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Father-In-Law WW2 Decorations plus Polish Order of Merit

4 months 4 days ago 4 months 4 days ago by -SD-Spartanic.
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Father-In-Law WW2 Decorations plus Polish Order of Merit #1784
Hi all,

As I noted earlier I was going to inform you of the medals my deceased father-in-law, John Conrad aka Jan Klenowicz, received in WW2 as part of the Polish Air Force based in the UK, I have included a picture of them as they are part of a shadow box I made up in his memory for my wife. The medal at the top right is the War Medal of 1930-1945 (explained here -> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Medal_1939%E2%80%931945), the next one is the France and Germany Star (explained here -> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/France_and_Germany_Star), and finally the lower one is not from the war but from his good deeds for the country of Poland dealing with war events, the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland (explained here -> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_Merit_of_the_Republic_of_Poland). He received the latter on November 29 of 2004 as shown in the booklet on the lower left, signed by the President of Poland at the time. His deed dealt with the recovery of a famous bust of a man considered to be founder of the modern polish republic, just after WW1, Marshal Piłsudski. You see this bust when originally done in 1937 in the upper left. The tall lad is my father-in-law, then in his teens. The place is Braslavia, Poland, later part of Belarus. The picture below is the recovered bust in its new resting place in a polish museum. The bust was buried and hidden when the Soviets attacked Poland in 1939,

As explained in the eulogy if you expand the picture, he was arrested by the Soviets for being in a military officers school, then sent to a Siberian gulag. He was let go when the US offered aid to the Soviets in exchange for letting the captured poles go. Most all army and air force officers captured by the Soviets were summarily executed at Katyn, although today most russians disavow this ever happened, but this is heavily documented that over a thousand were just killed in a forest and buried as a group, just like things the Nazis did. My father-in-law made his way to Persia to join the war effort with the UK as the polish air force was being restarted there. He got malaria on the arduous journey (consider he knew no russian and traveled much more a thousand miles to get there under very difficult circumstances as a very young man).

My father-in-law adored the Marshal and made it a vow to find the statue, which he did in the 1990's traveling into the crumbling Soviet empire. He found some villagers who knew where it was buried (never moved) and they helped him dig it up. He smuggled it out in his Mercedes SL he had just bought in Germany. He gave it to the government of Poland which was then a new republic. This is why he got the medal. The woman pinning the medal on him was part of the Embassy of Poland in the US. The upper middle picture is him wearing it then. The picture to the right is him and my mother-in-law, Mary MacDonald Wright. She was the radar operator along the coast I told you about, when this was all top secret during WW2. She was all Scottish and is related to Lord Lovat from that time, famous military hero, and also obviously of the MacDonald clan. Her father was an engineer with the East India company based in India where she was born. She was the only one of her four siblings to go to the UK at the start of the war to help out. The rest went to Australia and joined the Australian forces. Their families still live there today. One of her brothers fought in Burma.

Thanks for reading.

Joe
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