Papers of Jozef Zmudz-Florko

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Military papers and identity cards, diaries, photographs, correspondence and other personal papers of Jozef Zmudz-Florko, a cipher officer in the Polish Army. Most of the material relates to Jozef's military service during World War 2 and his life after the war when he settled in Penwortham, Lancashire.

Administrative / Biographical History

Jozef Mateusz Zmudz-Florko was born in Lwow, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, on 24 Feb 1893. He was Catholic, was able to speak four languages, Polish, Russian, German and Hungarian, and described himself as an artist. These factors, as well as the regiment with which he served, lead us to belive that he likely came from a wealthy family.

On 16 Aug 1914 he joined the Polskie Legiony, becoming a Sergeant in 1915. It is likely that this relates to a standard period of National Service required at that time, although it appears that Jozef remained in the Polish Reserve Army as he is immediately placed in charge of 74 soldiers at the start of the Second World War. At some time afterwards he is captured by the Soviets, and placed in the notorious Kozielsk Camp in Russia, to which the vast majority of Polish Officers were taken prior to being massacred in the Katyn Forest in 1940. Having survived the camp, Jozef joins the Polish II Corps, under the charge of General Anders. That Corps served in the Middle East and Italy, including at the Battle of Monte Cassino, and remained in Italy until 1946 when the men were returned to Britain and demobilised. At this time Jozef joins the Polish Resettlement Corps, and is eventually housed at Oulton Park resettlement camp in Cheshire.

Eventually Jozef moved to the Preston area, where he met Greta Mellor, a teacher. The pair married on 26 Apr 1962 at Penwortham St Mary, and then lived together at 19 Cromwell Road, Penwortham, along with Zofia, Jozef's daughter from a previous marriage. Jozef died on 17 Apr 1970.

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