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Ryszard TURKIEWICZ

Ryszard was born to Franciszek and Bronislawa (nee Radecka) on 16 December 1924 in Przemysl, Lwow County, Poland. Prior to 1939, he lived in Przemysl which, after the September Campaign, was occupied by the Russians. Ryszard’s father was head of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Polish State Police in Przemysl. He was arrested by the Russians at the end of September 1939 and was never heard from again. Years later they learned that he was a victim of the Katyn massacres, and his name appears on the Ukrainian list.

As a result of his father’s arrest and the Soviet ethnic cleansing of the area, Ryszard, his mother, and his sister, were deported to a work camp in Siberia on 10 February 1940. Based on the Sikorski-Majski agreement of 30 July 1941, Ryszard was released for the purpose of joining the Polish Armed Forces being formed in the southern USSR. Ryszard enlisted on 28 April 1942 and was assigned to the Special Reserve Regiment of the Army Organization Centre. (He had lied about his age by one year in order to be accepted).

Together with the Polish Army, Ryszard evacuated to Persia thereby coming under British command on 15 August 1942. He was transferred to Iraq for training, and then to Palestine for more training. With the reorganization of the Polish Army in the Middle East, Ryszard was transferred to the 6th Lwowski Armoured Regiment of the 2nd Warszawska Armoured Division of the Polish 2nd Corps on 8 October 1942.

 

Ryszard served in the Middle East (Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Egypt) from 1942 to 1944.

 

Then he served in Italy from 1944 to 1946.

 

Ryszard’s Combat action:

  • Action in the Southern Apennines

  • Battle for Monte Cassino

  • Wounded in action at Pedimonte

  • Battle for Bologna

  • Action in the Northern Apennines

  • Action on Senio River

 

On 21 August 1944 he was promoted to Lance Corporal for actions on the battlefield at Loreto / Ancona. During the operation at Piedimonte, Italy, from 21st to 25th of May 1944, as a radio operator to the platoon commander he showed great courage in action. When the tank 'Mur' was hit by an anti-tank missile and the commander was killed, he jumped out of the tank, hid under it and defended himself against the enemy infantry by firing at them with his machine gun. Being slightly injured, he did not leave the position and stayed there until the evening to take away his tank.

 

 

Polish medals awarded:

  • Honorary decoration for wounds

  • Cross of Valour

  • Cross of Monte Cassino (#30902)

  • Army Medal

 

British medals awarded:

  • 1939-1945 Star

  • Italy Star

  • Defence Medal

  • War Medal 1939-1945

 

He enlisted with the Polish Resettlement Corps (PRC) in the UK on 2 December 1946 and served in the UK until being discharged on 1 December 1948, when he completed year assignment with the PRC.

Ryszard eventually emigrated to Canada. He married Marie (nee Barbour) and they raised four children: Barbara, Mark, Paul, John.

Ryszard died on 13 January 1976 at the age of 52 years – he was murdered while at work, by a felon committing a robbery.

 

Copyright: Turkiewicz family

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