Polish Army

Discussions on other First and Second World War militaria and collecting in general. Hosted by John G & William Kramer.
ukzombie
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Polish Army

Post by ukzombie » 28 Dec 2006 16:45

I wonder if someone can help me? My grandfather served in the Polish Home Army and the Polish Forces under British Command in 1945. We have a photo of my grandfather in his military attire in 1945.

Image

Could someone tell what the cross is on his breast pocket?

Any information will be greatly received.

Thanks

More information about my grandfather can be gleemed from http://www.keatesbyname.com/index.php?categoryid=29
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Zbojnik
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Post by Zbojnik » 28 Dec 2006 17:29

Hello. I believe the Cross underneath his breast pocket is the 65th Pomorski Infantry Regimental badge. I however don't have pictures of this one. A friend of mine with greater knowledge will probably come here soon and provide some more detailed info.

Cyprek
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Post by Cyprek » 28 Dec 2006 18:38

For me this is some Virtuti Militari (3rd class?).

ukzombie
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Post by ukzombie » 28 Dec 2006 19:40

Zbojnik wrote:Hello. I believe the Cross underneath his breast pocket is the 65th Pomorski Infantry Regimental badge. I however don't have pictures of this one. A friend of mine with greater knowledge will probably come here soon and provide some more detailed info.
Hello friend, My grandfather was posted to the 65th Pomorski Infantry Battalion, When he joined the Polish Forces under British Command in 1945, he was also posted to

2nd Company,

65th Pomorski Infantry Battalion,

2nd Watszawska Armoured Division,

2nd Polish Corps,

8th British Army.

If your friend can confirm this please, where can I find more information about the 65th Pomorski Infantry Battalion, as I can't find anything on the net

What is the item under the cross?

ukzombie
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Post by ukzombie » 28 Dec 2006 19:42

Cyprek wrote:For me this is some Virtuti Militari (3rd class?).
I thought it was a Virtuti Militari and wanted to check so I went to http://www.feefhs.org/pl/vm/vm-g.html and my grandfathers name is there, however not sure if it was the right Gorecki.

Cyprek
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Post by Cyprek » 28 Dec 2006 20:23

What is the item under the cross?
For 100% this is a badge of the 2nd Armored Division.

To me it is very similar to VM 3rd class. I couldn't find anything that would fit better. But maybe Zbojnik is right and this is a battalion's badge. I haven't seen 65th Battalion's badge so I can't exclude it.

Although it is very similar to VM.

Image

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PolAntek
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Post by PolAntek » 28 Dec 2006 20:27

Hello ukzombie,

A most fascinating photograph of your grandfather, for several reasons. The primary one being that my father is also a veteran of the same unit – the 65 Pomorski Baon Piechoty (65th Pomorski Infantry Battalion).

Zbojnik is correct with his ID of the badge. It is indeed the badge of the 65th Pomorski Infantry Battalion. The badge follows the basic pattern of the pre-war 65 Starogard Infantry Regiment. The badge just below it is that of the 2nd Warsaw Armoured Division.

The badge of the 65PBP was never formally issued. The men of the battalion awarded the right to wear the badge were given only the award document, and it was up to them to procure a badge. Such was the case with my father. His award document is pictured below.

According to my research, a deadline for submission of an order to have the badges made while the 65PBP was stationed in Italy was missed. It was likely that the badge would have been made by one of the famous Italian makers such as F.M. Lorioli Fratelli, Picchiani Barlacchi, or perhaps a lesser known outfits such as L’Arte della Medaglia or Castelli Gerosa to name but two. I have not been able to find out anything more about this other than my dad recalled that there was a rumour that the badge would be made after the unit was transferred to England. The unit was disbanded shortly after arrival and the badge project never materialized.

In the meantime two or more enterprising soldiers took it upon themselves to make the badges. Such a thing was not unusual in the Polish forces as the Poles were known to be a very resourceful lot. The one displayed on your grandfather’s BD blouse is one of these ‘field made’ badges. Below is a picture of the one in my collection which was supposedly made for the officer corps. Needless to say, these are very rare badges.

You will also note the beret insignia of this unit on your grandfather’s beret (see pic below). Also a very rare piece of insignia, and one that I am still searching for.

Your grandfather’s BD blouse also displays the expected Polish handiwork at ‘smartening up’ the basic issue 1937 pattern tunic. Note the typical opened collar, and the less seen scalloped pocket flaps.

I will show the photographs to my dad to see if he recognizes anyone. There is a good chance that he may have known your grandfather.

Thanks for the most interesting post!

Cheers,
Tony
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ukzombie
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Post by ukzombie » 28 Dec 2006 23:03

Hello Tony

Thank you so much for the great post, full of great information.

So just to clarify, he wears his cap badge and near to it he wears a ‘beret Insignia’ which I presume is “65PP PSZnZ 2 Korpus.jpg” or am I mistaken.

He also wears the 65th Pomorski Infantry Battalion (which is the cross)

And below it is 2nd Warsaw Armoured Division badge?

He was also posted to

2nd Polish Corps
and
8th British Army
would he wear those badges as well, or does it not work like that?
Thanks for your outstanding post

Roly

Zbojnik
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Post by Zbojnik » 28 Dec 2006 23:24

Cyprek wrote:For me this is some Virtuti Militari (3rd class?).
No, Cyprek it is not the VM 3rd Class. The VM was a decoration and was never displayed on the breast pocket, but rather suspended above the left breast pocket or displayed on a ribbon bar.

Also the VM 3rd Class were rarely awarded, and if they were they went to a higher officer and such, not for individual acts of bravery by a soldier, which was recognized by the silver 5th Class VM.

Zbojnik
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Post by Zbojnik » 28 Dec 2006 23:41

ukzombie wrote:Hello Tony

Thank you so much for the great post, full of great information.

So just to clarify, he wears his cap badge and near to it he wears a ‘beret Insignia’ which I presume is “65PP PSZnZ 2 Korpus.jpg” or am I mistaken.

He also wears the 65th Pomorski Infantry Battalion (which is the cross)

And below it is 2nd Warsaw Armoured Division badge?

He was also posted to

2nd Polish Corps
and
8th British Army
would he wear those badges as well, or does it not work like that?
Thanks for your outstanding post

Roly
Yes you are correct. About the unit he was posted too. The II Polish Corp was the name for the whole Polish tactical unit serving in Italy. The British 8th Army was the whole Army under command of Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery. The II Polish Corp was attached to this army. There are no official badges for these units as far as I know.

Image

Those would be the patches that would appear on your Grandfathers Battle Dress. The Cross is the British 8th Army while the Syrenka is the II Polish Corp.

He would also have patches like these on his uniform.

Image

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PolAntek
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Post by PolAntek » 29 Dec 2006 00:17

Hello Roly,

Sorry if I was unclear. To clarify:
ukzombie wrote: he wears his cap badge and near to it he wears a ‘beret Insignia’ which I presume is “65PP PSZnZ 2 Korpus.jpg” or am I mistaken.
You are correct. This is the crest of the City of Gdansk. The insignia consists of a red felt backing with yellow metal cross and crown components.
ukzombie wrote: He also wears the 65th Pomorski Infantry Battalion (which is the cross)

And below it is 2nd Warsaw Armoured Division badge?
Correct again. A better pic of the 2nd Warsaw Armoured Division badge is posted below. Official maker of these was F.M. Lorioli Fratelli.
ukzombie wrote: He was also posted to 2nd Polish Corps and 8th British Army
would he wear those badges as well, or does it not work like that?
Yes, to elaborate on Zbojnik’s earlier post, the uniform tunic would also display the British 8th Army “Crusader Cross”, and the Polish 2nd Corps “Syrenka” mermaid. The 2nd Warsaw Armoured Division insignia would be mounted below the “Syrenka”. The metal Polish 2nd Corps commemorative badge was also popularly affixed above the left breast pocket. My dad's 'veteran's' BD tunic with all of the correct insignia displayed in the proper locations is pictured below. The badge is a modern reproduction of the pre-war 65th Starogard Infantry Regiment which was adopted by the 65th Pomorski Infantry Battalion.

In general, the soldiers ‘best’ or ‘walking out’ uniform, would display the full array of insignia. The Poles were quite image conscious and took great pride in adorning their uniforms with the various badges and insignia of the units. Many of these symbols are steeped in Polish military history that goes back centuries.

I have pictures of my father up to 1947 in battledress uniforms with and without the various insignia. Posted below is the 2nd Warsaw Armoured Division insignia along with a photo of my dad with it displayed on his tunic. In another photo taken in England in 1947 just before demobilization he is wearing what appears to be a crisp new uniform without any visible insignia and is standing next a friend from the same division who has a fully badged BD blouse.

Regards,
Tony
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PolAntek
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Post by PolAntek » 29 Dec 2006 00:22

...couldn't squeeze these into my earlier post...
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ukzombie
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Post by ukzombie » 29 Dec 2006 09:32

Zbojnik wrote: Yes you are correct. About the unit he was posted too. The II Polish Corp was the name for the whole Polish tactical unit serving in Italy. The British 8th Army was the whole Army under command of Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery. The II Polish Corp was attached to this army. There are no official badges for these units as far as I know.

Image

Those would be the patches that would appear on your Grandfathers Battle Dress. The Cross is the British 8th Army while the Syrenka is the II Polish Corp.

He would also have patches like these on his uniform.

Image
Thanks for the info, History was never my biggest strong points.

So when he was posted to

65th Pomorski Infantry Battalion,

and

2nd Watszawska Armoured Division,

who would decide which post he should go to, or would he be in one post for a few months and then move, sorry rather thick.

Is your user name (bridge324) on ebay?
Last edited by ukzombie on 29 Dec 2006 10:20, edited 1 time in total.

ukzombie
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Post by ukzombie » 29 Dec 2006 09:52

With regard to the cap badge, The image below on the bottom is taken from http://www.polishsoldier.co.uk/2ndcorpus.htm Which clearly states this cap badge would be worn by the 2nd corps.

Looking at the images above it looks like a commemorative badge which is worn above the breast pocket. (not a cap badge)

How come this is different from my grandfathers cap badge (one with the green backing?
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ukzombie
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Post by ukzombie » 29 Dec 2006 10:30

Tony,

Stupid Question why is there a 2nd Warsaw Armoured Division badge (the top one) and a 2nd Warsaw Armoured Division insignia?

Never been in the armed forces, just learning as I go along
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