Monthly Archives: March 2015

Parachute Training 1943

This essay is part of the the Antoni Paszkiewicz project.

Since writing this in March 2015, I have obtained a copy of the History of the Polish Parachute Badge by Jan Lorys. As a result, some minor amendments have been made.

'Mass Dropping' at Tatton Park

‘Mass Dropping’ at Tatton Park

Toni Paszkiewicz arrived at RAF Ringway near Manchester in the late summer of 1943 for parachute training.

This was not the first training for his new role that he had undertaken. The Poles had a rigorous pre-parachute training regime at Largo House in Fife. From his conception of the idea of a Polish Parachute Brigade in early 1941, Colonel Stanislaw Sosabowski had placed great emphasis on fitness and preparing his men for the jumps course at Ringway and the rigours of war in the liberation of Poland. Continue reading

Journey to Britain

This essay is part of the the Antoni Paszkiewicz project.

Troopships RMS Aquitania and SS Ile de France

Troopships RMS Aquitania and SS Ile de France

In the spring of 1943, Toni Paszkiewicz volunteered for service with the 1st (Polish) Independent Parachute Brigade—another essay will cover the formation of this fine brigade and Toni’s service with it.

His journey from the Middle-East to the United Kingdom was to be aboard the French liner SS Ile de France. This was a majestic ship—she was reputed to have had the most beautiful interiors of any of the ocean liners built for the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique, the ‘French Line’. Continue reading

The Sergeant Brothers

The Sergeant Brothers

The Sergeant Brothers

In the Saturday edition of the Lurgan Mail on 25 November 1916 there was a page dedicated to ‘Patriotic Familes’—those families from the town with more than three members serving with the British Army, the Royal Navy and the Canadian Expeditionary Force. The page, the large format page rarely seen in newspapers today, had three columns of names and listed 88 families. Four families had six sons serving, one had a father and his five sons in the Army and Royal Navy, and 16 families had five sons at war. Two years into the conflict, the number of families recording multiple men killed, wounded and missing was considerable.

This degree of commitment was not unique to Lurgan nor, indeed, the United Kingdom—Mrs Charlotte Wood, an English born Canadian, saw eleven of her sons enlist, of whom five were killed in action and two severely wounded.

The Sergeant household from Gilford in County Down was another whose sons contributed much. Continue reading