It seems that most of them fought for the Ottoman Empire. They were the descendants of Polish officers and soldiers who, after three lost insurrections (against Russia in 1831 and 1863 and against all three occupants in 1848), fled to Constantinople to continue their struggle against Russia - long a common enemy of the Poles and the Turks. In 1842 they built a Polish village near Istanbul and named it Adampol (1). From contemporary Polish residents of this village, we know of four of their ancestors who served in the Ottoman army on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915. Brothers Alfons and Jozef Wrzostek were killed in action, and the location of their graves – as was the case of most Ottoman soldiers – is unknown. The other two, Marek Gazewicz and Jozef Dohoda, returned safely to Adampol when the war was over. Unfortunately, the families of the above mentioned four soldiers did not retain any documents concerning their service on Gallipoli. Because of this, it is impossible to tell anything about the place and units in which they fought, or even the exact dates of death of the first two.
However, there was one Ottoman soldier of Polish origin about whom we posses a little bit more information. He was Ludomil Rayski (1892-1977), veteran of the Polish-Soviet war (1920), founder of the Polish aircraft industry, general of the Polish Air Force (in the late 1930’s) and veteran of WWII. His father came to Turkey after the 1863 insurrection, became Muslim, then fought in the Crimean war and, when retired in 1889, came back to Krakow (Southern Poland, then Austria-Hungary). When WWI broke out, Ludomil, after a short period of combat service in Polish units of the Austro-Hungarian Army, came to Turkey in 1915 to serve for the Ottomans (because of his father, he had dual citizenship – Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian). He began service on March 1, 1915 as a car driver in the Dardanelles Fortified Zone’s Transportation Unit. From Turkish sources we know that in this period the Turks had only two cars in the whole Dardanelles area. Thus we can assume that in the combat of March 1915 (including the main struggle between the forts and the Allied Navy on the 18th) young Rayski – who doubtlessly spoke fluent German and Turkish – served as the personal driver of the Turkish-German high command. In September 1915, he finished aviation school in Maltepe and came back to the Dardanelles as an air observer. At the late stage of the Gallipoli Campaign, Ludomil was twice wounded while flying over enemy positions. After hospitalization, he finished the pilot’s course and until the end of WWI served with the rank of lieutenant in the Fifth Air Regiment in Izmir. Turkish historiography describes him as one of those who had the greatest record of combat missions among all Ottoman airmen. Although we know only a few details of Ludomil Rayski’s service in Turkey (2), there is no doubt that he was a brave soldier, as he has received several high decorations from the Sultan, including the War Medal (Harp Madalyas?), Liyakat and Mecidiye.