|JULIAN MORAWSKI, A SON OF POLAND, HAS DIED by Edmund Rusinek |
10/27/2006 - JULIAN MORAWSKI, A SON OF POLAND, HAS DIED
by Edmund Rusinek
It is with great sadness that I must report the passing of Julian Morawski on September 22, 2006 in Boise, ID of prostate cancer at the age of 89. Although his modest, almost quixotic, approach to life appeared to portray a certain naiveness, he was an intellectual of great depth in history, languages, science and literature. He loved to recite Mickiewicz and was always ready with a quotation in Latin or Greek.
Serving in the Polish Army, his unit came under attack on September 1, 1939 with a combined attack of German panzers and Stuka dive bombers. Conducting a desperate battle of fighting, retreating and preparing another defensive stand every night,: his unit was finally forced to surrender after four weeks of constant warfare when the Russians crossed the Polish border from the East. Packed into box cars for transport to a POW camp in Germany, Julian used his excellent German to convince the guards to leave the door open for air because escape would be impossible from a moving train.
With darkness, Julian made his escape from the moving train and wended his way across occupied Poland, Romania and the Balkans to France where he joined the newly formed Polish Army. When France collapsed, his Polish unit continued to fight and retreat in an orderly manner until they were evacuated off the beach by a British destroyer, one month after the debacle at Dunkerque. On arrival in England, the Poles were greeted as heroes because each man brought along enough weapons to arm four men. England was desperate for weapons since much of the equipment was abandoned on the beaches of Dunkerque.
In England, he was summoned to report to General Sosabowski. The general informed him that based on his single parachute jump as a cadet in pre-war Poland, he was to report to Ringway Airport to train Allied soldiers and secret agents the skills of parachuting. The Germans had just captured Crete using paratroopers and this was a totally new field of warfare for the British. Julian made his first training jumps through a hole cut out in the bottom of an obsolete Whitley bomber facing the back of the airplane. Timing was critical; jump too far and smash your face on the back side of the hole, jump too shallow and bang your spine on the front end of the hole.
With America’s entry in the war, the English received the American C-47 transports which allowed paratroopers to exit the plane through a doorway. One evening, Churchill arrived in a pouring rain at Ringway to witness a parachute jump. Julian and three other instructors were told to make the jump in front of the main hangar so Churchill could witness the jump from inside the hangar. The four jumped at 400 feet with Julian the last man out. The chutes opened up very low to the ground and visibility in the darkness and rain was almost nil. Swinging on his parachute lines, Julian smashed his face into the corner of the hangar but managed to land safely. Lined up in front of the hangar, his face a bloody mess, Churchill noticed what had occurred and walked up to him. He asked Julian, “Are you alright?” Julian snapped to attention, saluted and responded, “Yes sir.”
Julian trained soldiers and agents from every Allied nation except the Americans not only the skills of parachuting but survival in the field. These lessons were provided on a rugged course called “Monkey Glade” or “Malpi Gaj”. With each group of trainees, he would make the final jump with them. Among the agents he trained were several Czechs, trained and sent to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich, the Deputy Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia. On May 27, 1942, Heydrich was attacked in his open car on his way to his office. Badly wounded he managed to survive, but died a few days later from blood poisoning brought on by fragments of auto upholstery, steel and his own uniform lodged in his spleen.. The agents were hunted down and killed. Thousands of other innocents were murdered or moved to concentration camps for later disposition. The village of Lidice was surrounded, the men and older boys executed and the village burned to the ground. Lidice became the symbol of German beastiality..
A very serious setback occurred in Burma when British paratroopers were dropped and their heavy weapons and supplies, which were dropped separately, drifted off to be lost in the jungle. Julian helped devise a method of strapping the heavy weapons to the paratroopers. The extra load increased the trooper’s rate of descent, but a quick release was added which allowed the soldier to drop the load as he approached the ground to slow down his own descent. Julian made several experimental jumps to demonstrate the operation of the system.
In one jump, he carried so much equipment that he had to be lifted and carried to the doorway of the airplane. When he jumped, he realized that he could not reach the risers of the parachute so that he could turn and see where he was dropping. He managed to release the weapons load just before he hit the ground. Upon landing, his parachute caught a huge gust of wind and he was slammed backwards to the ground. His head hit a rock and his helmet was split in half. Suffering a heavy concussion, he awoke four days later in the hospital with a terrible concussion.
Completing his assignment at Ringway, Julian returned to the First Polish Parachute Brigade. General Sosabowski had trained this special unit to await the Polish uprising and to be dropped over Warsaw in support of the Home Army (AK). British General Montgomery had other plans for the Poles. He wanted them to participate in Operations “Market Garden”. With faulty intelligence, the British paratroopers were dropped in an area where two German panzer divisions were resting and reforming. The Poles and Americans could not break through to the British troops and the operation became a disaster. The Poles were combined with a Polish armor unit and went on to liberate Holland.
After the war, Julian served in the occupation of Germany until he was demobilized. He attended a university under very poor and harsh conditions but managed to earn a degree in engineering. Married and starting a family, he immigrated to the United States and eventually moved to California and joined the aerospace industry. He worked as a structures engineer on the North American Aviation B-1, Apollo and the Space Shuttle. He was an exceptional engineer, a brilliant intellectual, a gallant patriot, a strong believer in God and our very good friend.
Czesc Jego Pamienci!