Jurczenko – Klimczak - Lubniewski: 3 Mini Memoirs
Private Edward Jurczenko
Edward Jurczenko was born to parents Julian and Jozefa (nee Nikolaj) on 3 September 1922 in Stojanow, district of Radziechow, county of Tarnopol (now Ukraine).
While residing there and apprenticing as a locksmith, that part of Poland was occupied by the Soviet Union following the 17 September 1939 invasion and because he was Polish, Edward was deported to the Soviet Union in 1940.
Although Polish prisoners in the Soviet Union were officially released on 30 July 1941, Edward could not enlist in the reborn Polish army until 25 March1942. He was posted to the 28th Infantry Regiment, 10th Infantry Division.
Together with the Polish Army units, he was evacuated to Iran, crossed the Soviet-Iranian border and came under British command effective 1 April 1942. He was transferred to Palestine, via Iraq, arriving on 7 May 1942 where he was posted to the Reserve of the Commander-in-Chief, Polish Army in the Middle East.
On 11 August 1942, Edward was transferred to the Reserve Centre and seconded on a training course to the Army Training Centre on the 17th of that month.
On 3 April 1943 Edward was transferred to the 7th Light Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment. He served in the Middle East until the 2nd Corps was shipped to Italy, participating in the Italian Campaign until the end of the war.
The entire 2nd Corps was then transferred to the United Kingdom. Edward arrived in England on 27 July 1946. He enlisted in the Polish Resettlement Corps (PRC) and served in the United Kingdom until his discharge on 20 August 1948, on absorption into industry.
2nd Lieutenant Jozef Klimczak
1st Polish Armoured Division
Fighting in the September Campaign (1939) against the German and Soviet invaders, Jozef Klimczak escaped Poland and rejoined the Polish Army reforming in France.
Following the fall of France in the summer of 1940, Jozef managed to evacuate to Great Britain where he eventually began to train with the Polish 1st Armoured Division, reaching the rank of 2nd Lieutenant and commanding an anti-tank platoon.
The Division served in Normandy within the operational command of 1st Canadian Army (General Crerar), effective August 1, 1944 until May 8, 1945. At various times during the European Campaign, Jozef served alongside troops of the 2nd Canadian Corps (Lt. Gen. Simonds) or the 1st Canadian Corps (Lt. Gen. Crocker).
Jozef was first wounded at Estrees-la-Campagne in France (August 11/44) then for a second time at Noord Bosch, Belgium (October 2/44). Following this second wounding he was flown to the United Kingdom to recover in hospital.
Following his recovery, Jozef attended the London Polytechnic and later, Edinburgh University, following which he began a successful career in his profession.
by his son Stefan
My father was born on 29 October 1918 in the village of Malmygi, parish of Kurzeniec, District of Wilejka, and County of Wilno to parents Feliks and Weronika (nee Buter). As a young man he worked on his father's farm while apprenticing as a fitter. He lived through World War Two and settled in England. Antoni managed to save a large number of documents and memorablia from that era.
On 13 April 1940, at 3:00 am in the morning, he was one of eleven family members, parents included, who were forced at gunpoint by the Russian NKVD to abandon the family farm. They were all transported by sleigh to the local railway station where they were loaded into cattle wagons, with up to 40 persons crowded into each wagon. The doors were then shut and they were locked in.
This trainload of Poles was deported to Pawlodar in Kazakhstan. The journey took 18 days and many old people died along the way.
Antoni, his brother, his brother's wife and his sister were then forced to work in the gold mine at Magkain. If you did not work or did not meet your assigned quota, you did not get bread. Many starved to death.
Following the German invasion of the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941, Polish prisoners in the prisons and gulags of the Soviet Empire were officially released on 30 July 1941. Antoni and his brother were among those released and they intended to join the Polish Army being formed on Soviet soil in Buzuluk.
Eventually Antoni was able to get away, leaving the rest of his family behind, marching across Russia for three weeks until he arrived at Panikienda-Ugawoj on 22 March 1942.
He was initially posted to the 1st Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment, 10th Infantry Division. The evacuation of Polish units from the Soviet Union had already begun. Antoni's unit crossed into Iran and thereby came under British Command, in Antoni's case, as of 1 April 1942. The unit was then transferred to Palestine, by way of Iraq, arriving there on 29 April 1941. Antoni was posted to the Reserve of the Commander-in-Chief, Polish Army in the Middle East.
With the reorganization of the Polish army, Antoni was transferred to the Workshop Company, 3rd Carpathian Infantry Division effective 18 August 1942. He trained with this unit in Iraq, Palestine and Egypt, before being shipped off to Italy, serving in it until 20 June 1944 when he was reassigned to the Light Aid Detachment (Type A), 6th Lwowska Infantry Brigade, 5th Kresowa Infantry Division.
On 11 December 1944 he was reassigned once more to the 10th Wolynska Rifle Battalion, finishing his war service at the headquarters of the 4th Wolynska Infantry Brigade, 5th Kresowa Infantry Division, with the rank of lance corporal.
He had participated in the entire Italian Campaign and was awarded the Polish Commemorative Monte Cassino Cross and the Bronze Cross of Merit with Swords as well as the British medals, 1939-45 Star, Italy Star, Defence Medal and the 1939-45 War Medal.
Antoni was transferred to England with the Polish 2nd Corps and while resident at the Whitley Camp, Sheffield, was honourably discharged on 4 December 1948.
After going on a training course for the National Coal Board, he worked at the coal face down the Thorseby Colliery at Edwinstowe, Nottinghamshire, until his early death on 23 February 1968 at the age of 49.
Antoni met my mother, Myra Jephson, one of 10 children in a coal mining family, at the Forest Town Miners' Hostel. They married and started a family. I was born in Clipstone Village and went to work down the Clipstone Colliery straight out of secondary school. After 24 years, I am now retired.
One uncle, Edward Matulewicz, married my mother's sister. He had been a sergeant in the Polish 1st Armoured Division. My father's brothers, who were also in the Polish 2nd Corps, did not stay in England. Piotr went back to Poland while Kazimierz emigrated to Argentina.