Veteran Stories:
Ignacy Pelc

Army

  • Kapral (Corporal) Ignacy Pelc, 11th Polish Signals Battalion (on right), and two comrades pose in front of the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II (National Monument of Victor Emmanuel II or "Il Vittoriano") in Rome, Italy, 1944.

    Ignacy Pelc
  • Szeregowy (Private) Ignacy Pelc, shortly after joining the 11th Polish Signals Battalion in Italy, 1943.

    Ignacy Pelc
  • Polish Army troops pose on a sphinx during training in Egypt, circa 1942-43.

    Ignacy Pelc
  • Personnel of the 11th Polish Signals Battalion in Italy, 1944.

    Ignacy Pelc
  • Kapral (Corporal) Ignacy Pelc, near the end of his Second World War service, 1945.

    Ignacy Pelc
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"It was strictly for the correspondence on a bigger scale, like for instance, Underground Army in Poland, and the Polish government in London."

Transcript

We came from Siberia on down south to join the Polish people, or Army, in joining in the south, in the southern part of Russia, used to be an SSR [Soviet Socialist Republic] there, and Tashkent [Uzbekistan], not that far from Tashkent. I tried to get into the army, but I wasn’t old enough and even my figure was kind of small and skinny; and I couldn’t join the army, so they pushed me to the [Polish] Young Soldiers [Battalion]. A bunch of us from Palestine, young soldiers, they were sending us to different type of schools. So I joined the school of Signal Corps. So 180 of us Young Soldiers [had] been sent to the Mina Camp, which located was four kilometres from the Pyramids. And we were learning about the signals and Morse Code, and any kind of exercise, motorcycles, like young soldiers were doing. I went to Italy with the [II Polish Corps] of the Polish Army from Middle East; and from there, they sent me to the special unit. It [was] called Base 11 [11th Polish Signals Battalion], Signal Corps, but it was strictly for the correspondence on a bigger scale, like for instance, Underground Army in Poland, and the Polish government in London. And even we were making contact with the [General Dragoljub "Draža"] Mihailović army in Yugoslavia. So everything was secret. Telegram was sent or received because there wasn’t any open letter or things like that, only the Morse Code, only. From our place, unit, it was a diversion unit... They were jumping our soldiers, special into the Polish mainland to the Polish Underground Army. And they making a connection them, and we correspond with the Underground Army in Poland. When the, close to the end of the war, actually it was 1944, when the Russians come to the border of the Vistula River, and they stopped. They didn’t move farther and the uprising in Warsaw began. So we were sending a lot of materials like guns and ammunitions, and all kinds of things that dropping into the Warsaw place where there Warsaw Uprising was there. And we were corresponding with the Underground Army when the Russians come. When they stopped us to correspond with the, because the Russians were coming, became a little suspicion that we…They didn’t like us Polish people. There was no connection between [Soviet Premier Joseph] Stalin and the government, and the Underground government in London. So that was the end of our correspondence with the Underground Army in Poland. It was important maybe what I was doing. I mean, I had 100s like for that 100 letters per minute, on the Morse Code, received. Like for instance, like a telegram was sent, either there was a letter or the numbers. And everything was coded. Everything was coded. There was nothing open because there was very important messages went by, through.
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