Tadeusz Walenty Pełczyński
Patron of the Foreign Intelligence Agency’s Training Facility
Brig. Gen. Tadeusz Pełczyński,
a.k.a. Tadeusz Pawłowski
“Adam”, “Alois”, “Grzegorz”, “Robak”, “Rolski”, “Wolf”
(1892 – 1985)
Tadeusz Walenty Pełczyński, born on February 14, 1892 in Warsaw, great-grandson of Brigadier General Michał Pełczyński (1775 – 1833), a member of the Kościuszko Uprising, army officer of the Duchy of Warsaw and the Kingdom of Poland. He was the son of Ksawery (technician) and Maria née Liczbińska (home teacher).
He attended a secondary school in Łowicz (a participant of a school strike in 1905) and General Paweł Chrzanowski Middle School in Warsaw. After receiving his high school diploma in 1911, he began his studies at the Faculty of Medicine of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, where he completed five semesters until the outbreak of the First World War. During his study years he was a member of the “Pet” (“Future”) National Youth Organization and “Zet” Polish Youth Union from 1907 (in the years 1912-1913 a member of “Zet”’s Centralisation) and a member of the Riflemen’s Union from October to December 1912. In 1913 he became the commander of the “Freelancer” organization, which in October 1913 became a part of the “Falcon”’s Field Teams, where he completed an 8-week military course. After the outbreak of World War I, he was mobilized in Włocławek to the German army, where he served for half a year.
From July 1915 he served in the 6th Infantry Regiment of the Polish Legions of Józef Piłsudski. Appointed as Corporal in August, platoon sergeant in October and warrant officer with seniority of November 11 (first officer rank promotion). Initially, he commanded a platoon, and from August 1916 – a company (after the death of warrant officer Józef Skrzyński in the battle of Kostiuchnówka). He was promoted to the rank of second lieutenant with seniority of July 1, 1916. From May 1917 he attended the training course No. 6 in Zambrów, from where he returned to his regiment in July. In the same month after the oath crisis he was interned in the camp in Benjaminowo. He stayed there until March 1918, and then took up a job in the Main Welfare Council in Warsaw, while studying at the Faculty of Law at the University of Warsaw.
In the independent Second Republic of Poland, he served in the Polish Army from November 1918 and was formally accepted as a lieutenant by decree of the Commander-in-Chief on December 2. Initially, he was the commander of the 1st Company and the deputy commander of the 1st Battalion of the 6th Infantry Regiment of the Legions. Together with his regiment, he took part in the Polish-Bolshevik war in battles on the Lithuanian-Belarusian front from April. After completing the application course for battalion commanders in Rembertów (September – November 1919) and being promoted to the rank of captain with seniority of December 1, 1919, he took the position of commander of the 22nd class, and in January 1920 – Commander of the Second School Battalion at the Infantry Officer Cadet School in Ostrów Mazowiecka.
He was appointed Major with seniority of April 1 of the same year (along with Stefan Rowecki). During his studies at the Higher War School in Warsaw (1921-1923) he was a member of the Honor and Homeland” secret organization”, also known as “The Watchtower”, which was dissolved in July 1923. After graduating from the Higher War School (taking the fifth place), he returned to the position of commander of the school battalion at the Infantry Officer Cadet School.
In September 1924 he was assigned to the Office of the Inner War Council. There he was successively a clerk, the head of the cover department and, from December 1926 to March 1927, he was the head of the “East” Department. During the May coup in 1926, he took the side of Marshal Józef Piłsudski and for a few days he was an operational officer in the headquarters of the Brig-Gen. Gustaw Orlicz-Dreszer’s Group. He was appointed Lieutenant Colonel with seniority of January 1, 1927, from March of the same year he was the Head of the Records Department II in Branch II and from February 1929 to December 1931 he was the Head of the Branch II of the Main Staff.
In the years 1927-1929, he was also a member of the editorial office of “Military Review” (Przegląd Wojskowy), whose editor-in-chief was Lieutenant Colonel Stefan Rowecki. At the same time, from 1928 to 1934, he was a member of the Supreme Council of the Union of Seniors of the National Youth Organisation and the Union of Polish Democratic Youth.
From March 1932 he commanded the 5th Infantry Regiment of the Legions in Vilnius (promoted to the rank of Colonel with seniority of January 1, 1934), from September 1935 to October 1938 he was again the Head of the Division of the 2nd Main Staff (but until January 1939 he transferred his duties to his successor, Colonel Marian Józef Smoleński). At that time, he also participated in the work of the Committee for Nationalities at the Prime Minister’s Office. At the same time, from 1936 he was a deputy commander of the 6th Infantry Regiment of the Polish Legions, and from 1938 he was a member of the Supreme Command of the Polish Legionnaries Union.
From January 1939, he commanded the infantry division of the 19th Infantry Division, also during the September Campaign. In the second half of September, he fought in the back of the German army at the head of an independent grouping, which was dissolved by him on October 2 near Żelichów.
After the end of the war, he came to Warsaw and settled with his family at 32 Rozbrat Street.
From October 1939, he operated in the underground in the Service for the Victory of Poland (SVP) – Union of Armed Struggle (UAS) – Home Army (HA), initially in Warsaw, and from November – in Lublin (without a specific allocation).
When, on June 24, 1940, mass arrests took place in Lublin (the Germans captured 814 men, including several connected with the Lublin District Command of the UAS), the Commandant General Stefan Rowecki “Grot” dismissed Major Józef Spychalski “Socha” as “Too well recognized by the Gestapo” and in July 1940 appointed Pełczyński as his successor. In fact, he was the commander of the Lublin District of the Union of Armed Struggle (UAS) in absentia, directing the district from Warsaw. He used the “cover” surname “Tadeusz Pawłowski, engineer” and used such pseudonyms as “Adam”, “Alois”, “Rolski” and “Wolf”.
Relatively quickly deciphered by the German security authorities, he was dismissed from the position of commander of the Lublin District in March-April.
After the arrest of Colonel Janusz Albrecht (July 7) he was appointed as Chief of Staff of the Union of Armed Struggle – Home Army’s Headquarters in August 1941, of which the Home Army Commander General Stefan Rowecki “Grot” informed the Polish authorities in London with a message dated May 28, 1942. He used the pseudonym “Grzegorz” at that time; later, he used the pseudonym “Robak”. From that moment and until the end of the Warsaw Uprising, Pełczyński was the number 2 in the Home Army hierarchy. This was confirmed by the fact that he was appointed deputy of Home Army Commander General Tadeusz Komorowski “Bór”; by virtue of the order Ref. No. 975 of September 10, 1943 (about which the Home Army Commander informed the Polish authorities in London with a telegram of October 15 of the same year). From that time on, he held both functions – Chief of Staff of the Main Headquarters (until September 4, 1944) and Deputy Commander of the Home Army (until October 5, 1944).
He was appointed Brigadier General by order of the Commander-in-Chief General Kazimierz Sosnkowski of 24 November 1943 with seniority of October 1, 1943.
During the Warsaw Uprising he stayed together with the Home Army Commander and the Home Army Headquarters initially in Wola, then in the Old Town and later in the city centre. After passing through the sewers to Żoliborz, he voluntarily commanded the second attack in the area of the Gdansk Railway Station and Stawki in the night of 21/22 August, aimed at connecting the Old Town and Żoliborz. On August 22nd he returned to the Old Town, and on August 28th he went to Żoliborz again and watched another attempt to connect with the Old Town. Heavily wounded in his jaw during the bombardment of the PKO building at 9 Jasna Street, at the corner of Świętokrzyska Street (headquarters of the Home Army Headquarters) on September 4, despite the wound, he remained Deputy Commander of the Home Army (first, the function of Chief of Staff of the Home Army Headquarters was assumed by Colonel Józef Szostak and then by Brigade General Leopold Okulicki).
On October 5, 1944, together with the Home Army Commander, he accepted the parade of Home Army units leaving for captivity. From that day on he was in German captivity in Langwasser Oflag (where he underwent an operation that saved his life) and from February 1945 in Colditz Oflag. After being released from captivity by American troops (May 5, 1945), he went to London through Paris.
From May 1945 he remained at the disposal of the Ministry of National Defence. From August to October 1945, he was Head of the Cabinet of the Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Armed Forces General Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski; from November 1945 to December 1946 he was the Chairman of the Historical Committee of the Home Army at the Main Staff in London, then he was at the disposal of the Chief of Staff. Demobilized in March 1947, he served in the Polish Resettlement and Deployment Corps until March 1949.
While in exile in London, he worked as a manual labourer, and in the years 1950-1958 as the first manager of “Antokol” (retirement home for senior citizens of the émigré intelligentsia) in Beckenham near London.
He was the Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Home Army Soldiers’ Circle, established in December 1945, and from the time of the first Congress of Delegates of the Home Army Soldiers’ Circle in March 1947 he was its member and from 1956 – its Vice-Chairman, and after the death of T. Komorowski – the Chairman of its Supreme Council in 1966-1974 and then its honorary chairman.
In February 1947, he was a co-founder and then, until 1982 – the First Chairman of the Board (later honorary Chairman), and at the same time in the years 1949-1966 – Vice-Chairman and in the years 1966-1969 – Chairman of the Polish Underground Movement Study Trust in London. He was an anonymous co-author of the 3rd volume of The Home Army, a multivolume work by the Polish Armed Forces in the Second World War (London 1950), he also headed the Editorial Committee of The Home Army in documents 1939-1945 (vol. l-5, London 1970-1981). It was him who, after the death of Major General Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski, awarded the first Home Army Cross decorations in London on August 15 ,1967.
From 1950 he was a member of the Council of the Józef Piłsudski Institute in London, and a member of the National Council of the Republic of Poland in 1973-1979.
He died on January 3, 1985 in London.
He was buried in the Gunnersbury Cemetery in London. After his exhumation, his and wife Wanda’s ashes were buried on November 10, 1995 next to their son Krzysztof in the “Baszta” regiment’s section in the Municipal (former Military) Cemetery in Powązki in Warsaw.
He was awarded the Cross of Valour six times (four times in 1922, twice in 1944), the V class (1921) and IV class (September 28, 1944) Order of War Virtuti Militari, Gold Cross of Merit (1928), the Officer’s Cross Polonia Restituta, the Cross of Independence (1931), and posthumously -the Order of the White Eagle (decision of the President of the Republic of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski of November 11, 1996).
His wife (wedding on August 30, 1923), Wanda Izabela Pełczyńska née Filipkowska (1894-1976), was born on 6 January 1894 in Puerto Rico. She studied Polish philology at the Jagiellonian University. She was a member of the Polish Shooting Teams (a graduate of the non-commissioned officer course, commander of the women’s sanitary unit), from 1914 was a courier of the First Brigade of the Polish Legions, and during the Polish-Bolshevik war from 1919 was a courier commander of the Lithuanian-Belarusian Front and then the head of the Department of Educational Instructors at the General Command of the Polish Army.
In the independent Second Republic of Poland she edited “Ivy” (“Bluszcz”) and “Contemporary Woman” (“Kobieta Współczesna”), at the same time she co-edited “Young Mother” (“Młoda matka”). She was the godmother of the transatlantic liner M.S. “Piłsudski” (launched on December 19, 1934). Member of the Polish Parliament in the term of 1935-1938. In the underground, she was in the Union of Armed Struggle in Vilnius, imprisoned by the NKVD (1940-1941), then she was active in the Office of Information and Propaganda, and from 1943 in the 7th (financial) Branch of the Home Army Headquarters. Participant of the Warsaw Uprising. After the dissolution of the Home Army (January 1945), she headed the care cell for the families of Home Army soldiers.
While in exile in London, she was the organizer and from 1946 – the First Chairman of the Polish Women’s Union in Exile, a long-time member of the Józef Piłsudski Institute in London, and from 1963 – a member of the Council of National Unity.
She died on 5 September 1976 in London.
She was awarded, among others, the V class Virtuti Militari War Order, the Cross of Independence with Swords, the Officer’s Cross Polonia Restituta, and the Home Army Cross.
Their son, lieutenant cadet Krzysztof Pełczyński “Kasztan” (“Chestnut”) (1924-1944), born December 31, 1924 in Warsaw, student of the Faculty of Architecture at the secret Warsaw University of Technology, graduate of the third substitutive course at the Infantry Reserves Officer Cadet School, in the Warsaw Uprising commander of the B-3 company of the “Bałtyk” battalion of the Home Army “Baszta” regiment, seriously wounded on August, 1, died of wounds on August 17, 1944.
Their daughter, Maria Izabela Pełczyńska, married name Bobrowska (1929-1991), born on August 13, 1929 in Warsaw, a Home Army soldier, architect, in exile member of the London Branch of the Home Army Soldiers’ Circle and the Home Army Foundation Council, and a long-time member of the Council for Underground Polish Studies. She died on December 25, 1991 in London.
Maria was married to Andrzej Krzysztof Bobrowski (1925-2002), a Home Army soldier, twice wounded in the Warsaw Uprising, an officer of the Second Polish Corps, a sculptor in exile, a designer of the Home Army Cross (established on August 1, 1966) and many medals, the Chairman of the London Division of the Home Army Soldiers’ Circle, the originator of the Home Army website, who died on May 31, 2002 in London.
Andrzej’s father was Colonel Ignacy Bobrowski (1890-1965), officer of the Polish Army in the independent Second Republic of Poland, chief inspector in the State Office of Physical Education and Military Training, participant in the September 1939 campaign, interned in Lithuania and imprisoned in the USSR from 1940. From 1941 he was the commander of the 27th Infantry Regiment of the Polish Army in the USSR, in the years 1942-1945, the first commander of the Junatic Schools and the School of Younger Volunteers of the Polish Army in the East, in the years 1945-1946 the commander of the Polish Barletta-Trani Centre in Italy. He died on November 1, 1965 in London.
Andrzej’s elder brother, Zbigniew Bobrowski (1922-1943), participated in the September Campaign of 1939 and was a Home Army soldier. He was arrested by the Germans on July 9, 1943 in a “boiler” in Poznańska Street in Warsaw and died when he jumped out of the fifth floor onto the pavement to warn his friends.
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- Franciszek Miszczak, T. Pełczyński wierny żołnierz R.P., „Jutro Polski”, Londyn, 31 I 1985, nr 1;
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- Andrzej Romanowski, Ryszard Terlecki, Pełczyńscy, „Tygodnik Powszechny”, Kraków, 17 III 1985, nr 11;
- Jan Pełczyński, Tadeusz Pełczyński (list do redakcji), „Tygodnik Powszechny”, Kraków, 26 V 1985, nr 21;
- Katarzyna Piasecka-Strużak, (list do redakcji bez tytułu), „Tygodnik Powszechny”, Kraków, 26 V 1985, nr 21;
- Halina Zakrzewska, Wspomnienie o „Grzegorzu”, „Więź”, Warszawa, I 1986, nr 1;
- Andrzej Krzysztof Kunert, Słownik biograficzny konspiracji warszawskiej 1939-1944, t.2, Warszawa 1987, s. 143-146 (tamże bibliografia);
- Zbigniew Mierzwiński, Generałowie II Rzeczypospolitej, l, Warszawa 1990, s.209-213 (artykuł biograficzny);
- Tadeusz Kryska-Karski, Stanisław Żurakowski, Generałowie Polski Niepodległej, 2 uzupełnione i poprawione, Warszawa 1991, s.144;
- Wojciech Baliński, bryg. Tadeusz Pełczyński (1892-1985) (z cyklu Przywracani pamięci), „Polska Zbrojna”, Warszawa, 15 II 1993, nr 31;
- Maciej Sobieraj, Tadeusz Walenty Pełczyński, [w:] Słownik biograficzny miasta Lublina, pod redakcja Tadeusza Radzika i innych, t.l, Lublin 1993, s.211-212 (tamże bibliografia);
- Franciszek Sadurski, Tadeusz Pełczyński. Wspomnienie, „Gazeta Wyborcza”, Warszawa, 4 VIII 1994;
- Wojciech Baliński, Człowiek w cieniu. Tadeusz Pełczyński. Zarys biografii, Kraków 1994;
- Ireneusz Caban, Ludzie Lubelskiego Okręgu Armii Krajowej, Lublin 1995, s.133-134 (nota biograficzna);
- ZET w walce o niepodległość i budowę państwa. Szkice i wspomnienia, pod redakcją Tadeusza W. Nowackiego i innych, Warszawa 1996, s.556-557 (nota biograficzna);
- Zdzisław Nicman, Tadeusz Pełczyński. Wspomnienie w 15. rocznicę odejścia, „Gazeta Wyborcza”, Warszawa, 14 I 2000, nr 11;
- Wiktor Cygan, Oficerowie Legionów Polskich 1914-1917. Słownik biograficzny, 4, Warszawa 2006, s.34-36 (tamże bibliografia).