Chrusciel, Antoni “Monter”

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Chrusciel, Antoni, born on 16-06-1895 in Gniewyczyna Lancucka, to Andrzej Chruściel, a local farmer and the vogt, an overlord (mostly of nobility) of that village. In 1909, while still a student at a local gymnasium in Jaroslaw, Chruściel joined the secret scouting troop; he was also active in the Zaezewie movement. In 1914, after the outbreak of the First World War he moved to Llow, where he joined the Eastern Legion. Soon afterwards, as a citizen of Austria-Hungary, he was drafted into the Austro-Hungarian Army. After graduating from an NCO school in May 1915 he served at various posts, including his service as a commanding officer of a company of the 90th Infantry Regiment. After the dissolution of Austria-Hungary and the chaos at the eastern front, Chruściel’s regiment was the only unit in the entire Austro-Hungarian Army to return to the barracks as an organized entity and with arms. Few weeks later Chruściel, together with most of his unit, joined the newly formed Polish Army. . Chruściel became the commanding officer of the famed 82nd Siberian Infantry Regiment stationed in Brest-Litovsk, as part of General Leopold Cehak’s  30th Infantry Division , Cehak died age 57 on 08-05-1946 in France. After the outbreak of the Polish Defensive War of 1939, it entered combat on 02-09-1939. As part of the Piotrków Operational Group of the Łódź Army, Chruściel’s unit retreated towards the Modlin Fortress and took part in its defense until the capitulation of the Polish units in the area. Interned in the POW camp in Działdowo, he was released in late October, already after the end of hostilities. On 31-07-1940, occupied by the German Army, the Polish commanders General Tadeusz Bor-Komorowski here surrendering to SS Obergruppenführer Bach Zelewski, Erich von dem
    and Colonel Antoni Chruściel ordered full mobilization of Home Army forces. General Antoni Chruściel, promoted from Colonel on 14 September, formed the Home Army into three infantry divisions. Upon the defeat of the Uprising, Chruściel was captured and sent to a German POW, Cholditz, camp where he remained until his liberation by the Americans. Liberated in May 1945, Chruściel joined the Polish II Corps and served in the Polish Army in the West until it was demobilized by the British in 1948. Upon demobilization he settled in London.
During the Italian Campaign, the Polish II Corps lost 11,379 men. Among them were 2,301 killed in action, 8,543 wounded in action and 535 missing in action. Of the 2,301 killed, 1,079 died during the Battle of Monte Cassino and are interned at the Monte Cassino Polish war cemetery, several hundred meters from the rebuilt abbey,

Death and burial ground of Chrusciel, Antoni “Monter”.

In 1956 he moved to Washington, DC. Chrusciel died in Washington on 30-11-1960, at the age of 65.
     On the insistence of the local Polish community, he was buried in the Polish church in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Later, in 2004, he and his wife, was given a state funeral at Warsaw’s Powązki Military Cemetery, Poland. Close by the graves of Polish Marschall, Generals Edward Rydz-Smigly, 1st Independent Para Brigade , Polnish 4* General Major, Market Garden, Stanislaw Sosabowski   and Flyer ace Wing Commander, Jan Zumbach   . The grave photo’s kindly sent me by my Czech friend Radek Hroch.
 

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