Sunday, October 20, 2013

Four of Sikorski's final companions

1. Headstones of three of Sikorski's companions
[Gibraltar North Front Cemetery
2. Headstone of Brigadier J.P. Whiteley, OBE, TD, MP
[Gibraltar North Front Cemetery]
3. Headstone of Plk. Jan K.H. Gralewski, Polish Forces
[Gibraltar North Front Cemetery]
4. Headstone of Lt.-Col. Victor A. Cazalet, M.C., M.P.
[Gibraltar North Front Cemetery]

Buried elsewhere in Gibraltar North Front Cemetery is another of General Sikorski's final companions:

Warrant Officer Lewis Zalsberg, D.F.M., R.A.F.V.R.

For additional information click on 'Comments' below.
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4 Comments:

Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

Introduction

Following the plane crash at Gibraltar on 4 July 1943 in which the Polish Prime Minister and Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Forces and 15 of his companions were killed, General Sikorski's body was initially repatriated to Britain. Although not all the bodies of General Sikorski's final companions were recovered from the sea, the four casualties listed above were laid to rest in Gibraltar (North Front) Cemetery.

Three of these four companions of general Sikorski were laid to rest next to each other [Photograph No 1]. These three are:

Brigadier John P. Whiteley, O.B.E., T.D., M.P.,
Grave Ref: Plot 1, Row A, Grave 7 [Photograph No 2];

Plk. Jan K.H. Gralewski, Polish Home Army courier
Grave Ref: Plot 1, Row A, Grave 6 [Photograph No 3];

Lieutenant-Colonel Victor A. Cazalet, M.C., M.P.
Grave Ref: Plot 1, Row A, Grave 5
[Photograph No 4].

The fourth casualty of this plane crash who was laid to rest in Gibraltar North Front Cemetery was buried in a different part of the cemetery because of his religion (he was Jewish). This was the usual practice at that time. He was Warrant Officer Lewis Zalsberg, D.F.M., R.A.F.V.R. (I was unable to trace his memorial during the visit to the cemetery).
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CWGC citations

As a member of the Polish Armed Forces, Jan Gralewski, the Polish Home Army courier who is buried between the two British officers seen in Photograph No 1 (above) is not given a citation by the Commonwealth War Commission. The Commission does, however, maintain the grave.

The CWGC citations for the other three of General Sikorski's companions buried in Gibraltar (North Front) Cemetery are given below. Unusually, Commission does not provide the grave reference within the Jewish part of the cemetery for Warrant Officer Lewis (hence the difficulty in locating his memorial).

(1) Brigadier John P. Whiteley, O.B.E., T.D., M.P.,
Name: WHITELEY, JOHN PERCIVAL
Rank: Brigadier
Date of Death: 04/07/1943
Age: 45
Regiment/Service: Royal Artillery
and Commands and Staff General Staff
Awards: O B E, T D
Grave Reference: Plot 1. Row A. Grave 7.
Cemetery: GIBRALTAR (NORTH FRONT) CEMETERY

Additional Information:
Son of Frank Whiteley, C.M.G., J.P., and Sarah Emily Whiteley; husband of Amy Beatrice Whiteley (nee Tetley), of Brackley, Northamptonshire. M.P. for Buckingham Division from 1937.
......................................

(2) Lieutenant-Colonel Victor A. Cazalet, M.C., M.P.
Name: CAZALET, VICTOR ALEXANDER
Rank: Colonel
Date of Death: 04/07/1943
Regiment/Service: Royal Artillery
Liaison Officer to the Polish Government.
Awards: M C
Grave Reference: Plot 1. Row A. Grave 5.
Cemetery: GIBRALTAR (NORTH FRONT) CEMETERY

Additional Information:
Son of William M. Cazalet, and of Maud Lucia Heron Cazalet (nee Maxwell), of Cooden, Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex. Also served in the 1914-18 War. M.P. for Chippenham from 1924. Amateur Squash Champion, 1925, 1927, 1929, 1930. Oxford Blue for Tennis, Lawn Tennis and Racquets.
........................................

(3) Warrant Officer Lewis Zalsberg, D.F.M.
Name: ZALSBERG, LEWIS
Rank: Warrant Officer
Trade: Nav./Bomber
Service No: 755970
Date of Death: 04/07/1943
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 511 Sqdn.
Awards: D F M
Grave Reference: (Not given)
Cemetery: GIBRALTAR (NORTH FRONT) JEWISH CEMETERY

Additional Information: (None given)
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May they rest in peace!
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Sunday, 20 October, 2013  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

In July 2013 a memorial tablet listing the names of all the victims of the Gibraltar plane crash of 4 July 1943 was unveiled at Europa Point, Gibraltar. To read further about this and for a complete list of all 16 fatalities of this accident, click on the following link:

Sikorski's Memorial at Europa Point, Gibraltar
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Sunday, 20 October, 2013  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Sikorski's companions commemorated on the Gibraltar Memorial

Two of those who died with General Sikorski are commemorated on the Gibraltar Memorial, both of them serving with 511 Squadron of the Royal Air Force. These are their CWGC citations:

(1) Flight Sergeant George B. Gerry
Name: GERRY, GEORGE BROTCHIE ROBERTSON
Rank: Flight Sergeant
Service No: 552537
Date of Death: 04/07/1943
Age: 21
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force, 511 Sqdn.
Awards: D F M
Panel Reference / Memorial: GIBRALTAR MEMORIAL

Additional Information:
Son of Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Gerry, of Craigiebank, Dundee.
.............................

(2) Sergeant Francis S. Kelly, R.A.F.
Name: KELLY, FRANCIS SIMPSON
Rank: Sergeant
Service No: 529667
Date of Death: 04/07/1943
Age: 26
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force, 511 Sqdn.
Panel Reference / Memorial GIBRALTAR MEMORIAL

Additional Information:
Son of Francis Simpson Kelly and Cissie Kelly, of Belfast, Northern Ireland.
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Other companions of Sikorski commemorated by the CWGC

The Commonwealth War Graves commemorates also commemorates other casualties who lost their lives in the same crash as General Sikorski (i.e. those who were British / Commonwealth citizens).

One, Mr Walter H. Lock (a British Ministry of War civil servant), was a civilian. Therefore, Mr Lock is commemorated by the CWGC memorial for civilians lost in air crashes at sea which can be found in St George's Chapel, Westminster Abbey, London.

This is his Walter H. Lock's CWGC citation:

Name: LOCK, WALTER HEATHCOTE
Rank: Civilian
Trade: Master of Arts
Date of Death: 04/07/1943
Age: 42
Regiment/Service: Civilian War Dead
Reporting Authority: AIR CRASHES AT SEA

Additional Information:
M.A. Son of the late Walter and Cecil Lock;
Husband of Dorothea Constance Lock, of Hatherley Lawn Hotel, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.
....................

Another of General Sikorski's companions and whose body was never recovered was Harry Pinder. He was a Royal Navy Warrant Officer / Telegraphist. Being a serving member of the Royal Navy at the time of his death, Harry Pinder is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire.

This is his CWGC citation:

Name: PINDER, HARRY
Rank: Warrant Telegraphist
Date of Death: 04/07/1943
Age: 42
Regiment/Service: Royal Navy, H.M.S. Nile
Panel Reference: Panel 73, Column 1.
Memorial: PORTSMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL

Additional Information:
Son of George and Jemima Pinder;
Husband of Mary Jane Pinder, of Bridlington, Yorkshire.
....................

This is the CWGC citation for Flight Sergeant Dobson Hunter, RAFVR:
Name: HUNTER, DOBSON
Rank: Flight Sergeant
Service No: 1183899
Date of Death: 04/07/1943
Age: 30
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 511 Sqdn.
Panel Reference: Panel 137.
Memorial: RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL

Additional Information:
Son of Mr. and Mrs. Dobson Hunter; husband of Margaret Hunter, of Highbury, London.
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Sunday, 20 October, 2013  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Memorials for the Polish casualties who died with Sikorski

The other remaining five casuaties who died with General Sikorski were Polish. The bodies of two of these five were not recoveered: Adam Kułakowski, a civilian (Personal Secretary to General Sikorski) and Zofia Wanda Leśniowska (née Sikorska), daughter of General Sikorski and Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Women's Auxiliary Service.

The bodies of the three remaining Polish officers recovered from the sea were taken to Britain first buried in the Polish War Cemetry, Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire. In 2010, their remains were exhumed and re-buried in Poland (details below):

(1) Major-General Taduesz A. Kliemcki:
Name: KLIMECKI TADUESZ APOLINARY
Born: 23/11/1895, Tarnów
Rank: gen. bryg. (i.e. Major-General)
Unit: SZT. GŁ. Polish Forces
Date and place of death: 04/07/1943 at Gibraltar
First buried: Newark on Trent Cemetery, U.K.
Grave Ref: Plot: Section H, Grave 319A
Exhumed and re-interred: Military Cemetery Warsaw, Poland (09/12/2010)
...............................

(2) Colonel Andrzej M. Marecki:
Name: MARECKI ANDRRZEJ MAIRIAN
Born: 02/09/1898, Grybów w. Kraków
Rank: płl. dypl. (Colonel)
Unit: III Bureau (Operations) Polish Forces
Date and place of death: 04/07/1943 at Gibraltar
First buried: Newark upon Trent Cemetery, U.K.
Grave Ref. Plot: Section H, Grave 319
Exhumed and re-interred: Military Cemetery Warsaw, Poland (09/12/2010)
...........................

(3) Lieutenant Józef Ponikiewski:
Name: PONIKIEWSKI, JÓSEF
Born: 30.11.1916, Brylewo p. Leszno
Rank: por. mar. woj. (Lieutenant)
Unit: Personal a.-d.-c. to General Sikorski, Polish Forces
Date and place of death: 04/07/1943 at Gibraltar
First buried: Newark on Trent Cemetery, U.K.
Grave Ref. Plot: Section H, Grave 320
Exhumed and re-interred: Oporów Cemetery, Poland (09/12/2010)
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Sunday, 20 October, 2013  

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