Polish memorial St. Pancras Church
Laid to rest at the Field of Honour
Born: 21st January 1905, Stanisławów, Poland (now Iwano-Frankiwsk, Ukraine).
Died: 20th May 1942; age: 37; at 8, Anglesea Road, Ipswich – Haemorrhage from a self inflicted bullet wound of the heart and lungs – did kill himself at a time when the balance of his mind was disturbed.
Inquest held 21st May 1942.
Residence: Katowice, Silesia, Poland.
Billeted at 8, Anglesea Road, Ipswich.
Occupation: Journalist, Poet and Author.
Regiment: ‘C’ First Armoured Trains Unit. Polish Army.
Based at Westerfield, Suffolk
Father: Stanislaw Bobelak, an Explorer and Circumnavigator, and an Author. As a Naval Officer he took part in the 1882 – 1883 Austrian expedition to the North Pole. And in 1885 – 1886 Stanislaw took part in the expedition in Oceania on board ‘Nautilus.’
‘JAN KROPKA’ by Kazimierz as a short autobiography.
Kazimierz always confessed he was born with a ‘gun in his hand’, and that his great flocks of impatience came from his Tatar family. He was still a child of 14 when in 1919, he enlisted in the insurgent army. When the war was over, Kasimierz was released from the army, he was 15 years and 9 months. He was sorely aggrieved by fate when he had to return to school, at Lwow, in Autumn 1920. He became bored, which led to a state of chronic irritation. He began to please himself when he attended school. The teachers were afraid of him. Kazimierz admitted that he became the terror of the local policeman when he began to practice shooting at the town’s lighthouse. He received many penalties. In 1921, at the age of 16, Kazimierz unexpectedly heard news of the third uprising at Silesian. Just one of his teachers praised him as he left school to rush home to collect his gun, spare magazines and a hand grenade, which Kasimierz always had left out on a table like an innocent paperweight. Within two hours he was on a train heading west to Katowice. On sighting the insurgents his heart was filled with joy and excitement, he hoped that the fighting would last a minimum of 2 years, so he did not have to return to boring civilian life. His only disappointment was that he had to fight with farmers in his platoon. One of the battles the 16 year old fought was Saint Anne Mountain. Here Kazimierz wrote one of his poems.
After the battles were over, Kazimierz did not return to his home town. He remained in the province of Silesia. Here he found clerical work, and moved into journalism. He was journalist for “Powstaniec” magazine, and began to publish his poems, and stories.
In 1939, he fought Nazi bands, among others, the so called “Freikorpsem Ebbinghaus” a German sabotage unit in the battles in Upper Silesia in the first few days of the Polish Defence War, 1939. Kazimierz then took part in the civil defence of Katowice.
In 1996, an article in the ‘Trybuna Śląska’ a regional newspaper published in Katowice from 1945 – 2004 reported that in 1939, Kazimierz, a reporter, fought at the Wieza Spadochronowa in Katowice (Parachute Tower), and at the crossroads in Katowice Slowackiego and 3 Maja.
Research, information and translation courtesy of Marcin Ćwiertnia.
“The Country of Happy Hunting”
The inquest into Kazimierz’s death was held on the 21st May 1942, at the Town Hall, with a jury of 8. Lieutenant Leon Bregman, of the Polish Army was present as an interpreter. Oaths were taken by the coroner before the inquest from Kazimierz’s friends at the billet and fellow members of the ‘C’ First Armoured Train.
Stanislaw Andrzet Kusnierczyk was a 2nd Lieutenant of the ‘C’ Armoured Train, stationed at Ipswich, and billeted at No. 8, Anglesea Road. He had known Kasimierz for 18 months, and had been with him at Anglesea Road for about a year. Stanislaw stated that Kazimierz in civilian life had been a journalist, his home address being Katowice, province of Silesia, Poland. He was divorced man. He was Moslem by religion. Stanislaw stated that Kazimierz had always seemed quite normal and did not strike him as strange. He had returned from Colchester about a fortnight ago after 3 months in hospital. Stanislaw believed it was for heart trouble. He had last seen Kazimierz 3 days before his death when they met in the mess at 22, Fonnereau Road, he had seemed quite cheerful and all right.
2nd Lieutenant Jan Olejnczak, was stationed at Ipswich and billeted at No. 8, Anglesea Road, he had known Kazimierz for 2 years and had been at Anglesea Road since March 1941. He states that Kazimierz had seemed normal and did not do strange things, and had never mentioned any particular problems. He had last seen the deceased at 9:30pm on the 19th May at the billet, Kazimierz, dressed in his pajamas, had asked him to post a letter addressed to Miss Davis, in London. Jan’s room was on the opposite side of the corridor from the deceased. He heard no revolver shot next morning, and it was only when Lieutenant Rudko called for help did he know something had happened.
2nd Lieutenant Bronislaw Rudko was stationed at Ipswich and billeted at No. 8, Anglesea Road, he had known Kazimierz for 3 weeks. On the morning of the 20th May, Bronislaw was washing when Kazimierz came into the bathroom. Bronislaw said “Good morning” but he did not answer. Kazimierz left the lavatory and went out into the corridor and then he heard a call outside as the deceased pushed the door open and fell on the floor calling for “water.” Bronislaw thought he had fainted and gave him water from his glass. As he did, he noticed Kazimierz was bleeding from his mouth and he called for Jan for help. Bronislaw had not heard a revolver shot.
The two men carried Kazimierz along the corridor to his room. Medical Officer Alfons Busza was called, and the deceased was laid on his bed.
The Medical Officer was Lieutenant Bernard Gruss of the Polish Army, stationed at Ipswich, and billeted at No. 22, Fonnereau Road, Ipswich. He received a telephone call to go to No. 8, Anglesea Road. When he arrived he found Kazimierz lying on his back on his bed, he was unconscious, and died as Bernard arrived at 8:25am. Bernard saw an inlet bullet wound on the left side of his chest, and an outlet wound on the left side of his back.
In his oath Bernard Gruss states that on the 7th – 8th May Kazimierz had returned from the Military Hospital, at Colchester. The report showed that he had been sent there for heart trouble but there was nothing wrong with him, and his trouble was his nervous. If he did not improve Bernard was to send him back to Colchester for re-examination. Bernard saw Kazimierz almost every day in the mess, when he last saw him he seemed a little excited but Kazimierz said he was all right and knew what he was doing.
2nd Lieutenant Alfons Busza, a Medical Officer of the Polish Army, was not called at the inquest, but in his oath he states that he was stationed at Edinburgh had arrived at No. 8, Anglesea Road, to spend 14 days leave. At about 8:15am on the the 20th he was called to the deceased who was standing on the landing, supported by two officers. He was bleeding from the mouth. Alfons sent Jan to telephone for an ambulance to get him to Hospital. On examining Kazimierz’s chest he found a small hole on the left side, and also noticed a hole in his vest. He helped to lay the deceased on his bed just a few moments later the Medical Officer in charge of the unit in Ipswich arrived and took charge.
George Firman, a Police Constable, and Coroner’s Officer of the Borough of Ipswich, stated that he went to No. 8, Anglesea Road, at 8:50am, in response to a telephone call from a Polish Military Officer. He found the body lying on the bed in an upstairs room. The deceased was dressed, except for his tunic, and his vest and shirt covered in blood across the chest. An automatic revolver was loaded, having 6 rounds in the clip, and one ready for firing. George was handed a bullet found in the deceased bed by Jan Olejnczak. George examined the room and found a spent bullet case on the floor on the left side of the deceased, also a slip of paper between some books with Polish writing thereon. There was a pool of blood on the floor of the landing outside the deceased room, and a trail of blood to the bathroom. George was informed by Jan that a letter had been found lying on a table by the bed, which was addressed to his Major. There was no sign of any disturbance or commotion in the room.
Stanley Wall Hayland L.R.C.P. L.R.C.S. and Borough Police Surgeon, said he was called to the mortuary on May 20th and there saw the body of the deceased. On examination at the base of the heart he saw an inlet wound caused by a small caliber bullet. At about the base of the left scapula there was the exit wound of the same bullet and there was a fracture of one of the ribs which had evidently been done by the bullet. He could find no other marks of violence. In his opinion the cause of death was haemorrhage from a bullet wound of the heart and lungs.
Lieutenant Leon Bregman identified the letter found in the room as Kazimierz’s handwriting. And said that the slip of paper found between some books next to the bed read “Please return the 3 books lying on the chair to the library”.
The jury was told there was no cleaning kit near the revolver. And it is about 6 or 7 yards from the deceased’s room to the bathroom.
The jury after returning find death from haemorrhage from a self inflicted bullet wound, that the deceased took his own life at a time when the balance of his mind was disturbed.
Kazimierz’s suicide note was translated from Polish to English for the investigation. It was dated 19th May 1942 and addressed to his Major.
“I’m bored by this all. Absolutely bored. As it is so boring it is only reasonable I am going to have a look on ‘the country of happy huntings’.
He asked the Major to please inform Miss Madge Davis, of 79c Tottenham Court Road, London, W.1.
He apologised for the trouble there will be with his funeral, and sorry he did not do it at Colchester, where there are many Hindus-Musul men.
He apologised for the trouble and thanked the Major for everything.
“I report my departure”
Enclosed in the Major’s letter was Kazimierz’s last will. He requested the following things were buried with him:
- a small Arabian Coran in green cover.
- photos including the portrait.
- my letters.
- my pistol (if possible).
These things were left on a table alongside his bed.
All other belongings he left to Miss Madge Davis.