Amersham Polish Club

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Branch #115

General Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski, Patron of SPK, Amersham The SPK Committee in Amersham decided in 2009 to take on the patronage of General Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski.

Tadeusz Komorowski was born in 1895 in Galicia, then a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a member of the Polish nobility that in the 15th century owned Zywiec. The title of Count was bestowed on the family by King Maciej Korwin of Hungary in 1469. It was a title that Tadeusz, a true democrat, never used. His great great great great grandfather’s brother was Arch-Bishop Adam Ignacy Komorowski, Primate of Poland between 1749-59.

Encouraged by his god-father General Tadeusz Rozwadowski, Tadeusz went to the Wiener Neustadt Military Academy in Vienna in 1913 and emerged with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant of Cavalry in the Austrian Army. He saw action on the Russian and Italian fronts during World War I, and then entered the Polish Army in the newly independent Poland. During the Russo-Polish war in 1920, Komorowski fought in the last cavalry battle on European soil near Komorow, and was seriously injured in battle, but insisted on leading his unit until the end of the day when his commanding officer had to forcibly send him to hospital.

As one of the leading riders in the country he won prestigious equestrian prizes in Nice and Paris as well as representing Poland at the Paris Olympics in 1924. Two years later he was appointed as the deputy commander of the 9th Uhlans, and shortly afterwards assumed command of the regiment. Prior to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Komorowski temporarily relinquished command of his regiment to train the Polish Equestrian team whom he captained at the Olympics. The team won the silver medal in the 3 Day Event, and subsequently Komorowski had his photo taken being presented to Adolf Hitler. It was later used during the war by the Gestapo when they were searching for him as the leader of the Home Army. A bounty of £400,000 was placed on his head.

In 1938 Colonel Komorowski was transferred to Grudziadz, near the German border, as the commander of the Higher Polish Cavalry Centre. When Germany invaded Poland in September 1939 he organized the defence of a section of the Vistula River successfully preventing the Germans from crossing it.

When the country was overrun, he managed to avoid being taken prisoner, and worked his way down to Cracow in southern Poland. He received instructions from the Polish Government-in-Exile to remain in Poland and start forming a resistance movement. He proved to have considerable aptitude for this kind of work. The Polish Home Army (AK) eventually became the biggest underground army in Europe, numbering some 400,000 soldiers. In 1940 he was appointed the commander of Cracow and Silesia section of the resistance. The following year he was promoted to the rank of Major General. Following the arrest in June 1943 of the commander of the AK, General Rowecki in Warsaw, Komorowski was appointed as his successor. In March 1944 he was promoted to Lieutenant-General, using the pseudonym of “General Bór”.

With the Soviet Army approaching Warsaw in the summer of 1944, the Polish Government in London left the decision for military action to the authorities in Poland, namely General Bór and the government delegate. The Warsaw Uprising commenced on 1st August 1944 has remained a controversial topic, and although the Russian lies and propaganda against the Polish Home Army have since been exposed for what they are, it still evokes a spectrum of varying opinions.

What is undeniable is that Poland had to try and liberate itself. The yoke of Nazi oppression had been such, that the population was on the verge of exploding in open revolt. Politics, and the ruthless ambitions of Stalin, dictated that the Uprising should end tragically in terms of its immediate aims. For 63 days the insurgents fought on, denied any support from the Soviet Army or Allied support from Russian airfields, before surrendering to the Germans. When it became apparent that the Uprising would not succeed, Komorowski was appointed the Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Armed Forces on 30th September, 1944, in the hope that the Germans would not execute the Commander of the Armed Forces. Despite this, Hitler ordered Komorowski and his Staff Officers to be shot, but after a query from the camp commandant, the order was rescinded several days later.

Although the Warsaw Uprising failed in its immediate aims, on a broader tableau it provided a source of pride and inspiration to a nation subjected to one oppressive regime after another. Solidarity assumed the mantle of the fight for freedom, instigated by the insurgents of the Home Army (Armia Krajowa). Inspired by a Polish pope it ultimately led to Poland regaining its freedom and in no small measure to the toppling of communism in Eastern Europe.

Liberated in May 1945 after spending time in Langwasser and Colditz, Komorowski came to London to take up his role as C-in-C. He assumed the double barrel name of “General Bór-Komorowski” using his resistance pseudonym. In 1947 he was appointed the Prime Minister of the Polish Government-in-Exile in London, continuing in this role for the next three years in extremely difficult circumstances, as the communist authorities in Poland were officially recognized by the West. He founded the Home Army Circle and the Polish Home Army Invalids Fund which has sent thousands of pounds each year in medical aid to former soldiers of the Home Army.

In 1956 he was chosen to the “Committee of Three” along with General Anders and Ambassador Raczynski, a body that gave patriotic guidance to the émigré community in the West. He remained a member up to his death on the 24th August 1966. In 1984 President Reagan awarded the Legion of Merit to the three commanders of the Polish Home Army. In 1994 on the 50th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising, Komorowski’s remains were flown to Poland by members of his family for a state funeral. A quiet and modest man with an engaging personality, he commanded the respect and loyalty of all those who served under him.

The uncomplaining acceptance of his lot in life set him aside as a man of rare qualities, and his unswerving dedication to his country, and refusal to compromise his patriotism under any circumstances, make him a more than worthy patron of the Amersham SPK Circle.

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