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Could anyone kindly advise me as to where I could obtain details of the service and fate of a Polish Sargeant pilot OLEK ALEKSANDER who was shot down and killed around 1943 in Britain.I have,surprisingly , inherited many letters and photos/insignia of the pilot who was friendly with my mother who lived at Kenley in WW2.

I have interesting photos of this man in his spitfire ,with General Sikorsky etc and am keen to return his letters and photos to his family.This is possible since,ironically, I have married a Polish national and travel there intermittently! I would be grateful for advice on where to get Polish pilot war records from this period.Thank you in advance.Robin Sanderson

Edited by Robin Sanderson
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I am not sure that the British know who WW2 Polish servicemens next of kin are/were.

Some time ago, before the fall of the Warsaw Pact, I read an article about the Polish section at the MOD. They actually had the personal effects of hundreds of Poles killed fighting in the west, and no way of finding the next of kin.

Many of the Poles were using assumed names to avoid reprisals on their family in occupied Poland, and many of the Poles in Poland had been interned or resettled by the Russians or Germans, many addresses had ceased to exist etc.

Things may have changed since Poland entered the EEC. I hope so.

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I have found the article, but it is too large to post here.

If interested send me an email address.

Many thanks:I would appreciate the article I do appreciate the reply of yours.

I understand your point:my father had a good friend in NATO,German Officer captured by the Americans,and who returned to East Germany to find his wife-caught and shipped off to Siberia for

12 years,returned found his wife,settled in Bonn and rebuilt his life.Still alive I believe.

My wife's Polish grandpa took part in the last cavalry charge in Europe against the German tanks:still alive aged 93.But I guess all records have been destroyed as you say.

Many thanks robs.sanderson@btopenworld.com

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The Polish Section MOD have details that may be of use re tracing nok, or may not.

In the past, I have obtained typed precis of service & medal entitlement etc but also other information.

They keep record cards which have an ID photo of the serviceman & details such as place of birth, occupation, physical description etc.

They also have copies of marriage certificates - 2 that I have concerned the marriages of soldiers just post war to Polish ex-concentration camp inmates in Germany.

The only success that I have had in obtaining information concerning current next of kin occurred about 6 years ago, when I listed details of some soldiers who I was trying to find information about on a web site concerning 1st Independant Polish Para Brigade.

As a result I was contacted by a lady in New York who was the grandaughter of one of the men, who had been in 5 KDP, a gentleman in UK who was his grandson & another gentleman who gave me details concerning serial numbers & recipents of the Monte Cassino Star - not information concerning block numbers of award but individual serial numbers & individuals servicemen.

This is the site, albeit in a new incarnation, it does'nt appear to have the visitors book that I used 6 years ago, but

it has a section on the Polish Air Force in progress & has a forum which may be worth joining - I intend to now I've "found" it:

http://www.palha.info/

I would think that a Spitfire pilot is listed somewhere on a web site or in a book.

I think my contact details for the Army Records Centre Polish Section & Army Medal Office are out of date now, but the

the Polish Institute & Sikorski Museum, 20, Princes Gate, London, SW7 1PT may have relevant information.

It may be worthwhile to post this request for information on the "Polish" section of the forum too.

Edited by leigh kitchen
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Many thanks:I would appreciate the article I do appreciate the reply of yours.

I understand your point:my father had a good friend in NATO,German Officer captured by the Americans,and who returned to East Germany to find his wife-caught and shipped off to Siberia for

12 years,returned found his wife,settled in Bonn and rebuilt his life.Still alive I believe.

My wife's Polish grandpa took part in the last cavalry charge in Europe against the German tanks:still alive aged 93.But I guess all records have been destroyed as you say.

Many thanks robs.sanderson@btopenworld.com

I have emailed the article to you, as you can see it clearly says that, at that time, they still had the personal effects of large numbers of Poles killed during WW2, and were unable to trace the next of kin.

If the colour photo - the effects of WO2 Jozef Nowakowski - is anything to go by some people in Poland have something well worth having, if they can be found.

According to the caption Jozef Nowakowski, of the Carpathian Rifle Brigade, was killed in action on 28th August 1941.

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The Polish Section MOD have details that may be of use re tracing nok, or may not.

In the past, I have obtained typed precis of service & medal entitlement etc but also other information.

They keep record cards which have an ID photo of the serviceman & details such as place of birth, occupation, physical description etc.

They also have copies of marriage certificates - 2 that I have concerned the marriages of soldiers just post war to Polish ex-concentration camp inmates in Germany.

The only success that I have had in obtaining information concerning current next of kin occurred about 6 years ago, when I listed details of some soldiers who I was trying to find information about on a web site concerning 1st Independant Polish Para Brigade.

As a result I was contacted by a lady in New York who was the grandaughter of one of the men, who had been in 5 KDP, a gentleman in UK who was his grandson & another gentleman who gave me details concerning serial numbers & recipents of the Monte Cassino Star - not information concerning block numbers of award but individual serial numbers & individuals servicemen.

This is the site, albeit in a new incarnation, it does'nt appear to have the visitors book that I used 6 years ago, but

it has a section on the Polish Air Force in progress & has a forum which may be worth joining - I intend to now I've "found" it:

http://www.palha.info/

I would think that a Spitfire pilot is listed somewhere on a web site or in a book.

I think my contact details for the Army Records Centre Polish Section & Army Medal Office are out of date now, but the

the Polish Institute & Sikorski Museum, 20, Princes Gate, London, SW7 1PT may have relevant information.

It may be worthwhile to post this request for information on the "Polish" section of the forum too.

Many thanks Leigh :this is very useful and pertinent info which will help me a lot.Thanks for your time and the detail you have passed on: the successes you mention obviously meant a lot to the people

who received info on their families after so long.I will follow these up.I know of the Princes Gate Centre: I had a Polish meal dinner there 10 years ago with an ex-soldier from Poland.

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I have emailed the article to you, as you can see it clearly says that, at that time, they still had the personal effects of large numbers of Poles killed during WW2, and were unable to trace the next of kin.

If the colour photo - the effects of WO2 Jozef Nowakowski - is anything to go by some people in Poland have something well worth having, if they can be found.

According to the caption Jozef Nowakowski, of the Carpathian Rifle Brigade, was killed in action on 28th August 1941.

I managed to crop part of this pic to make it small enough to post. I think there is enough left to give an idea of what was being held for his nok.

Imagine being given these reminders of a dead grandfather you never knew.

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Robin,

Suggest you post this question at www.rafcommands.com

Many queries relating to Polish airmen serving in the RAF are posted on this forum. You will find posts there by Franek Grabowski, who may be able to provide info.

Cheers, Ken

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I managed to crop part of this pic to make it small enough to post. I think there is enough left to give an idea of what was being held for his nok.

Imagine being given these reminders of a dead grandfather you never knew.

Agreed.Actually when I visit Warsaw in August I will investigate placing an Ad in a paper and

see if my Polish father-in-law ,ex Colonel in Army ,can help trace any members of this soldier's family.

At the least, the effects should be in the Polish national Army museum if the MOD would agree to release them or other effects.Given that the political,military (NATO memebership) and economic climate of Poland has changed out of recognition in the past 15 years there may be more room for negotiation.

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Robin,

Suggest you post this question at www.rafcommands.com

Many queries relating to Polish airmen serving in the RAF are posted on this forum. You will find posts there by Franek Grabowski, who may be able to provide info.

Cheers, Ken

Thanks Ken for this lead

Robin

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  • 11 months later...

....another gentleman who gave me details concerning serial numbers & recipents of the Monte Cassino Star - not information concerning block numbers of award but individual serial numbers & individuals servicemen.....

I am intrigued by the part of your post quoted above. I assume you refer to the Monte Cassino Cross.

Do you have any information concerning the source of the individual serial numbers & individuals? I have several Monte Cassino Crosses in my collection and would be interested in finding out.

I have always understood that these records where not kept apart from block numbers. There is an individual who pops up from time to time on Ebay when these crosses are sold and provides this information. The vendors usually say that he refuses to disclose his source.

Edited by Kris D
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Yes, I too was under the impression that only block numbers to divisions & the like were held.

I had put a post on the web site that I mentioned & the grandaughter of one of the servicemen about whom I was seeking information responded.

I then received an e-mail from a gentleman with a Polish name & a Polish e-mail address, telling me the serial number of the Cross that the lady's grandfather was awarded & his sub-unit within 5 KDP, & from the serial number of the Cross that I had, the name & sub-unit (same sub-unit of 5 KDP as the other man) of the recipient of that Cross & the information that he was killed & his grave reference at Bologna.

It could be that the person concerned was an ex-serviceman in 5 KDP or perhaps the sub-unit concerned & had kept a copy of the relevant records, I have no information about him apart from his name & e-mail address.

I did reply to his e-mail to thank him & to ask if he had details of the recipients of a couple of other Crosses that I had, but never received a reply.

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HI all,

There exists a master list of all Monte Cassino cross #'s at the Sikorski Institute in London. I know of some people that have a copy of that list but have tried in vain to get a copy of that list for myself. I will continue to try until they comply :speechless: . You can also try your local SPK as sometimes they can help (I know our local has some documentation)

Cheers,

Greg

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I've tried a couple of SPKs in Britain a few years ago, both in London I think, but they were half-hearted attempts - the phone number of the first had been reallocated to buisness premises, the other gentleman was very ill & not in a position to come to the phone.

That list of Monte Cassino Cross recipients sounds intriguing - it would be good if it was published - other than that prices would rise & some would start being worth far more than others.

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