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Commemoration of Polish veterans in England

On 12—13 February 2023, the Institute of National Remembrance commemorated two Polish Army officers buried in England.

The ceremony of consecration the tombstone of General Mieczyslaw Sawicki took place at the St. Peter Churchyard cemetery in Iver, near London on the 15th anniversary of the General's death. The gravestone monument was funded by the IPN's Office for Commemorating the Struggle and Martyrdom. The event was attended by the Consul of the Republic of Poland Tomasz Balcerowski and the Director of the Office for Commemorating the Struggle and Martyrdom Adam Siwek. The ceremony was also witnessed by representatives of the Polish community in the UK, including the President of the Association of Polish Airmen in the UK Artur Bildziuk and a representative of the Polish Places in the UK website Marcin Kunicki. General Sawicki's daughter Sophie Sawicka, who lives permanently in Spain, came especially for the event. The gravestone was consecrated by the Deputy Director of the Polish Catholic Mission in England and Wales, Rev. Prof. Władysław Wyszowadzki.

Biography of General Mieczylsaw Sawicki

Mieczysław Sawicki was born on 8 October 1917 in Niemiercze near Kyiv. He attended King Bolesław the Brave High School in Grudziądz. He was a cadet at the Armoured Weapons Officer Cadet School in Modlin. After graduating, he was assigned to the 2nd Armoured Battalion in Żurawica. He was taken prisoner by the Soviets during the 1939 defensive campaign, but he managed to escape. Then, he participated in underground activities as an intelligence officer of the Polish Victory Service/Union of Armed Struggle. He left Poland to avoid being arrested by the Germans and made his way to Palestine, where he became the intelligence officer of the 2nd Rifle Battalion of the Independent Carpathian Rifle Brigade. He took part in the battles in Tobruk and became famous for his daring intelligence actions and heroism in rescuing his wounded subordinates, for which he was awarded the Order of Virtuti Militari. After the end of the fighting in Africa, he became an officer in the 4th Armoured Regiment ‘Scorpion’ and then, at his request, was assigned to fighter aviation. In 1944, he was assigned to the No. 318 Fighter-Reconnaissance Squadron of Gdańsk and flew 103 combat missions on the Italian front. Great Britain presented Sawicki with two of its highest military awards, the Distinguished Service Order and the Distinguished Flying Cross, in recognition of his wartime achievements.

After the war, he graduated in engineering from the University of London and then worked for British construction companies. He was secretary of the Chapter of the War Order of Virtuti Militari in London. In independent Poland, he was a member of its Chapter from 1993 until his death. He was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General of the Polish Armed Forces by the President of the Republic of Poland, Lech Kaczyński. He died on 12 February 2008 in Iver Bucks near London. In 2022, the legacy of General Mieczysław Sawicki was transferred to the IPN Archives as part of the Archiwum Pełne Pamięci project.