The town of
The Battle of Monte Cassino is an eternal monument to the gallantry of the Polish soldiers.
It surpasses Polish military heroism at Samo Sierra and the Charge at Rokitna.
At the conclusion of Polish military operations in and near Monte Cassino, the Polish government in Exile, (
Today, original Monte Cassino crosses with award documents are scarce. Unfortunately, the High Command of the Polish 2nd Corps did not keep a master roll record of names of soldiers who received the crosses, either by cross number or by the name of the recipient. It is therefore impossible to determine to whom a specific cross was issued without the award document.
In recent years, a large number of original numbered Monte Cassino crosses have surfaced. These crosses have high numbers in the upper 48,500 to 49,999 range. After the conclusion of hostilities near Monte Cassino, the Polish 2nd Corps ordered 50,000 crosses from a manufacturer in Tel Aviv. Of this total, 48,498 were awarded and the rest remained at the headquarters of the Polish Government in
The crosses were sold to several dealers and auction houses, resulting in a flood of unawarded Monte Cassino crosses. Today, even these original unawarded crosses are scarce.
Official documentation to include a list of recipients will never be known. Records have been located which indicate blocks of crosses by serial number distributed to specific units. The statistical analysis shown on the next page identifies these groups. In closing, I must mention that at the foot of the Polish cemetery at Monte Cassino is an inscription in Polish which is worth mentioning for those who read the language.
In translation it lessens its true meaning:
PRZECHODNIU, POWIEDZ POLSCE, ZESMY POLEGLI WIERNI W JEJ SLUZBIE, ZA WOLNOSC NASZA I WASZA, MY ZOLNIERZE POLSCY ODDALISMY – BOGU DUCHA, ZIEMI WLOSKIEJ CIALO, A SERCA, POLSCE
On May 18th 1994,
The ceremony also honored the living veterans of that historical battle.
President Lech Walesa and other dignitaries placed wreaths at the cemetery at Monte Cassino and for the first time, the Armed Forces of a free and independent Poland served as honor guards during the ceremony.
Five thousand Polish veterans and their families visited Monte Cassino from
2nd Armored Brigade
2nd Artillery Group
2nd Corp Artillery
Regiment 2nd Corp
2nd Corp Signals
2nd Medical Corps
2nd Medical Corps
Supply and Transport
Materials and Supply
About the Author
About the Author
Dr. Zdzislaw P. Wesolowski is a former officer of the United States Air Force, retiring at the rank of Captain. He is currently a Colonel in the South Carolina State Guard, attached to the reserves. He is a Professor of Aviation Management at
He is the author of four books and twenty-five scholarly articles in business and economics.
An amateur Polish military historian and collector of Polish militaria, he credits these interests to his father’s military service in the Polish Army and Navy. His father, Stefan P. Wesolowski, also served in the U.S Army Transportation Corps as the commander (Captain) of the USAT Ganandoc, an auxiliary aircraft carrier during the Invasion of Normandy in World War II. It is interesting to note that during his service with the U. S Army, his father was a Polish citizen. Few persons in American history ever commanded a naval ship during a war while being non-US citizens.
Dr Wesolowski invites your comments or questions. You can contact him via e-mail at:
You can also visit his web site and learn more about Polish medals and decorations at:
Personal collection of Polish militaria : http://www.tmcx.com/polish1.htm
Dr. Zdzislaw P. Wesolowski
P. O. Box 291465