Sikorski, Wladislaw Eugeniusz, born 20-05-1881 in Tuszow, Narodowy, was a Polish military and political leader. Prior to World War I, he established and participated in several underground organizations that promoted the cause of Polish independence. He fought with distinction in the Polish Legions during World War I and later in the newly created Polish Army during the Polish-Soviet War (1919 to 1921). In that war he played a prominent role in the decisive Battle of Warsaw . In the early years of the Second Polish Republic, Sikorski held government posts including prime minister (1922 to 1923) and minister of military affairs (1923 to 1924). Following Jozef Pilsudski’s
May Group (1926) and the installation of the Sanacja government, he fell out of favor with the new regime. During World War II he became Prime Minister of the Polish Government in Exile, Commander in Chief of the Polish Armed Forces, and a vigorous advocate of the Polish cause in the diplomatic sphere. He supported the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Poland and the Soviet Union, which had been severed after the Soviet pact with Germany and the 1939 invasion of Poland — however, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin broke off Soviet-Polish diplomatic relations in April 1943 following Sikorski’s request that the International Red Cross investigate the Katyn Forest massacre. In 04-07-1943, a plane carrying Sikorski together with his daughter first lieutenant, Zophia , age 31, who’s body was never found and officers plunged into the sea immediately after takeoff from Gibraltar,
killing all on board except the, heavily injured pilot, Eduard Maximilian Prchal, a Czech pilot. The exact circumstances of Sikorski’s death have been disputed, and given rise to a number of conspiracy theories surrounding the crash and his death. Investigators later concluded that Sikorski’s injuries, 66 broken bones, were consistent with a plane crash, as discussed in this later section on the controversy surrounding his death. The crashed plane still was floated on for another 6 minutes before sinking. A British inquiry in 1943 found that the crash was caused by the plane’s controls jamming. But rumours persist of a plot to kill General Sikorski, whose defence of the Polish national cause threatened to derail Britain’s relationship with the Soviet Union, incensed by General Sikorski’s demand for an investigation into the Katyn massacre of Polish officers by Soviet troops. The German ambassador in Turkey, Franz “Fränzchen” von Papen had lett pass the official Katyn papers to Sikorski being in Gibraltar. Stalin’s accusers claim that General Sikorski’s plane was left unguarded on the runway at Gibraltar, and could easily have been sabotaged. They also point out that on the day of the crash, 04-07-1943, a plane carrying the Soviet ambassador, Ivan Mikhailovich Maysky , and a small retinue of Soviet troops parked next to the doomed Polish leader’s aircraft. Mayski died old age 91 on 03-09-1975 in moscow. Investigators have also pointed the finger at the British wartime leader Winston Churchill. In September 1943 Eduard Prchal married Dolores Prchal, (Czech: Dolores Prchalová, born Dolores Šperková, 1915-1990). In August 1945 Prchal returned to Czechoslovakia and joined its Air Force, until demobilization in early 1946. Then he worked as chief pilot for Czechoslovak National Airline (ČSA). After Communist Party took the power in 1948 he felt distrust of the new regime and feared he will get arrested.
Death and burial ground of Sikorski, Wadislaw Eugeniusz.
On 30-09-1950 Prchal, his wife, daughter and six others flew from Prague to RAF Manston in England in a stolen plane. Being unable to find job as a pilot Prchal and his wife moved in 1952 to the USA. Here too, as a foreigner, failed to obtain work in air force or in aeronautical industry. Until retirement in 1978 he worked in education sector in California. Prchal who was later interviewed several times about the crash and died age 73, on 04-12-1984, in St. Helena, California.
In 1967 the German dramatist Rolf Hochhuth suggested in the play Soldiers that Sir Winston Churchill was so anxious over Sikorski’s impact on ties with Stalin that he ordered the assassination. Wladislaw Sikorsky, age 62, first was buried in Newark near London, on 16-08-1943, but on 17-09-1993 his body was reburied in the Wawel cathedral, in Krakow. Poland’s president, Lech Kaczynski, and his prime minister, Donald Tusk, had demanded that General Wladyslaw Sikorski’s body be exhumed from its tomb in Wawel Cathedral in Krakow, the traditional burial place of Polish heroes.