Monday, February 21, 2011

The Sikorski Monument, Gibraltar

1. Memorial to General Wladislaw Sikorski, Gibraltar
(When it was located on Devil's Tower Road)
[It was at this location 2003 - 2013]
2. The original commemorative plaque
[Its original location was in Gibraltar airport]
3. 60th anniversary commemorative plaque
[Unveiled by the Chief Minister of Gibraltar]
For additional information click on ‘Comments’ below

3 Comments:

Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information
(Article updated October 2013)

The plane crash at Gibraltar

On 4 July 1943, the aeroplane carrying General Wladislaw Sikorski (Prime Minister of Poland & Commander of the Free Polish Forces) crashed into the sea just after taking off from Gibraltar airport. All but one occupant of the plane – the pilot – were killed.

Not all the bodies of those who died in the crash were recovered. However, the body of General Sikorski was recovered from the sea.

After ‘lying in state’ at Gibraltar’s Catholic Cathedral General Sikorski’s body was returned to the U.K. and he was initially buried in the National Polish Military Cemetery in the Midlands. It was to be many years later – after Poland eventually obtained a freely elected government - that the mortal remains of General Sikorski were taken and re-interred in his Polish homeland.

Over the years there has been a number of ‘conspiracy theories’ surrounding General Sikorski’s death. Nevertheless, despite a full inquiry into the crash at the time and more than one post-mortem on General Sikorski's remains it has yet to be proven that the plane crash was anything other than a terrible accident.

After the war, Poland came under the Soviet sphere of influence behind the ‘Iron Curtain’. The loss of General Sikorski was a major drawback to the Polish cause for determining its own future in the post war period. Many of the Poles who had escaped or been released by the Soviets to fight for the Allied cause in the West did not return to live in Poland.

Some of the Polish forces who were had been released by the Soviets had also had their immediate families released at the same time. As often happens as a consequence of war many families were split up - some of them forever.
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Friday, 18 October, 2013  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

The Sikorski Memorial at Gibraltar

The Sikorski memorial at Gibraltar was originally situated on the airfield. Subsequently it was moved outside the airfield close the back where the plane came down. Then in 2003 it was moved to its present location adjacent to the main road between the North Front Cemetery and Catalan Bay.

The original inscription on the memorial is as follows:

“Near this spot GENERAL WLADYSLAW SIKORSKI Prime Minister of Poland and Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Forces lost his life in a flying accident on the 4th of July 1943.
He fought and died in the service of his country and for the common cause of all nations fighting for freedom.
NON OMNIS MORIAR”

On 4 July 2003, 60th anniversary of the accidental death of General Sikorski, a second memorial tablet was added with the following inscription:

“This plaque was unveiled by the Hon. Peter R. Caruana Q.C., Chief Minister of Gibraltar, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the death of GENERAL WLADYSLAW SIKORSKI, Prime Minister of Poland and Commander-in-Chief of Polish Forces.
4th July 2003”
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I have posted this item as it may be of interest particularly to any members of the site with an interest in the part played by Poland during WW2. Strange as it may seem for someone of General Sikorski’s importance in the history of the Second World War this was a relatively modest memorial in a rather inconspicuous corner of Gibraltar (i.e. in front of a garage workshop).

The main part of the memorial is one of the damaged propellers from the aircraft in which General Sikorski and those travelling with him lost their lives. There is another memorial remembering General Sikorski inside Gibraltar's Catholic Cathedral where, as stated above, he lay in state before his body was transferred to Britain.
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Friday, 18 October, 2013  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Relocation of the memorial to a more fitting location

In 2013 the Gibraltar Sikorski Memorial was relocated to a more conspicuous and fitting location at Euorpa Point, Gibraltar. It was re-dedicated at this new location in July 2013, the 70th anniversary of the accident in which General Sikorski and most of his travelling companions were killed.

To read an article about the re-dedicated Sikorski Memorial at Gibraltar, including photographs of it at Europa Point, click on the following link:

Sikorski's Memorial at Europa Point, Gibraltar

To read an article about the Sikorski Memorial inside Gibraltar's Roman Catholic Cathedral, click on the following link:

Sikorski Memorial, Gibraltar's Catholic Cathedral
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Friday, 18 October, 2013  

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