Eugeniusz Kowalski was in the polish navy and may have been captain of Modlin

Hello Mac, how are you?

My name is Eugeniusz Kowalski, i´m from Brazil. I was reading your web log when I found out about the Modlin ship. I like to read books and watch some documentaries about the world war 2. My grandfather, Eugeniusz Kowalski (we have the same name) was in the polish navy, and my grandmother, Wilhelmina Kowalska was an army sargent. They moved to Brazil after the war.

I have an old photograph of the ship and i think my grandfather was Modlin´s Captain. I´m not sure about this but i think my mother told me something about this ship. She said something like " your grandfather was in this merchant ship and then turned to war ship".

I can scan the photo and send it to you. You can clearly read "MODLIN" on the back of the ship.

I´m searching the web for some information, but it´s been really hard to find.

so, i hope to hear from you soon. Have a nice weekend!

eugeniusz kowalski

Hello there,

Nice to hear from you.

Here is a brief history of the ship Modlin, her tonnage was 3,569, her time of sinking as a block Ship off Normandy was in February 1944.

Hilda Horn (2)  1906

built by Flensburger Schiffsbau Gesellschaft, Flensburg | Ordered for Dampschiff Rhederei Horn AG, but completed as Ganelon for the Roland Linie, 1907 to H.C. Horn, Lübeck, 1911 sold to Deutsche Levante Linie renamed Tinos, 1914 laid up at Piraeus, 1916 seized by the Allies, transferred to French Government renamed Le Bourget, 1921 sold to Ch. Schiaffino & Cie., Algier renamed Laurent Schiaffino, 1925 sold to Polish Government renamed Wilja, 1940 to Exile Polish Government renamed Modlin, 1944 scuttled as a block ship at Normandy coast, 1946 wreck salvaged and scrapped.

She was in Convoy ONS 5 but briefly, the rear ship in Column 8, but had problems, dropped out and made it back to the Clyde.

As you say there is not too much information about your Father's Ship.

I would like a copy of your photograph please.

Best wishes, 

April 7, 2011


This E-Mail is self evident and is forwarded to at the request of David Ashworth.

(see  "Eugeniusz Kowalski was in the polish navy and may have been captain of Modlin")  


7 Apr 2011

In researching my late father's war photographs, I came across pictures of a submarine (probably Italian) under attack, which led me to your site, where I found the above correspondence. 

My recommendation to Messr's Kowalaski and Akerstrom is that if they have not already done so they try writing to Mr Michael Olizar at The Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum, 20 Princes Gate, LONDON. SW7 1PT.

I was seeking to find out what happened to a crew member of the SS Warszawa when the ship sank at Christmas 1941 following the two attacks by the German Uboat 559. I only knew that my father, who was the Electrical Lieutenant on HMS Peony at the sinking, pulled a very attractive medical crew member of Warszawa from the sea
covered in oil, having had her clothes blown off, and that all she was concerned about was helping the wounded and injured!!

Michael has very kindly supplied me with fascinating information relating to this lady's life after the sinking, as well as the first page of the Warszawa's crew list dated 17th November 1941, clearly showing "III Engineer - KOWALSKI Eugeniusz - 1903 Lodz - Polish".

Finally, I found a brown envelope amongst father's photographs headed "Sinking of the Warszawa". 5 photos were inside, two of the ship with no stern, one of her in tow by Peony, and two more of the rescue operation.

Interestingly, following the sinking, the lady was issued with a new passport in Cairo, so it may be reasonable to assume that, if he was on board Warszawa at the sinking, Mr Kowalaski was probably rescued from the ship while she was still afloat after the first torpedo struck and before the second hit sank her, and, judging from the photo's,
very probably off-duty at the time (at least not in the engine room)!  My family have just presented the originals of the photos to The Sikorski Museum, but I do have them scanned to my computer, and you may pass this email address to the Kowalski family if they would be interested.

I cannot help with Mr Kowalski's subsequent wartime experiences, but it is quite possible that the Sikorski may be able to.

Yours sincerely, David R. Ashworth.


I have done as you requested, hopefully the E-Mail address for Eugeniusz is still valid.

Could I please have copies of the photos you have, so we may add them to Ahoy?

Best wishes,

Pictures attached.

Sinking of the Warszawa

Sinking of the Warszawa

Sinking of the Warszawa

Sinking of the Warszawa

Sinking of the Warszawa

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