Major Stanisław Janusz Sosabowski
A Personalised CV Of My Father Dr. Major Stanisław Janusz
by Stan Sosabowski
6th January 1917
Born in Brno in the Czechoslovak Republic. Father - Stanisław Franciszek
an officer in the Imperial Austrian Army was convalescing from his war
wounds. At that time Austria was one of the 4 Central Powers in World
War I together with Prussia 'Turkey' and Bulgaria. Mother - Maria nee
Following the treaty of Versailles Poland becomes a nation state once
more and its name reappears on all European maps. The family returns as
Polish Citizens and settle in the Warsaw suburb of Zoliborz
Your younger brother Jacek is born
Attend the Adam Mickiewicz High School in Warsaw one of the best known
in the capital.
Your Report for the Academic Year 1929-1930 reads “excelled in Religion
and Classroom Behaviour, good in History Geography and Physical Education
and satisfactory in the remaining 6 subjects”
You leave with a Baccalaureate in Humanities.
You successfully pass the stiff entrance exam to the Military Medical
Academy [SPS - Szkola Podchorazy Sanitarna] and become a Cadet Officer.You
enroll as a student at the Faculty of Medicine, Josef Pilsudski University,
Warsaw. From nine to five you are a studious carefree undergraduate albeit
in uniform. Come evening it is back to barracks for drill discipline and
8th November 1938
Your brother dies tragically. He was barely 16
The start of World War II. As Senior Cadet Sergeant you are assigned to
the staff of the 1st Regional Hospital Powaski in charge of Hospital Evacuation
Train No.2 transporting wounded to the East.The Luftwaffe blows up the
train and everyone escapes as best they can. Reassigned to the 2nd Company
Railway Engineers as Medical Officer. Promoted to 2nd Lieutenant Regular
Army Medical Corps. In October, Warsaw capitulates.After 2 days you escape
from the German Prisoner of War Camp at Zyrardow together with your father.Try
on 2 occasions to flee Poland unsuccessfully.
You find work as an assistant at the Surgical Isolation Ward Ujazdowski
Hospital Warsaw. The ideal cover. Continue your medical studies.Join the
Underground Army - the ZWZ (The Armed Resistance Movement). Platoon member
" Workshop" then "Factory" finally platoon leader
"Tower". You have part exchanged your scalpel and stethoscope
for a Sten gun and a Thompson submachine gun. This is your patriotic duty
your destiny. But passive small arms training is not for you, you seek
action and risk. So you transfer to TOW/ Kedyw (Kierownitstwa Dywersji)
Section Commander - Special Operations Executive - known also as Andrew's
Group or Kolegium A.You lead your band of 30 freedom fighters in a number
of acts of sabotage diversion and execution.Your First Steps - Gdansk
Railway Station, where goods trains on their way to the Russian front
were routinely disabled. Sand with carborundum went into their lubrication
box. When laden with trucks a Thermite bomb under the bonnet or a floating
detonator in the petrol tank assured a great blaze somewhere down the
21st January 1943
The Gniewkowska Street Operation.You and 2 other group members just walked
into this industrial fuel storage depot in the Wola district.With only
a single guard to take care of [!] two explosive devices placed on the
giant cisterns. The patrol left expecting a magnificent firework display.
They got nothing. The devices had not worked. One open valve one match,
that's all! What a shame! - a valuable lesson for the future.
31st July 1943
A Second Chance! An 8 strong motorized patrol forced their way into the
now well guarded fuel storage depot. Neutralizing the 7 guards, 2 reservoirs
were mined and all the outlet valves opened. The petroleum lake was set
alight just before exiting. This time 1.4 million liters fuel and 20 tons
of lubricating oil went up. The inferno could be seen for miles around.
20th August 1943
The Palmiry Attack. The plan - to eliminate The German Military Police
Guardhouse in the village just North of Warsaw. The 30 strong team had
a 7km march along rough forest paths to their objective. After about one
hour 2 bursts of Thompson machine gun fire heard. An fatal misunderstanding
between groups cost 2 people their lives. Attack cancelled.
26th August 1943
The Czacki Street Operation. A further attempt to destroy the duplicate
Identity Cards held at the Labour Office at this address. Andrew's group
was to secure escape routes. Strangely, just before the start, the fire
alarm raised and the building evacuated ! Also a 5 strong German foot
patrol suddenly came up the street and a
shoot out began. Commander "Onufry" killed. Operation abandoned.
In retrospect the Germans must have known. But how? There was but one
explanation - betrayal!
27th September 1943
The Zalesie Derailment. Midnight. An army goods train on the Warsaw -
Radom line derailed using 1kg plastic explosive and detonator. The train
machine gunned, vehicles and wagons set on fire with petrol bombs while
the rails mined - a surprise for the locomotive in the subsequent salvage
operation. 27 people took part.
24th October 1943
The Plochocina Derailment. The nightly Wolkowysk - Warsaw - Berlin Express
taking Wehrmacht soldiers back home on leave from the Russian front was
derailed. The train strafed with machine guns and grenades and heavy fire
returned.After 8 minutes everyone withdrew. No casualties.30 people took
4th December 1943
The Skruda Derailment. The night express troop train on the Warsaw - Siedlice
line transporting Wehrmacht soldiers to the Eastern front derailed but
remained standing. The wagons machine gunned and grenaded. When the Germans
woke up and began returning fire it was time to blow the whistle and pull
out. 25 people took part. 1 fatality.
Late December 1943
Szomanski's Propeller Factory Bonfire. A one-man risk free sortie so you
take along a liaison lady with you. You crawl under the fence into the
factory. Raw wood everywhere you leave 2 Thermite bombs and a grenade
and scare off the guard dog with kerosene. A quarter of the stock goes
up in smoke.
Early January 1944
The Execution of "The Young Lady". The nickname of the hansom
NCO Schultz of the German Railway Police renowned for his cruelty to civilians.A
"Wehrmacht" soldier [Kolumb] caught a "thief " [Antek]
and brought him to the Guardhouse. Reaching for his ID the thief shot
Schultz while the soldier dealt with the other occupants of the room with
his machine gun. You arrived via the rear entrance with backup. Left with
loads of loot guns ammunition and grenades but the building itself remained
19th January 1944
The Attempted Execution of Herr E. Durfeld.Director of the Warsaw Tramway
Service Party Member and responsible for many arrests. Surprisingly he
always took the same route to work and always at the same time. At 8.50
a 4- man team ambush his car with grenade and machine guns but only his
hurt. Soon afterwards transferred back home.
The Ultra Secret Transport of Home Army Funds Your 3 man patrol was to
drive to a Warsaw square. After an excruciating 2 hour wait the Home Army
treasurer Leszcz got into your Opel. He drove. Further on two more people
got in with enormous sacks. Still further on all the passengers got out
with their baggage. The new hideaway at last.
The Speissa Pharmaceutical Firm Requisition. Everyone assembled as usual
just before dusk and curfew. The front men in SS uniform. Then into the
truck and off for action to Bielany across the Vistula. At the main gate
a "Quick Open" in German was enough to gain entry. Then the
telephones the siren locking up personnel and owners and posting guards.
Now the real work loading the truck and a confiscated lorry with products.
At 3 O'clock tea break!. At 600 hours end of curfew the motorcade could
begin its careful ride back to be discharged.
15th May 1944
The Execution of Lasso and 3 Associates. The suspicion was that Andrew's
group had a traitor, and the evidence pointed to Lasso. A Special Civilian
Court passed death sentence on 2 associates.The sentences were carried
out whilst all were out walking discussing "tactics" with Andrew.The
men were Lasso from Kedyw, Marian Szwed from the Criminal Police, Leon
Miller his close colleague and Ryzy a former SOE commander turned bank
robber.A two man hit team [you and Kolumb] eliminated 3 men immediately.
But Szwed escaped down the road firing both his pistols only to stopped
dead by a backup with 30 rounds from a Sten.
1st August 1944
Operation TEMPEST - the Warsaw Uprising. The unbelievably brave attempt
by the Home Army to wrest and keep control of Warsaw from the retreating
German Army. It was a forlorn effort. It was doomed from the start. An
ill equipped and unprepared gung ho band of zealous patriots fighting
alone and unaided against 8 German divisions 4 panzer. The post war map
of Poland had long since been drawn up. After liberation by Soviet forces
Poland was once more to become a nation state with new frontiers. And
free elections had been promised. But this was doublespeak. The Iron Curtain
was coming down. Stalin's terror and purges would ensure Soviet Communist
domination for the next 45 years. Poland is again duped by false promises.
1700 Hrs: First objective - The Customs Building- Stawki StreetIt was
to be a combined assault of over 200 soldiers but the cavalry arrived
much too late to be of help. Your platoon of 68 storm and take possession
of the Building and the Waffen SS storage depot - 6 halls crammed full
of food clothing and other wondrous treasures. Continue with an assault
on the school next door liberating 50 Jewish prisoners held there. Only
one serious casualty - a marvel. 1 week later many of the same group would
die trying to retake this very same objective.? What folly!
2nd August 1944
Change of venue. Ordered to join forces with colonel" Radoslaw "
you march to the Wola district. 2 Tiger tanks one in tow crash into the
street barricade. When the tow breaks both crews surrender! 2 nurses join
your group. One of them is Krystyna Debska Sosabowska your wife! Lucky
4th August 1944
Battalion "Umbrella" attacks a well defended school. You are
badly wounded in the face.Your fighting days are over. After surgery you
find yourself in the St.Lazarus Hospital Wola with Krystyna at your side.
Alerted she drags you out and bundles you into the road as an SS execution
squad combs the building killing everyone in sight.
Your second close shave with death. You still have unfinished business
on this earth.
Flown to Scotland through the intervention of your father the then Maj.
General Stanisław Sosabowski CBE at the War Office. Despite strenuous
efforts it was too late to save your sight.
Your non identical twin sons Maciej and Stanisław are born in Tarnow,
Poland. (In England they became known as Michael and Stanley)
Demobilized - you join St.Dunstan's the organization for blinded ex-servicemen.
Your sons arrive on English soil. They had somehow managed to get on a
passenger boat " The Stephan Batory " and sail to Southampton
together with nanny! ! Family life begins at 68 Bellevue Road Ealing,
Now a war refugee you have to restart your life. Physiotherapist then
Assistant Superintendent Physiotherapy, Hillingdon Hospital, Hillingdon
In those days the Physiotherapy Dept was a long wooden Nissan hut with
rows of curtained cubicles running alongside the walls. The hard realities
of life mean getting up very early and journeying 1.5 hours by bus and
trolley bus to your place of work. You also run a private practice from
You remarry Helena Anna Bastgen [Hania] and move to a beautiful listed
mansion in Woodstock Road, Bedford Park an exclusive London residential
area. Hania gives you your freedom your security, a new lease of life,
in short everything! What a marvelous woman!
Six months' internship at Hillingdon Hospital lead to the recognition
of your Polish Medical Diploma by the British Medical Council. A very
rare event indeed in the annals of British Medical history. You may at
last practice medicine if you so wish.Your father " the general"
dies of heart problems and is buried with military honours in the family
grave in the Warsaw Military Cemetery Powaski.
Stop full-time work because of failing health. A heart attack is a warning
signal that you have to take life a little easier.
You retire to a small country cottage near Bournmouth in Dorset next to
the New Forest. You take up archery and become an accomplished bowman
As member of the St. Dunstan's team you are invited to compete in the
ground's of Buckingham palace. You take part in Remembrance ceremonies
in Holland Poland and Scotland commemorating your father founder and Commanding
Officer the First Polish Independent Paratroop Brigade during World War
II.When your beloved cuddly cat Kajtus dies the regal Siamese Leila takes
20th December 1996
Hania dies in Pool hospital. She had fought a long loosing battle with
the consequences of 60 years of heavy smoking. A great loss to you and
to everyone in the family.
At 83 you saw the Millenium in. Now just keep going.
You are a
- member of your local Home Army Association;
- member of the St Dunstan's Association and Archery Team;
- honorary member of the Parachute Regiment Association;
- member of the British Medical Association;
- member of the Charted Society of Physiotherapists;
- member of the Graduates' Association of the Warsaw Military Medical
You have been decorated with the following Polish Army medals;
- The Virtuti Militari Cross Class V; The Home Army Cross;
- The Cross of Valour [twice]; The Defense of Warsaw Cross;
- The 1939 September Campaign Cross; The Polish Army Medal
- And you have been awarded the Golden Badge of Merit of the First
Independent Polish Parachute Brigade and the title of " Righteous
" by the Israeli Authorities.
Pictures of Dr Major Stanisław