Polish at Monte Cassino

Discussion in 'Italy' started by researchingreg, Feb 2, 2015.

  1. researchingreg

    researchingreg Well-Known Member

    I know there are s few posts on Monte Cassino, however I am trying to find out about a particular soldier in the Polish Division who was at the 4th battle and break through at Monte Cassino. His name was Andrzej Jagniaszek (the grandfather of my daughter's partner). He was wounded by a bullet in North Africa (where I don't know) before the invasion of Italy. I do not know which regiment he was in. He did get some medals which are held by one of his sons. I expect I may get some information on the medals soon. However how do I go about researching his time in the Army?
     
  2. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Greg

    There is some kind of office dealing with the Polish Division in Italy - was in London - might still be there - it's similar to our Glasgow Records Office - you might try there

    Cheers
     
  3. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

  4. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    CL1 likes this.
  5. researchingreg

    researchingreg Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the info everyone. I have just found out the Sikorski Museum is closed for a month starting today.
     
  6. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    Greg.

    A tricky one. II (PO) Corps were largely drawn from Eastern Poland and from troops who gathered at Buzuluk following their release by the Soviets. I have never heard of troops joining them from other theatres. Other than a very short spell over on the River Sangro, and a stint in the line before the Fourth Battle, 11 May 44 at Cassino was the Corps's first big challenge.

    FdeP
     
  7. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  8. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    For Ref

    For MOD Polish records, please contact:
    Margaret Goddard or Barbara Kroll
    APC Polish Enquiries
    Building 60
    RAF Northolt,
    West End Road
    Ruislip,
    Middlesex HA4 6NG
    Phone: 0044 (0) 208 833 8603
    Email: NOR-PolishDiscOfficeATmod.uk
     
  9. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    Some of the Poles who fought at Cassino had fought in the Wehrmacht on the Ostfront.
     
  10. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    FdeP

    a short spell on the Sangro would have been enough for anyone- let alone taking the Monastery…


    Cheers
     
    Paul Reed likes this.
  11. researchingreg

    researchingreg Well-Known Member

    I have just found out that he was an Armoured Car Driver in the Polish Army Airforce under General Anders in the Italian Campaign. I am waiting for more info.
     
  12. researchingreg

    researchingreg Well-Known Member

    Sorry above information is wrong. I have just spoken to Margaret Goddard of APC Polish enquiries and they have his record. He was not in the Army Airforce. He was in the 2nd Polish Army Corps serving at the HQ as a mechanic Driver
     
    bexley84 likes this.
  13. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Greg
    Sounds like good work - less than 24 hours…

    Cheers
     
  14. researchingreg

    researchingreg Well-Known Member

    We now have to supply ID and they will release his Army service record to his wife Ruth who is still living. One of her sons took her to Monte Cassino a couple of years ago to see where the battle was.
     
  15. Deacs

    Deacs Well i am from Cumbria. Patron

    I was in conversation with my Polish work mate yesterday, and he was telling me about his grandfathers brother who was conscripted into the German army. Greg said that his grandfathers brother had to join the German army or his entire family would have be sent to Auschwitz.
    He was sent to Monte Cassino where he escaped and joined the British army under General Anders, he later went back to Poland and fought against the Germans.
     
  16. researchingreg

    researchingreg Well-Known Member

    That is very interesting. Poland is in an awkward position being between Germany and Russia. They were both under pretty nasty regimes. In WW1 the Poles fought on both sides, fighting with the Germans and the Russians, depending on where they lived in Poland. I suppose in my case when we get Andrzej Jagniaszek's service record a lot will be cleared up.
     
  17. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    The Poles were not the only people in a somewhat similar position. French people in Alsace and Lorraine were conscripted into the Wehrmacht as the Germans considered them to have been German citizens. The result was that members of my daughter-in-law's family were killed fighting on each side.

    Chris
     
  18. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    Greg.

    The II (PO) Corps was in the unique position in Italy in that it was the only formation that grew in size as it pushed north. As it did so, it invited any captured Western Poles to switch sides and join the Corps.

    It was one of the primary reasons why Leese decided to use the Poles for the break in battle of Op OLIVE - the attack on the Gothic Line at Rimini in Sep 44. Despite their horrific losses at Cassino, II (PO) Corps were back to full strength and so had the ability to concentrate force at the right point. This was important when compared to the Canadians and British Corps who had holes in their ranks. In Aug 44, the manning situation in the infantry was so bad that scores of Light Anti Aircraft Regiments were turn back into infantry and Infantry Battalion dropped from four Rifle Companies down to three.

    The Poles did have a few Western Poles transfer in during Cassino but the trickle turned into a flood once the mobilty battle restarted.

    Regards

    FdeP
     
  19. researchingreg

    researchingreg Well-Known Member

    Thanks to the help of above posts on this thread:
    We have now got some of Pte. Andrzej Jagniaszek 30075457 records. The trouble is a lot of it is in Polish which is now going to be translated. It seems he served with Polish Forces under British Command from 15 Aug 1942 to 29 Jan 1947. In Sep 1939, he was in the county of Polesie Poland (now Belarus) which was occupied by the USSR and as he was Polish, he was deported to a forced labour camp in the Soviet Union. Then on the Polish Soviet (Sikorski-Maisky) agreement of 30 Jul 1941, he was released for service in the Polish Army organised on Soviet Territory, enlisting on 26 Sep 1941. His Polish Army unit crossed the Soviet-Iranian border and then came under British Command from 15 Aug 1942 and was transferred to Palestine via Iraq.
    On re-organisation of the Polish Army in the Middle-East, he was posted to 17 Supply and Transport Company, 2 Polish Corps. British 8th Army on 10 Jan 1943. He was then transferred to 11 Signals Battalion, 2 Polish Corps, British 8th Army on 1 Dec 1943. He was then in Italy from 17 Feb 1944. He was involved in the following Actions:

    17 Feb 1944-23 Apr 1944 - Action on the Rivers Sangro and Rapido/Southern Appennines.
    24 Apr 1944- 31 May 1944 - Battle for Monte Cassino/Gustav-Hitler line of enemy defences
    1 June 1944-4 Sep 1944 - Battle for Ancona/Gothic line of enemy defences
    5 Sep 1944- 9 Oct 1944 - Rearguard of 8th Army
    10 Oct 1944- 1 Jan 1945 - Action in the Northern Appenines
    2 Jan 1945- 8 Apr 1945 - Action on the River Senio.
    9 Apr 1945- 2 May 1945 - Battle for Bologna/Lombardy Plain.

    His medal entitlements were:
    Polish: Cross of Monte Cassino No. 41398

    British: 1939-45 Star. Italy Star, Defence Medal. The War medal 1939-45.

    It is nice that his widow; my daughter's partner's grandmother is still alive so she can have all the information we have got so far./
     
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  20. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    Greg.

    Brilliant that you have tracked down this record and are able to share it.

    I was in the Polish Cemetery at Cassino only yesterday afternoon and have spent the morning explaining in detail how II (PO) Corps captured Point 593 and Point 575 at Cassino. This was a superb achievement given how well the Germans had designed their defensive positions. It was near impregnable.

    Regards

    Frank
     

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