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ORP Błyskawica Crew Records?

17 Nov 2008 #1
Hi, I'm looking for some information on the crew of the ORP Błyskawica, during WWII. My grandfather claims to have been part of the crew, last name being Czerwiński. I'm wondering where one could find information about this. Any help is very much appreciated. Thanks a lot!
Wroclaw 44 | 5,384
17 Nov 2008 #2

You don't say where you are located.

Go to the (British) national archive website. There are twenty-five records concerning Blykawica. You may have to pay to open the files.

If you are in the UK... it might be possible to access and search the records at Kew. But it could be a wasted jouney.

As the ship served and saw action as part of a British contingent... you might be better off at a British based WWII website. The experts there should be able to give you links to get you started.
17 Nov 2008 #3
Sorry about that, I live in Canada. I'll look into those archives though, thanks for the help. Any more research tips would be very much appreciated. Thanks!
kolin - | 9
30 Nov 2008 #4
Hello, I am ORP, back from the dead.

I'm wondering if anybody could point me in the direction of any kind of Czerwinski / Mierzwinska marrying?

This has been very difficult to dig up, and I don't think I will ever get anywhere with it, as my Polish-born grandfather - Jan Czerwinski

His parents were both orphans.

I don't know his father's name, though his mother was Weronika Mierzwinska, I'm pretty sure. Ugh, I don't know how you people can help, but maybe you have ways! This is very interesting to me, and I really hope I can learn more about my family. Thanks a lot!
Wroclaw 44 | 5,384
30 Nov 2008 #5
Czerwinski / Mierzwinska

these names appear at : familysearch. the LDS website.

There are a couple of entries for a Jan Czerwinski. You don't give dates so I have no idea, if any of them are yours.

anyway, familysearch is simple to use and free.
kolin - | 9
4 Dec 2008 #6
Thanks a lot Wrocław. I'm trying to track down some dates.. I'll just ask around Christmas, when I'm visiting my Grandfather. Dziękuję!
childwithin 8 | 136
11 Jan 2009 #7
the crew of the ORP Błyskawica

hi, did you find the information you need? I am polish and i live in gdynia, poland where orp blyskawica is stationed as a museum, they should have some records or something here? i could look if you want, r u interested? plz use my e-mail if you are
8 Dec 2009 #8
My grandfather also served on the Blyskawica (Felik Piechocki) and I'm looking for any and all information I can get. I live in Canada as well so it makes getting records a bit more difficult. If anyone has anything they can share I'd really appreciate it.
16 May 2010 #9
My grandfather, EDWARD GATNER was on the BLYSKAWICA from start to 1946 but sadly I do not know much about his mates other than Stanley Talanda and another Stanley whose surname sounds a bit like yours. Stanley Talanda went to Canada and I think the other Stanley went to Australia. Incidentally I am named for both. We have just visited Blyskawica and were awed. My father died in 2006 aged 92.

I am clearly senile, EDWARD GATNER was my father, not my grandfather
26 Oct 2010 #10
my Father came to England on the ORP Blyskawica on 3rd September 1939 when she went to Greenock, Scotland. He served throughout the war from 39-45. He is alive and lives in England and his name is Aleksander Falkowski, he was a Petty Officer, leaving the war as a Lieutenant. Four year ago I trod the boards of history and went with Dad on the Blyskawica for a private tour with the current Commander. It was a surreal and wonderful day, one I will never forget. I hear a rumour that she may be coming to Cowes in 2012, the home where she was built.
Eagle20 16 | 119
26 Oct 2010 #11
Came across these a while ago:-
Graham L - | 1
3 Mar 2011 #12
i'm new to the Forum and have an interest in ORP Blyskawica.

On 30 Nov 1939 the Blyskawica was escorting a convoy from London northbound to Newcastle.
The 'Commodores Ship' SS Sheaf Crest hit a german mine in the Thames eastury and sank.
Blyskawica picked up 25 survivors.

I believe my paternal grandfather, Leading Signalman, Robert Lumsdon, RN was among those survivors.
I think Robert was taken onboard alive, was taken to shore - maybe Harwich, and died the next day.

Robert is buried in a war cemetary at Shotley, Suffolk, UK.
His gravestone says he died on 01 Dec 1939, aged 27.

I have just finished 22 years service in the British Army and now want to find more about Robert my Grandfather.
I am travelling to Gdynia on Fri 25 Mar for the weekend and will visit Blyskawica to pay my respects.

It would be too much to hope to meet one of the Blyskawica crew who was onboard that night,
maybe I have come on this search too late - but my family never talked of Robert - I have only recently found this information.

Kind Regards

Graham Lumsdon
M Gomolka - | 1
17 Mar 2011 #13
My father also came over on the Blyskawica - Ludwik Gomolka. I remember mention of an Eddie Gatner from my childhood, whom I'm sure my dad said was a sailor with him. Not sure if it's the same person but chances are high ! There was also a Walter Banacewik (scuse the spelling) from the Blyskawica too

My dad settled in Glasgow , firstly with a provisions shop in Dumbarton Rd , Whiteinch and then a continental meat factory in Fore St , Scotstoun - down the lane behind Star Continental Bakeries. The bakery was run by Walter and a John Sikora (Polish Airforce) Sadly my dad passed away Oct '92
30 Jul 2011 #14
My name is Christine May and my father Izydor Szypulski served on the Blyskawica. He finally settled in Brighton, Sussex and worked as a clock and watchmaker. He always spoke proudly of his time during the war in the Polish Navy and told many an interesting story. Sadly dad passed away in 2010 at the age of 91. We decided to send his old navel uniform to Poland to the Blyskawica museum.
25 Sep 2011 #15
Is your father still alive? My father also came to England on Blyscawica at start of WWII and was on her till wounded 1943. His name was Stanislaw Pawinsky, sadly he died when I was under 2yrs old in 1956. I have been trying to trace people who may have known him. Unfortunately the ship is no longer coming to Cowes 2012
Wroclaw 44 | 5,384
25 Sep 2011 #16
u might see family members her:
6 Oct 2011 #17
Merged: My father, Stanislaw Chojnacki, came to England on the ORP Blyskawica

my father came to England on the ORP Blyskawica. His name was Henryk Stanislaw Chojnacki. Sadly he died in 1993 aged 77. Has anyone any information on the crew? Are there any surviving crew out there?
6 Oct 2011 #18
I must be a totally public information.... search google in polish and english and if not, contact relevant polish military authorities.
jwojcie 2 | 763
6 Oct 2011 #19
@sushka, try here:

or here:
PWEI 3 | 612
6 Oct 2011 #20
my father came to England on the ORP Blyskawica. His name was Henryk Stanislaw Chojnacki. Sadly he died in 1993 aged 77. Has anyone any information on the crew? Are there any surviving crew out there?

Your story is very similar to one I read recently in a Polish paper:
Gdansk In Your Pocket had the pleasure this week of meeting a man called Stefan Paliwoda, a British man of Polish descent, who had travelled to the Tri-city to visit amongst other things, the Polish WWII destroyer Błyskawica.

19 Oct 2011 #21
Aleksander Kazimierz.
PolishResearch - | 4
21 Oct 2011 #22
I have known of this forum for some time and have been meaning to register to pass on some information which may be useful to other users. I think now may be the right time as there are some new posts.

My father was the Stefan Paliwoda mentioned in the article in the New Poland Express the link to which can be found above.
Dad died in 1978 and never spoke much about how he arrived in the UK – we didn’t even know he was on the Błyskawica. I have found out all of this in the last ten years by some quite thorough family history research. There were a few things key to that research that may be worth mentioning here for other people interested in this topic.

The first is that all of the individual records of the crew are held in the following location and are available for a small fee (compared to the value of the information they contain). It was £30 when I secured Dads records 4-5 years ago. Those records cover his life from 1934 to 1947 when he was finally disbanded from the PRC (Polish Resettlement Corp). The records are available from:-

Ministry of Defence APC Polish Enquiries
Building 28B
RAF Northolt
West End Road
Ruislip Middlesex HA4 6NG
Tel. 0208 833 8603
Fax. 0208 833 8866.

A phone call can confirm they have the records you require and the current cost. You will have to prove by birth certificate that you are the next of kin in order to receive a copy of the records.

The icing on the cake for us was that Dad has won 5 medals that he never even claimed and they were still available for us. (I am now the proud owner of these medals).

Other good sources of reference are the book on the Błyskawica available from the museum in Gdynia which covers all of the active service of the ship from the time she was built.

Another excellent read is “Poles Apart - Polish Naval Memories of World War Two” by Hazell Martin if you can get hold of a copy.

In answer to one of the questions posted – I think there is a crew association and it meets periodically in Gdynia – some of the last surviving WW2 crew members have attended this in the past. The ship museum in Gdynia may have some details of this and when it may next meet.

I have taught myself how to speak some passable Polish (that was difficult!) and now visit that beautiful country as often as I can. I found all of my research fascinating and it eventually resulted in the journey of a lifetime all the way to the farm outside of Lwow (now in the Ukraine) where Dad was born.

I wish you all the very best of luck with your research – I’ll pop back here from time to time to catch up.

Kind Regards, Stefan.

PS Thanks for everything Dad and RIP.
PWEI 3 | 612
21 Oct 2011 #23
Thanks for dropping by Stefan, that information should be hugely useful to quite a few people.

The book Stefan mentions is currently available new on Amazon for £10: Poles-Apart-Polish-Naval-Memories.

If that one has sold by the time you click the link:
Title: Poles Apart: Polish Naval Memories of World War Two
Author: Martin Hazell
Publisher: South West Maritime History Society (2007)
May be available at £11 + £2 p&p from David Clement, The Holt, Exton, Exeter, Devon, EX3 0PN.

Also worth trying the AbeBooks search engine, they list five sellers with copies right now.
Janina Szawiel
3 Feb 2012 #24
Was your Grandfather's christian name Tadeusz?

My father, Jan Szawiel, fought on the Blyskawica and and we have a book recording the Polish Navy's history through the war; unfortunately its in Polish!!

A Tadeusz Czerwinski appears in the service record we think achieving the "Odznaczeni Krzyzem Walecznych" which we think is a medal of some sort.

Regards Janina
12 Sep 2012 #25
Janina Szawiel
Hi there what is the book that you have please? My Grandfather Jerzy Malcharek served on the ORP Blyskawica '43-45
14 Apr 2013 #26
Sorry just read your post today - it seems that we have something in common and could possibly meet for a chat.

16 Jul 2013 #27
Kazimierz Ploszaj
29 Aug 2013 #28
My wife's uncle served on ORP Błyskawica as a 2nd artillery officer. Hopefully you can use this site for more information:

Regards from Vienna, Austria
1 Mar 2014 #29
I have just seen your email. My father was on the same ship at the time your father was too. His name was Joseph Lula and also petty officer. He passed away in1972 but I have been trying to trace info on him. Sorry for such a late reply to your original message. I do hope you pick this up.
Arlanymor - | 2
12 Apr 2014 #30
My father served on Blyskawica,his name was Teodor Krol and he was a stoker in the engine room.His friend Kazick Kostuch (spelling might not be correct) was also a crew member.Kazick met his wife Peggy in Brighton and settled in Hove where she still lives..My father met my mother who was in teacher's training college there in Brighton and settled in Wales.My father died in 1975 aged 59 and Kazick died recently.I have photos taken onboard Blyskawica of crew members during the war.

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