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Comrades in Arms


The individuals chosen for this exhibit all belonged to 1st section, 4th platoon of the unit. The commanding officer of the platoon was Lieutenant Henryk Laguna who was respected by all his men, as he was considered an excellent officer.


Lieutenant Henryk Laguna

Before the invasion of Poland in 1939, Laguna worked as an engineer and was deported to Siberia early in 1940. Like so many others, he left the Soviet Union to join the Polish army in the Middle East under General Anders. At 40 years of age he found himself commanding a platoon which consisted of approximately 200 men given that the unit was involved in transport and supply. After the war, Laguna settled in Scotland and worked as a chicken farmer and a cook.

Corporal Dymitr Szawlugo

Dymitr lived on the Polish-Soviet border and witnessed the Soviet troops invade across the river Dvina from his parents farm. He was deported during the third wave of arrests to Siberia with his father, brother Teodor, and youngest sister. His eldest brother Pawel had previously been arrested by the communists and sentenced to nine years hard labour in the Urals. Dymitr was described by his colleagues as a tough soldier and originally trained as an infantryman before joining the unit after sickness prevented him from accompanying the soldiers sent to England. He settled in England after the war and worked as a semi-skilled labourer. Despite leaving school at thirteen, he spoke five languages fluently. Dymitr settled in England after the war and at the age of 88 he is one of the few remaining members of the company.

Private Henryk Zacharewicz

Henryk was deported to Uzbekistan and by the time of his journey to the Middle East in 1942, he had mastered Uzbekistani. This he was to proudly boast about for decades afterwards. A master of languages, he was Lieutenant Laguna's driver and such was his abilities, that in 1945, he was sent to England to train as a fighter pilot. After the war he studied science and was awarded a degree in chemistry. He emigrated to Canada in the mid-1950's and worked as a research scientist in Ontario.

Private Stanislaw Sokolowski

Stanislaw and his family were sent to a gulag in Siberia in 1940. His father, a colonel in the Polish army was murdered at Katyn by the communists. After the war he reluctantly returned to the former Polish territory now occupied by the Soviets. The loss of his father and the written pleadings from his mother, pushed him to return home, placing him on a road of no return.

Private Tadeusz Swinoga

Exiled to the Murmansk area in 1940, Tadeusz made a difficult journey to reach General Anders' army in Palestine. After the war he emigrated to Canada. He passed away in April 2011.

Private Stefan Krivko

Stefan made his way from Siberia to join the Polish army. After the war he emigrated to Argentina where he became a university professor.

Private Leon Kriyko

Leon was imprisoned in the same camp in Siberia as Dymitr Szawlugo. The two men remained friends throughout the war. In the late 1940s he emigrated to the USA and settled in Chicago.


All soldiers interviewed over the years fondly remember Henryk Laguna as the finest officer there ever was. "A respected officer shall never die in the minds of his men".

Dymitr Szawlugo, Henryk Zacharewicz and Stanislaw Sokolowski, all teenagers at the time that they joined the unit and short in height, hung around as best friends and were referred to as "The Three Musketeers".

Dymitr Szawlugo and Tadeusz Swinoga had last seen each other in 1947. By chance, the reunited in 2002 in Brantford, Ontario. "Old army friends never forget each other".

Stanislaw Sokolowski was never heard from again despite promises to keep in contact with Dymitr and others. Rumours surfaced and it is thought that he was either sent back to Siberia or was murdered by the communists upon his arrival in Byelorussia. "Rather death than false of faith".

Henryk Zacharewicz and Dymitr Szawlugo kept up their friendship until Henryk's death in 2011. "Oceans never keep friends apart".


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