Born on March 30, 1915, in Grodno. Józef Tadeusz Tumiel, was an officer of the Polish Army in the USSR, Commander of the General Staff of the Polish 2nd Corps, and special orders officer to General Anders.
He was the son of Julian Tumiel and Jadwiga (nee Sigiel). In 1938, he graduated from the officer cadet school in Poland. After the outbreak of World War II, he fought in the Polish Army during the September Campaign. In November 1939, he was wounded and imprisoned by the Soviets as a political prisoner, "leader of the counter-revolutionary Polish White Guard gang", in a prison in Białystok.
After the signing of the Sikorski-Majewski treaty in 1941, he worked for the Polish Embassy in Moscow and then joined the Army of General Anders. He evacuated to the Middle East with the army, and served in Iran, Iraq, Palestine and Egypt. Then he fought in the Polish 2nd Corps in the Italian campaign, for which it received the Monte Cassino Memorial Cross and the Star of Italy.
After the end the war, Józef Tumiel did not return to Poland. He joined the Polish Resettlement Corps, created by the British government, aimed at preparing Polish soldiers for civilian life in or outside the UK territory. In 1948, he was discharged from the army as a captain. Remaining in Great Britain until April 1949, he worked as a translator and manager 1at the British army armored combat vehicles warehouse in Burn (district Selby, in Yorkshire). He was later moved to the maintenance department. In 1950, he was also the manager of a Polish youth hostel in London.
In connection with the entry into force of the British Emigration Act of 1947, Józef Tumiel arrived in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) at the end of 1950, where he worked at Lusaka city council. He was a member of the veterans’ organization, the Memorable Order of Tin Hats, since 1958. On May 12, 1960 he obtained the citizenship of Rhodesia and Niasa. He served as president of the Union of Poles in Lusaka. In 1966, has moved to Ndola, Zambia.
Thanks to the efforts of Józef Pilner, the head of protection of the Polish citizens in Ndola, Polish refugees in Zambia erected a monument in Bwana Mkubwa between 1939-1945 commemorating the Poles' stay on these lands. The monument was recognized as a National Monument by the government of Zambia in 1966. Józef Tumiel as a manager at Jarrads Electrical Engineers & Contractors took care of the maintenance of this Polish monument for years.
In 1979, he had the opportunity to meet Queen Elizabeth II, who opened the fifth Conference of Heads of Government of the Commonwealth in Lusaka. In May 1989, he met Pope John Paul II in Lusaka, during his Apostolic tour to Madagascar, Zambia, and Malawi.
Among the Polish awards received by Józef Tumiel were: the Cross of Valour, the Silver Cross of Merit with Swords, the Army Medal and the medal "For Participation in the Defensive War 1939". For his war servive, Józef Tumiel was also honored with British awards: the Defense Medal, the War Medal 1939-1945, the Star for War 1939-1945 , the Star of Italy and the Star of Africa.
Józef Tumiel had a daughter Eve from his first marriage. On September 20, 1952 in Fort Jameson he married for the second time Leokadia (Lola) Alicja zwidrowska, with whom he had two sons, Jana and Michał.
Leokadia Alicja Tumiel, nee Wwidrowska, was born on May 26, 1928 in Orniany in the district of Orwi ziciana in Lithuania. Her parents were Ernest and Helena. The outbreak of World War II found 11-year-old Leokadia with her aunt in southern Poland. After crossing the border, they were interned in a refugee camp in Hungary for more than a year. After being released from internment, they reached Palestine via Yugoslavia and Turkey. In Tel-Aviv, Leokadia attended a Polish secondary school. In 1941, together with other Polish children she was sent to a British colony in Northern Rhodesia. She graduated from Broken Hill high school there. After high school, she completed Pitman's correspondence course on typing and in 1948 worked as a secretary in the British commissioner's office at Fort Jameson.
In the 1990's Joseph and Leokadia Tumiel moved to Johannesburg, South Africa, where their sons lived. Józef Tumiel passed away on March 21, 1995. , Leokadia Tumiel, on December 10, 2013.
Source: IPN Fcebook page
Copyright: Institut Pamieci Narodowej