Bust of WWII hero General Anders unveiled in historic ceremony at London’s National Army Museum
A bust of WWII hero General Władysław Anders has been unveiled at the National Army museum in London, the first time a Polish general has been honoured in this way by a British Museum.
Standing 1-metre tall, the solid bronze bust by renowned sculptor Andrzej Pityński was unveiled this morning following a fundraising campaign launched last year to have the sculpture become part of the museum’s new permanent exhibition of the Allies’ Italian Campaign, in which Anders played a crucial role.
Specially commissioned to create a design for the bust, Pityński agreed to waive his fee, considering it his patriotic gift out of respect for the General.
Completing it shortly before his unexpected death in September 2020, the monument marks his historic last work.
Director of the National Army Museum Justin Majewski, whose father served in Anders’ army, told the British Poles website: “The history and heritage of Polish soldiers who fought in Italy, constitutes the most valuable part of the shared army heritage of Great Britain and Poland.
“So many soldiers of the Polish II Corps, for reasons beyond their control, had to build their futures in Great Britain.
“As the son of one of these soldiers, I believe that having such a bust on permanent as part of a permanent museum display will be something unique.”
As the General of the Polish II Corps, which fought under British Command, Anders helped to secure an important victory for the Allies in Italy at the Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944.
Considered one the fiercest battles of WWII, after ferocious fighting Anders’ troops managed to take the summit of Monte Cassino and captured the monastery.
In the fighting 923 Polish soldiers lost their lives, 2,931 were wounded and 345 were listed as missing in action.
A few days later, and because of the Anders’ army, allied troops were able to break the Gustav Line enabling American troops to enter Rome on June 14th.
Today’s unveiling ceremony was attended by General Anders’ daughter Anna Maria Anders and was followed by a panel discussion entitled ‘The Anders Army: Service and Legacy”.
Taking part were Anna Maria Anders, historian Professor Roger Moorhouse, Dr Karol Nawrocki, director of the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk, and George Byczyński, Editor in chief of British Poles, with Justin Majewski, director of the National Army Museum as moderator.
A commemorative plaque was also unveiled at 78 Brondesbury Park, the address at which Anders lived after the war.
The bust will be available for viewing to the wider public at the National Army Museum from the 26th of June.