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50th anniversary of the death of general Kazimierz Sosnkowski

General Sosnkowski


The Last Post Fund National Office, the Last Post Fund Québec Branch and the LPF National Field of Honour were most honoured to receive a delegation of distinguished visitors from the Polish Military Historical Institute (Wojskowe Biuro Historiczne) headed by its director, Prof. Sławomir Cenckiewicz and accompanied by the Consul General for the Republic of Poland in Montreal, Dariusz Wisniewski.

The delegation visited the National Field of Honour to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of general Kazimierz Sosnkowski, whose son Peter was also in attendance.

General Sosnkowski was born in Warsaw November 18, 1885 and died in Arundel, Québec on October 11, 1969. A true Renaissance man, over the course of his lifetime he was a soldier, a politician, a thinker and an artist. He studied philosophy and the arts and was fluent in French, German, English, Italian, Spanish and Russian in addition to his native tongue, Polish.

A close associate of Józef Klemens Piłsudski, father of the Second Polish Republic, Sosnkowski became his deputy and chief of staff, and held the role of Commander of the First Brigade of the Polish Legions during the First World War. The two were arrested by the Germans and deported to Magdeburg after instructing the Polish Legion to refuse to swear an oath of allegiance to Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. After the war, they were both liberated and returned to Warsaw, and in March 1919 Sosnkowski was named Deputy Minister of Military Affairs, a position he held during the Polish-Soviet War.

Photo caption:
General Kazimierz Sosnkowski in the 1930s
Photo: public domain commons.wikimedia.org

 

At the outbreak of the Second World War, as Commander of the southern armies, General Sosnkowski led several victorious battles, but ultimately had to concede defeat after the Soviet invasion of Poland on September 17, 1939. He was exiled in Hungary, from where he contributed to the preparation of the Polish Armed Forces in the west in the decisive clash with Germany. After the tragic death of General Sikorski in July 1943, Sosnkowski officially became Commander-in-Chief, during which period he fought his greatest battles, including at Monte Cassino, Ancona, Falaise and Arnhem. On September 30th, 1944, under pressure from UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill over  Sosnkowski’s unyeilding attitude towards the Soviets, he was demoted from his position of Commander-in-Chief.

Following the war, Sosnkowski settled in Arundel, Québec with his wife Jadwiga and their five sons. Sosnkowski remained active in the community of Polish emigrés and was also instrumental in the signing of the 1954 Act of National Unification in London. 

After his death, his ashes were initially buried at the Montmorency cemetery near Paris, and in 1992 they were brought to the Arch-Cathedral of St. John in Warsaw where they were buried and still rest.

May his tremendous achievements always be remembered!

Polish Military Historical Institute

Executive Director of the Last Post Fund, Mr. Edouard Pahud (left) with Quebec Branch President Brigadier-General Gaston Côté, OMM, CD (Retired) and Vice-President Lieutenant Colonel Michel Crowe, CD (Retired) pose with esteemed guests and members of the Polish delegation from the Institute of Polish Military History, led by Prof. Sławomir Cenckiewicz (centre) and accompanied by the Consul General for the Republic of Poland in Montreal, Dariusz Wisniewski (behind Prof. Cenckiewicz).