Joining Anders Army
28th Infantry Regiment
3 Apr 1942 - 7 May 1942
Although I did not know it at the time, a soldier who kept a diary of his travels would one day, after my death, publish it on something called "the internet". He would become very well known amongst those researching this time period and it would be his diary that , in 2018, would help my grandson Jason (that I will have in 30 years time) work out my life story from around 1942.
This soldier who kept the diary is Francis Rymaszewski, he arrived 4 days before me, on 26 February 1942. His story and mine will be intertwined until I reach the UK.
1st March 1942
Last night I slept on the cold ground at the camp in Lugavoya, there is a shortage of tents and it is also very cold here, worse yet during the day the snow melts a little and the ground turns into a muddy mess.
2nd March 1942
Today I queued for a long time to see the Polish Draft Board. I joined the famous General Anders Army! I am now assigned to the 28th Infantry Regiment (Part of the 10th division).
My old unit, 24 Pulk Pichoty (42nd Infantry Regiment) was now dissolved, that belonged to those far away days of a Polish army being based in Poland. This new Polish army was based in Russia and the 28th Infantry Regiment was the vehicle through which we would fight our way back to a free Poland.
So this is almost 6 months from my release date to being formally recorded as having joined Anders army.
This regiment is only a month old and although the men are half starved, suffering from malnutrition, lice and many other diseases, they are full of spirit now that we are free men.
The Commander of the 10th Division is Col. Szmit (Schmid) and the Commander of the 28th Infantry Reg.: Lieutenent Col. Henryk Borowik.
3rd March 1942
Today was a blessed day! I got issued with a new army uniform and lovely new leather boots. My old uniform had seen better days, it was 3 years old, I had gotten it in 1939 when I was with 42 Infantry Regiment in Bialystok, Poland.
I wont miss my old uniform, it was falling apart, ripped, smelly and full of lice. It is uplifting to once again wear warm, comfortable clothes, I feel respectable once again.
I went for a walk today. Nearby there was a civilian camp full of women and children. We thought we had it bad but it turns out they have no food at all. I was warned by someone there to stay away as dysentery, typhus and malaria were rampant in the camp.
I was also told that local cemeteries in Kazakhstan could not keep up with burying the dead. Us Poles had made it this far and we were dropping like flies from disease.
Training In Kazakhstan
Whilst we were stationed at Lugavoye, we took some time to recover from the depletion of our strength in the Gulags. Although we had little food, some strength and stamina did return and so we performed basic training in Kazakhstan.
We did this without weapons though, for we had none and were awaiting the British Army supplying these to us.