Gorecki Means “a person from Górka, Poland”.
Górka is a town in Poland whose name was ultimately derived from the Slavic gora “mountain”
I’ve been researching my grandfather (Tadeusz Gorecki) war history since 2005 and as off today 30th May 2015, my research had dried up considerably. What I knew about my grandfather and his war record was very limited in the first place, he never spoke of the war, had no visible signs of the war. So whats so special about my grandfather?
Many people who live in Europe and the rest of the world have seen an influx of Polish people and many have different views of why they came to England, yet many English people don’t know the Polish were recruited to join the English army and fight alongside them in world war 2. Here in this blog I will share the history which I’ve manged to piece together and hopefully other READERS OF THIS BLOG might be able to help me with this.
I was only 15 when I lost my grandfather Tadeusz Gorecki, at that age I had come to realise that I knew nothing of my grandfather, yes I knew he was Polish and my sister and I had to learn Polish to keep up with his heritage, but his English was broken and that did not worry us in the slightest, I knew my grandfather had come to England with the armed forces and later decided to settle down in Derby after meeting my grandmother (Betty Bagley) on a bus to Sinfin and that’s about it.
It was in 2007 I started to research my family history and roots, that I discovered the bravery and sacrifices made by him and many other Polish people of his generation.
Tadeusz Gorecki, journey to England began when he was in his very early teens, where he had managed to escape the worst of the second world war and the German occupation of his country. My grandfather livid in Warsaw with his parents and two sisters, a catholic family who would have done their best to endure the dangers of life under an oppressive Nazi regime.
Tadeusz was always good with his hands, and his practical skills led him to being accepted for an apprenticeship as a ‘fitter’ in 1942, however he was praised away from his family home and his job to become a member of the Warsaw Uprising movement.
This photo below was taken in 1942 (according to the date on the back of the photo), my grandfather is knelling down 4th from left. This is the time when my grandfather was an apprentice fitter.
Before I carry on I must say thank you to Jerzy Bresinski, Ltn col. (retired) for sending me this additional information regarding where the photograph was taken and what the building was used for.
Jerzy writes, ‘The building in the photo above was an officers flat, which is located in Warszawa, Krajewskiego Street, near Cytadela. The photographer has his back towards Gdanski Railway Station. It must be before the Upraising – the building is not yet damaged. After the war, the building was reconstructed. It was built on XIX till 30y’XX Century. The building is still today used, after reconstruction (totally damaged in WWII), as communal flat’s.’Click here for the location
Jerzy – ‘Concerning photo: the people are not armed (no guns), it was taken before the Upraising. The guys in the photograph are drivers or mechanics. In this place were so many of garage’s. Maybe they are a school boys. About the uniform of your grandfather: I can’t see a distinction (charge). Was he a tank-driver ? He has a tank-driver’s medal II level. A “Croix” is maybe a sign of wars school of specialist-drivers (cadets). It is a connection to driver’s photos. In this place, in Warsaw’s upraising (since 1944.08.01-03) was hard battle between German troops and scouts (8-14 year old).’
Below is a photograph of my grandfather (bottom row right) in 1941. The other guys who’s with him I’m not totally sure of.
On the 1st August 1944, Tadeusz joined the ‘Battalion ‘Kiliński,’ in the grey ranks or “Junior” (“Vultures”), under the pseudonim “Paweł” after August 17th 1944 joining the “Hal” ranks which were the assault company – the third platoon. This battalion was part of the Armia Krajowa (“Home Army”) which was led by General Tadeusz ‘Bor’ Komorowski, this Battalion became the dominant Polish resistance movement and far the largest underground resistance movement of the second World War, with as many as 300,000 members. The Home Army was active in all areas of the country from September 1939 until its disbanding in January 1945.
Photograph taken from here
Below is a photograph of my grandfather (Left) next to Bogdan Wojciech Bernert as active members of the uprising.
Although the movement were passionate about reclaiming their land, they had no weapons other than what they had managed to steal from the Germans or fashioned themselves out of anything they could get their hands on. In 1944 the movement took a stand and tried to force the Germans out of Warsaw, believing that help was on it’s way by means of the Soviet Red Army, they were badly let down by lack of co-ordinated action and political stance of the other allies. The consequence of the uprising were many thousands became displaced and many murdered in retribution of the uprising, finally quelling the Warsaw Uprising on 2nd October 1944.
On Wednesday 4th October 1944, my grandfather was captured and taken as a prisoner of War (POW), and held in M. Stammlager 344 Teillager Lamsdorf, his POW number was 103348 (thanks to the British Red Cross for supplying this information) he was brutally beaten and tortured by the Germans, I was told this by my grandmother after my grandfather died, until Sunday 1st April 1945, when the camp got liberated.
Some photographs of the camp
On Saturday 28th April 1945, my grandfather reported to the British Army Rally Station in Sorgues, near Avignon, France, and demobilised from the Polish Army under French command and immediately re-enlisted in the Polish Army under British command, the date was 15th May 1945. His army number was 30058924, but I’m not sure if this is the private number under Polish or British army.
Below is a photograph which was taken by my grandfather going to France en-route to the UK 1945
While he was under the Polish Forces under British Command in 1945 he was posted to
65th Pomorski Infantry Battalion,
2nd Watszawska Armoured Division, click here to find out more about the Division
2nd Polish Corps, click here to find out more information regarding 2nd Polish Corps
8th British Army. click here to find out more information regarding 8th British Army
He was Also seconded on a drivers course 14th July 145 to 23rd September 1945.
The photograph of my grandfather below is wearing the uniform from the 65th Pomorski Infantry Battalion.
The dress 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. 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 my grandfather’s BD blouse is one of these ‘field made’ badges.
My grandfather cap badge is the crest of the City of Gdansk. The uniform had, of course, nothing to do with the place of birth of Ted, but rather the ‘military tradition’ of the particular unit he was part of.
The 2nd 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.
From 1945 to 1946 he served in Italy, together with the 2nd Polish Corps he was transferred to the UK. Due to the Gradual Demobilisation of the polish Forces under British Command he enlisted in the Polish Resettlement Corps (PRC) and was sent to Derby UK, until he was finally discharged on the 5TH November 1948 into absorption into Work.
Below is a photograph of my grandfather in Italy (left) 1945 with pals who are unknown
1946 – location unknown
Useful links regarding the Polish Resettlement Corps (PRC)
While my grandfather enlisted into the settlement corps, he met his future wife, Betty, the daughter of a dry cleaner and decided to settle here.
Ted worked at Longdons Mill in Derby, who specialised in surgical goods like bandages. The business was housed in a large four story building on Agard Street, and was demolished in the 1970’s to be turned into flats. Longdons, employed many Polish people.
Below are photographs of my Grandfather while he worked at Longdons
Tadeusz Gorecki was a very reserved and unassuming man who never spoke of his experiences during the war years but I feel awe and pride when I realise what he and many others lived through.
All words by Roland Keates grandson of Tadeusz Gorecki
Museums and important attractions
- Warsaw Rising Museum, Warsaw Poland
- The Polish institute and Sikorski museum, London
- The Home Army Museum (Muzeum Armii Krajowej) Krakow Poland
- Imperial War Museum North
- International Tracing Service and historical research
- Kresy Siberia Group
- Polish Military Historical Site
- The Institute of National Remembrance
- Information regarding Polish flag and the Polish Anthem
- Another great website dedicated to the Poles at war
- Polish Troops in the Italian Campaign
- Polish contribution to World War II