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
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.