1st Polish Armoured Division
Zbigniew was born in 1922, the son of Stefan Mieczkowski de Zagloba and Helena (nee Chamska), a landowning family. He was brought up on the family estate in Dzierżanów, Płock district, in Poland. He student of the Gimnazjum im.]. Zamoyski in Warsaw, and then at the Junior High School in Włocławek.
After the outbreak of war in 1939, he and his sister drove to Warsaw. The car they were traveling in was confiscated by the Polish army, and Zbigniew joined the army as a driver. He then evacuated Poland through Romania, eventually reaching the Polish army in France.
In November 1939 he joined the Polish Army in France and was assigned to the Armored Weapons Cadet School. After the attack of the Third Reich on France, he evacuated with the rest of the army to Great Britain. In Scotland, he graduated from the Armored Weapons Cadet School and the Słowacki High School in Glasgow, where he passed his final exams. He joined the 1st Polish Armored Division and took part in the invasion of Normandy in August 1944. After landing in Normandy, he and his fellow Poles contributed to the containment of the German army. For three days they were attacked by 70,000 Germans who were trying to move away from the gap of Falaise while they were only 3,000 men. He was part of the division that played a crucial role in closing that Gap.
As part of the 2nd Armored Regiment, he followed the entire route of the 1st Division: through northern France, Belgium, the Netherlands to Wilhelmshaven. After the war, together with the 1st Polish Armored Division, he was stationed in Germany for two years.
As Second Lieutenant in the 2nd Armored Regiment of the 1st Polish Armored Division of General S. Maczek, he fought in France, Belgium, and Germany. He was wounded at Couvicourt. His life reflects the fate of that generation of Poles, who in the years of the last war gave numerous proofs of bravery and sacrifice.
In March 1947 he returned to Great Britain and attended a foreign trade school. He performed various trade-related jobs; in the 1950s, he became the UK representative of an American company producing pumps for factories. On 26 July 1965, he married the Hon. Caroline Sarah Aline Grenfell, second daughter of the 2nd Baron Grenfell, with whom he had two children – Stefan and Helena.
Zbigniew and his wife never accepted the fact that the Communists had taken over Poland. They believed the Soviets were no less determined than the Germans to wipe out Polish culture and heritage from the face of the earth. Zbigniew viewed the Polish gentry as the nation’s spine. He often said that the Polish landowner was viciously destroyed systemically by both the German occupier and the Communists.
His autobiographical book “Horizons: Reflections of a Polish Émigré” gives an exciting insight into the rich life of this remarkable patriot and his efforts as an indefatigable freedom fighter.
He belonged to the generation that was rebuilding national memory and identity after the war. He was an active social activist in Polish communities in Great Britain, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. He promoted and instilled in the young generation patriotic and moral values, constituting a strong foundation for the durability of the Republic of Poland, so that Poland would remain a country that values the past and carries the world of great and modern values into the future.
As the president of the 1st Armored Division Commemoration Foundation, he was worthy of the highest respect, and his work was a proof of pride, to which he devoted his rich experience, strength and passion.
Thanks to his personal determination, he restored to our memory the soldiers of General Stanisław Maczek - armored men of the "Black Division", which culminated in the erection of the Monument to the 1st Polish Armored Division in Warsaw, which became a symbol of the return of the soldiers of the 1st Polish Armored Division to Poland and a symbol of transferring the ideals of the soldiers of the Polish Republic to the Armed Forces of Free Poland.
His other accomplishments include:
Member of the Council of the Polish Institute
Member of the Museum of Gen. W Sikorski
Chairman of the Polish Library Council
Co-founder and patron of the Conrad Society Centre
Founder of a foundation in Poland commemorating the 1st Armored Division
Initiator of the erection of the monument to General S. Maczek in Edinburgh
Independent activist and commentator on the life of the Polish emigration in England
Always associated with Poland, which he visited regularly
He published an autobiographical book "Horizons".
The Cross of Valor,
The Commander of Polonia Restituta,
The French Legion of Honour,
As well as other Polish and British WW2 medals
Zbigniew Mieczkowski died in December 2022, at age 100.
26 July 1965 wedding