Gdańsk retiree finds battleship plans at bottom of old wardrobe
Valuable construction documents for two of Poland’s best-known WWII warships have been discovered at the bottom of a wardrobe in the port city of Gdańsk.
Retired corporate manager Adam Jędruszek had been clearing out his uncle’s old apartment when he came across the documents for the Wicher and the Burza ships lying under a pile of clothes.
The battleships saw action in the Polish Navy during the war and formed an important part of Poland’s naval capability at the time.
The Wicher was sunk during the September Campaign September 3, 1939 by the Luftwaffe as it was leaving Hel Port.
The Burza saw more action serving in the Polish Armed Forces in the West, where it took part in the Norwegian campaign, helped to evacuate Allied soldiers at Dunkirk and escorted Atlantic convoys.
The Burza suffered heavy damage several times, saved more than 250 survivors from sinking vessels and sank a U-606 submarine, possibly one more and damaged two others as well as shooting down a plane.
After the war, in 1951, the ship returned to Poland and served in its post-war Navy.
From 1960 it was used as a museum ship and was finally scrapped in 1977.
The recently discovered documents are dated from 1928 and were drawn up in the French shipyard Chantiers Navals Francais in Saint-Nazaire as this was where both ships were built.
The Wicher was launched in July 1928 and incorporated into the Polish Navy in July 1930.
The Burza was launched in April 1929 but did not see the Polish ensign raised until August 1932.
The two destroyers were commissioned by the Polish Navy and were to be the nucleus of a powerful and modern naval fleet.
How the documents ended up in the Gdańsk apartment is unclear, but Jędruszek says he thinks they must be connected to his uncle.
He told TFN: “I know that his relative Philippe de Wroczynski was a ship constructor in France in the 1920s, so he must have been involved in the building of these ships.
“Why they were in my uncle’s apartment, I don’t know, it must surely have been against the law to hold such documents at home.”
Philippe de Wroczynski’s son came to Gdańsk in the 1990s to search for the documents but left empty-handed.
Jędruszek said: “I know that he came here in the nineties, but I don’t know why he wanted the documents.”
The papers in question are technical designs for a piece of machinery onboard the ships.
Since announcing his find and his desire to donate the papers to a museum, Adam has been inundated with calls.
He said: “I get phone calls every day. The Polish Navy Museum is interested but they say they already have full documentation for these ships.
“However, I am going to meet them to compare what we have.”
He added: “These are very interesting and important documents. I’ve even had calls from collectors wanting to buy them, but I’d prefer to donate them.”