots of units painted their towing pintles bright red - as they did towing eyes, wheel nuts, makers name badges and all sorts of other details. But, by rights they ought not to have done (apart from securing nuts on split rims). It was done to make things look a bit smarter, because the guy with the tin of paint was bored and for a host of other reasons. Most commonly, though the towing hitches were left in their original state: usually black, sometimes red lead and occasionally sprayed the same as the rest of the vehicle. Sappers were also quite keen on white paint back in the 80s with quite a few vehicles having towing and lifting eyes painted white and white circles appearing round lifting holes - whether that habit continued for long, though, I have no idea. So, best advice? Clean it off and give it a light spray of gloss black.
  23. I agree with Simon. It looks as though the 74 and the 6 are of different sizes and, given the length of service this vehicle will have seen, that is entirely reasonable - the Arm of Service sign would have been repainted a number of times over the years. 74 on red/blue background split horizontally would certainly fit - a divisional field regiment RA both during the war and afterwards - well into the 50s, if not later. 46 would give you a post-war inf div fd regt RA while a 126 would offer up a Corps med regt or Corps CS regt from 1959 /1962 respectively. I'm offering post-war options as they are most likely to be closest to the surface, and thus easiest to read and, of course, if the vehicle was rebuilt post-war as so many were, then it is likely that any earlier markings would be completely eradicated during the bodywork repreparation process.
  24. I wouldn't consider the Germans in 1940 France to be "owners".
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