On 4 July 1943 an aircraft carrying General Wladyslaw Sikorski, Prime Minister of the Polish government in exile and commander of Polish Armed Forces, crashed shortly after take off from Gibraltar. Apart from the pilot all on board were killed. General Sikorski had been returning to Britain after visiting Polish troops in the Middle East. Speculation has persisted that the crash was not an accident and that the Soviet Union might have been responsible.
In November 2008 the body of General Sikorski was exhumed from its resting place in Wawel Cathedral, Krakow. An examination of the body was carried out to determine the cause of death. No evidence was found that he had been poisoned or shot. Forensic scientists concluded that he had died from injuries consistent with an aircraft crash.
Polish Officers at Newark
The bodies of three Polish officers, who were killed in the same plane crash, are to be exhumed from the Polish War graves cemetery at Newark, England. The officers concerned are:
The Polish website Gazeta Wyborcza reports that the exhumation is scheduled to take place on 3 December 2010. The bodies will be flown to Warsaw and then taken to the Department of Forensic Medicine in Cracow for examination.
Ewa Koj from Poland's Institute of National Remembrance said:
We expect the results to match those of General Sikorski but we have to exhaust all lines of inquiry and check all the evidence. [Daily Telegraph (UK) 25 November 2010]
The website NaszeMiasto.pl reports that a ceremonial burial of the officers will take place in Poland in mid-December.
The website TVP.info reports that the officers were exhumed at Newark on 2 December 2010. Their bodies were flown first to Warsaw and then to Krakow. [4 Dec 2010]
Polish Radio reports that Tadeusz Klimecki and Andrzej Marecki were buried in the Military Cemetery in Warsaw and that Jozef Ponikiewski [Polish Radio] was buried in a separate location. [9 Dec 2010]
Could bodies exhumed from Notts cemetery solve wartime mystery of Polish leader's death?, Nottingham Post (UK) 15 December 2010
Ponikiewski was buried in Oporów (English Translation), Ponikiewski zostal pochowany w Oporowie (Polish), PolskieRadio.pl 9 December 2010
Funeral of Two Officers (English Translation), Pogrzeb dwóch oficerów Sikorskiego (Polish), PolskieRadio.pl 9 December 2010
Autopsies of victims of the disaster in Gibraltar, TVP.info (Poland) 4 December 2010
The remains of the victims of Gibraltar in Kraków, TVP.info (Poland) 4 December 2010
Officers will carry out the exhumation of the remains of General Sikorski, NaszeMiasto (Poland) 26 November 2010
MoD approves exhumation of Polish soldiers to solve mystery of General Sikorski's death, Daily Telegraph (UK) 25 November 2010
Poland's wartime leader General Sikorski 'not victim of foul play', Daily Telegraph (UK) 29 January 2009
Britain and Russia accused as corpse of General Wladyslaw Sikorski is exhumed for tests, The Times (UK) 26 November 2008
This page was added on 27 November 2010. Updated on 16 December 2010.