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Posted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 5:25 pm
I've been asked to try to do some research for a friend, though I doubt if there will be many if any records. I have a sketchy outline of her late father's story. Her grandad was born in Russia, and joined the Polish army during the Bolshevik Revolution and fought the Russians until 1920. He was given a farm as a reward. He married, and had 2 children, one of whom was my friend's dad, born August 1925. All was well until 1939 when war broke out.In a nutshell, their farm was confiscated when Russia occupied the country. The family was put in cattle trucks and travelled to a forest in Russia where they were forced to work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week with very little food and no pay. In 1942 when Germany attacked Russia, they were free to go. They went to work on a collective farm, then heard a Polish army had been formed. So the father went off to join, the so following a little later. He was sent to invade Italy and went through the Italian Campaign. Only clue I have is he was probably in 15th Cavalry. He was blown up, lost a leg and 4 fingers off a hand. When the war ended in 1945, he was transferred to Scotland to a hospital in Dundee, and later to a Polish Military Hospital in Aberfeldy. He later settled in Dundee with no idea of what became of his family. He later found that his dad had gone missing and was never found. His mother managed to contact him years later to say that she and his sister had been returned to Siberia for refusing to take Russian citizenship. Both became very ill and his sister died. Mother was too ill to attend her funeral, so they have no idea of a death date, place of death or anything. My friend's dad tried very hard to get his mother moved to Scotland, but she was too frail and died before they got permission. I have looked in Ancestry for Polish military records, but nothing there. Also put the surname in Ancestry, both the feminine and masculine versions, but nothing comes up at all. If anyone can give me any pointers about where to try, I'd be very grateful.
Re: Russian/Polish search
Posted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:49 pm
British Army soldiers WW2 records are still held by the Ministry of Defence and have not been released to any external organisation. Presumably that would also apply to British records of any Polish Army soldiers. There may also be a British medal entitlement if not previously claimed.
PolishForums has conversations about medals and soldier records, including two different medal contact addresses (post 1 & 11). If you search the forums for medal etc you'll probably find more info. Name and date of birth may be sufficient for the MOD and there may be a cost involved. https://polishforums.com/history/britis ... ing-48449/
Your friend's father's story is similar to this one.
http://www.polishresettlementcampsinthe ... ebicka.htm
“In February 1940 both Anna and Feliks together with thousands of other Poles were deported to the USSR in the first wave of deportations. Following the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 and the subsequent announcement, in August 1941, of the so called amnesty for Poles, both managed to join the Polish army that was formed in the USSR under the command of General Anders. In 1942 they travelled with what became the Polish 2nd Corps to Persia to protect vital British interests in the Middle East. Feliks and the 2nd Corps went on to fight alongside their British allies at Monte Casino and the Italian campaign. Anna Joined the Polish Women's Auxiliary Service.”
Here's a list of Units in the Polish 2nd Corps. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/II_Corps_(Poland)
There's none listed as Cavalry, however the 15th Poznań Uhlans Regiment was previously known as the 15th Armoured Cavalry Regiment. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/15th_Po ... s_Regiment
Hope that helps,
Re: Russian/Polish search
Posted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 10:15 pm
Thank you so much for that, Alan. I'll have a good look at the links you have put here now I have a few days off. My friend told me her dad's story back in the early 1970s when we were schoolgirls. I was intrigued to hear it then, but am much more seriously interested now after she and I discussed it again recently and I picked up details I had missed years ago as she just gave an overview. I did notice that Ancestry only seems to have records of WW1 soldiers. I am also a member of Forces War Records, but have found they don't seem to show full records either. I know I can for a fee purchase Army records of a serviceman if he is deceased, but only if I am next of kin. I would imagine that as the Polish soldiers were aiding the British, and as my friend's dad was sent to hospital in Scotland, there surely must be some records in the MOD somewhere. Do you know if there is a system where I can view records held by them, or are the records held as confidential?
Re: Russian/Polish search
Posted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:59 pm
More info here about obtaining info including a MOD phone number. http://www.polandinexile.com/addresses.html
WW2Talk has a success story about an application by a spouse. http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads/po ... ino.56539/
Another on polishforums (post 14). Application by granddaughter in USA. https://polishforums.com/genealogy/pola ... army-5336/
A phone call to the number quoted may be the best way forward.
All the best,
p.s. The only British Army WW2 records online that I know of are Prisoner of War records held by the Red Cross.
p.p.s. Non next of kin can apply for MOD records but info supplied is restricted depending on date of death. Same cost so possibly not very good value for money. https://www.gov.uk/get-copy-military-se ... es-records