The 1st Independent Polish Parachute Brigade
(1 Samodzielna Brygada Spadochronowa)
Ship No 9 (Wave 1)
This was the night of the terrible storm in which one ship set sail, it's rudder was ripped off in the middle of the Caspian Sea and a replacement ship came to it's rescue with the passengers transferring to the replacement ship. Everything about this case is contradictory and as yet little sense can be made of it!
These were two of the official ships (unofficial flotillas of fishing boats were also involved) organised by Stalin in 1942 at Krasnovodsk (Russian: Красноводск) (Modern day Türkmenbaşy) to transport Polish exiles (also mistakenly called "deportees") who had been held captive in Siberia/Kazakhstan labour camps over the Caspian Sea to Pahlevi (Pahlavi) now called Banzar-e Anzali which is in modern day Northwest Iran.
From passenger testimonies & any other available data this is a "best educated guess" of the ships movements.
Movements Of Ship & How These Were Established:
- Ship Name (departed Krasnovodsk):
- Embark: x | Time:
- Depart: 27/03/42 | Time: 14:00 hrs (Antoni Chroscielewski)
Ship was storm damaged (rudder) during the night on: x
Drifted for 3 days: Date x to date y
- Replacement Ship: Agamali Ogly (Antoni Chroscielewski)
- Depart: 27/03/42 | Time: 14:00 hrs (Antoni Chroscielewski) (Ship X the one whose rudder broke and spent circa 3 days drifting)
- Arrive: 01/04/42 (Ross report) | Time:
Extract From "The Ross Report"
According to the Ross Report, here is who was on this ship;
- A World Apart - Gustaw Herling-Grudziński P240 & P241 - "On March 12th, in Lugovoye, I was accepted for the tenth regiment of light artillery ... The tenth division, containing almost entirely those most recently released from the camps and therefore the weakest and most undernourished prisoners, was the first to be evacuated to Persia from Russia. On March 26th my regiment was transported on a goods train through Dzambul, Arys, Tashkent, Dzizak, Samarkand, Bukhara, Tchardzhau and Ashkhabad, to Krasnovodsk on the Caspian Sea; on March 30th we embarked on two ships, the Agamali Ogly and the Turkmenistan. The night of April 2nd, 1942, I spent on the beach at Pahlevi .." (Editors Note: As ship 9 contained his unit, the 10th Light Artillery Regiment then ship 9 has to be the "AGAMALI OGLY"). This then makes one of the other boats that had embarking occur on March the 30th "THE TURKMENISTAN").
- Account Of Antoni Chroscielewski (3rd anti-aircraft artillery brigade, 10th Division) - Polish 10th Division formed in the USSR, March 1942: I got to a place called Lugowaja. ... There was a rallying point in Lugowaja, where the 10th Div. had formed. I was 16 years old…went to see the army commission and I was accepted into the Polish Army... After 4 weeks…evacuated us to Krasnowodsk and then further, to Iran.
- 10th Light Artillery Regiment: “March 25th Regiment left Lugowaja and March 31, embarked in Krasnovodsk on the ship Agamali Ogly".
- Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQUyIQjvyQE&feature=related (A video by Antoni Chroscielewski (3rd antiaircraft artillery brigade, 10th Division) translated by John Halucha) with a text account Here : "We came to Krasnowodsk by train, straight to the port…The ship was some kind of tanker, not a passenger ship, where about 4,000 to 5,000 people were packed onto the top deck, one beside another. It was a beautiful day, at the start, and everyone was ecstatic to at last be escaping that hell. The ship departed about 2 p.m (Editors Note: The Agamali Ogly was the ship he arrived in but not the one he departed on). The sea was very calm, but after awhile there were gentle long waves that you couldn't see, but we could start to feel it. Then fog arrived, and a storm started. Many of the people started to get sick. It turned out that there was no drinking water on the ship. After that salty soup and salted fish, after those herrings, there was no water. It was a tragedy, truly. The storm was so huge on this sea, the Caspian, that it was literally throwing the ship around. Water was flowing over the deck, where the people were, and several were probably washed overboard without anyone knowing about it. I had to run to the side every so often to be sick. If the ship had tilted and a wave came, I also would have been washed overboard since there was no way I could hold on the sort of barrier there. Unfortunately, the ship was damaged during the night, during the storm. The rudder was ripped off or something like that. We drifted on the Caspian Sea for about 3 days, without water, without anything. I had to endure the sun because there was no kind of shade, so you had to stay out in the sun. By the third day you didn't care if the ship would sink or not, a person was so exhausted. We even tried to haul up some water, from the sea, but that made for an even worse effect. It was not until the fourth day that a different ship drew up and we transferred to it - on the sea, on the very sea. We arrived at Pahlevi, Iran, on April 1, 1942. "
- Account Of Henry Kozubski - "March 26th, 10th Artillery leaves on freight cars to Krasnovodsk, stopping in Tashkent for quick baths...few days later arrive in Krasnovodsk.....get on an empty tanker and a days' passage were in Pahlevi (KS Anne Kaczanowska)."
- The Agamali Ogly was in Pahlevi on 28 March 1942 and due to return back to Krasnovodsk. However, the account of Antoni Chroscielewski states that he arrived in Pahlevi aboard the Agamali Ogly on April 1 1942. So it rather looks like the Agamali Ogly came out from Pahlevi and transferred to it the passengers from the ship with the broken rudder. The ship with the broken rudder would presumably be out of action for a long time (getting repaired) so in trying to identify what this ships name is we are looking for one that probably did crossings on prior dates but was not seen for a long time after this date. It also has to be capable of carrying this amount of passengers.