News

Col. Otton Hulacki

It is with great sadness that The Friends of the ORP Blyskawica Society announces the loss of its co- founder and past president Col. Otton Hulacki who passed away on the Isle of Wight, his home for many decades, on 25th ≈September.

Otton was born in Lwów Poland on the 2nd January 1922 and this year saw his 101st birthday.

The Friends of the ORP Blyskawica Society was formed in 1997 and prior to this in 1992 Otton played a major role in bringing to Cowes the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the defence of Cowes and East Cowes. Since that time Otton had worked tirelessly for the society as well as giving immeasurable support to numerous associations and organisations. Otton’s energies were unbounded throughout his life. He joined the Polish resistance at the age of 17 at the outbreak of the Second World War and was later captured by Russian troops and incarcerated in Siberia. Released following a wartime treaty with the Allies, he came to England and joined the Polish Armed Forces in the West. He was engaged in the battles at Monte Casino, Aconia and Bolognia. On many occasions, even in his latter years, he went to the Monte Casino commemoration events. He was a much decorated and respected war veteran.

Otton was instrumental in organising and fund raising for the restoration of the Polish memorial in Kingston Cemetery, Portsmouth, which recognises an earlier conflict whereby 212 Polish soldiers, escaping Russian tyranny in 1834, found sanctuary in that city.

He was an active member of the Friends of Polish Veterans Association in Southampton and Medical Aid for Poland Fund. His contribution towards Anglo Polish relationships was immense and he had, post war, strongly promoted the preservation of Polish heritage and values.

He will, undoubtedly, be missed by his family and those many ‘Blyskawica’ society members and numerous friends and acquaintances made along the way. It has been a pleasure, honour and reward to have shared a small part of that greatly fulfilled life with him.

Geoff Banks MBE

President – Friends of the ORP Blyskawica Society.

Otton's FUNERAL MASS is to be held at St. Thomas of Canterbury R.C. Church, Cowes , at 1pm on Wednesday 15th November. Followed by Committal at the Isle of Wight Crematorium at 3pm.

MAY COMMEMORATIONS 2023

On Thursday 4th May at 2pm a short service and wreath-laying was held by the Grom/Blyskawica memorial plaque in King’s Square, East Cowes (this was preceded at 1pm by the annual reading of the names of East Cowes' air raid victims at Kingston Cemetery, organised by the Friends of East Cowes). On Friday 5th May there was a short service and wreath-laying at Francki Place, Cowes.

On Sunday 14th May, again at 2pm at Francki Place, there was a wreath-laying attended by Officers from our Ship and the Polish Consul-General, visiting for the weekend. The Officers had also laid a wreath beforehand at the Bandstand on the Parade.

Afterwards visitors and local were treated to a performance, in the Painters' Arms, by Bob’s Basement Band, who had learnt some Polish folk tunes especially for the occasion.