Click on a year below to view post-war activities –






The post-war activities cover not only operations, but details of the demobilisation and repatriation to Poland and to countries other than Poland of Polish Navy personnel.  Statistics on numbers opting for  repatriation and demobilisation are given.  There are also notes on morale in the Polish Navy and the organizing of educational/vocational courses.




Polish Navy ships

ORP “Piorun” (G 65) ex HMS Nerissa  - N-class Destroyer

ORP “Ślązak" (L 26), ex-HMS Bedale -  Type II, Hunt-class Escort Destroyer

ORP “Garland” (H 37) ex-HMS Garland - G-class Destroyer

ORP “Krakowiak” (L 115), ex-HMS Silverton - Type II, Hunt-class Escort Destroyer

ORP “Conrad” ex-HMS Danae - World War 1 D-type Light Cruiser

ORP "Błyskawica" Destroyer

ORP "Dzik" - Submarine

ORP "Sokół" - Submarine




ORP “Conrad”

Under repair at HM Dockyard, Chatham from May to June.

The war diary of C-in-C Home Fleet records that ORP “Conrad” remained at Sheerness, docking between 1st and 30th May.  On the 30th May she left Southend (on the north side of the Thames from Sheerness) and arrived at Scapa Flow on the 31st.


ORP “Piorun”

1st May - Deployed at Scapa Flow to work-up for operational service. 

On 8th May ORP “Piorun” returns to base at ScapaFlow.

On completion of work-up on 25th May deployed with the Home Fleet. 

ORP Garland - After VE Day the ship embarked relief stores for delivery to ports in Holland and Belgium.


ORP “Krakowiak”

Remained with Home Fleet after VE Day. Polish manning continued. Deployed in support of military re-occupation of German territory.  27th May, along with ORP “Ślązak" were the first ships under the Polish flag that entered the German Navy port of Wilhelmshaven.


ORP “Ślązak"

May to August: Transferred to Nore Local Flotilla based at Chatham.  Deployed with HM Escort Destroyers “Garth”, “Eglinton”, “Hambledon”, “Holderness”, “Mendip” and ORP “Krakowiak” for escort of military convoys in Nore Command and the support of re-occupation operations in NW Europe.



On the 7th June the British Admiralty announces the abolition of censorship for Polish ships stationed in Great Britain.


At the end of June ORP “Krakowiak” and ORP “Ślązak" were incorporated into the 21st Destroyer Flotilla of the Royal Navy and transferred to Sheerness.


Between 30th June and end of November the ORP “Ślązak" served as an escort along the eastern coast of England.

On 2nd June, the commander of the 1st Polish Armoured Division General Klemens Rudnicki visited ORP “Krakowiak”.  He wrote in the souvenir book that it was the first time in Polish history of a meeting beween the victorious Polish Navy and soldiers of the Polish Land Forces.


ORP “Piorun”, between June and August Home Fleet deployment in continuation. Transferred to 3rd Destroyer Flotilla  (Note: During this period Home Fleet ships were deployed for support of the re-occupation of Norway and of military occupation of Germany as well as visits to ports in UK.)


ORP “Garland”, June to August  joined 23rd Destroyer Flotilla, Home Fleet. Deployed for flotilla duties including support of military re-occupation in German ports.

According to Home Fleet’s war diary, “Garland” remained at Plymouth between the 1st and 15th June, but left for Scapa to work up, arriving 17th June.


According to the war diary of C-in-C Home Fleet, ORP “Conrad”, left Scapa on 4th June and reached Rosyth on the 5th June.  On the same day she left Rosyth for Wilhelmshaven which she reached on 7th June.  A week later she left Wilhelmshaven and arrived back in Rosyth on 15th June.  On 27th June “Conrad” left Rosyth and arrived at Scapa for practices.  Up to the end of the month she remained at Scapa.


On 9th June the MTB group was again transferred to Felixtowe.  On the 17th June four of the MTBs – “S5”, “S6”, “S8” and “S10” were placed in first reserve,



On 3rd July, by decree of the President of the Polish Republic, the Navy Medal was established.

On the 5th July, Great Britain and the USA established diplomatic relations with the Polish government in Warsaw.

In July ORP “Conrad” resumed Home Fleet duties and deployed in support of re-occupation of Norway.  According to the war diary of C-inC Home Fleet, she left Rosyth on 1st July with Red Cross stores and arrived at Oslo on the 3rd July.  Five days later she left Oslo bound for Rosyth which she reached on the 10th July.  Between 10th and 12th July ORP “Conrad” remained at Rosyth.


Home Fleet’s war diary notes that the ORP “Garland” left Scapa on 1st July, arriving at Rosyth the following day.  On the 4th July she left Rosyth bound for Copenhagen.  On the 7th July she left Copenhagen escorting a German convoy and arrived on 10th July at Rosyth.


Between the 11th and 25th July, ORP “Garland” escorted German ships heading to Great Britain.



During August 1945, the naval activity was intensive and consisted of:


(1) escorting convoys made ​​up of German merchant ships from the Continent to the UK,

(2) carrying Allied personnel to Norwegian and Danish ports,

(3) performing surveillance and patrols of fisheries in the North Sea.

These tasks were performed by the ships: (on the routes)


ORP "Conrad" - Kristiansund and Oslo,

ORP "Piorun" - Bremerhaven and Copenhagen,

ORP "Garland" - Copenhagen and Oslo,

ORP "Krakowiak" - patrols in the North Sea

ORP "Ślązak" - Rotterdam, Cuxhaven, Brunsbüttel.  She was deployed in the Nore Local Flotilla after 15th August. (VJ Day)


ORP "Garland"  transferred to the 17th Destroyer Flotilla after 15th August.


Each individual trip of the warships to Copenhagen, Oslo, and German ports was used for transporting clothing, medicines, books, and other aid for Poles on mainland Europe.



During September, Polish naval activity involved:

(1) escorting Allied convoys travelling between ports in Britain and Denmark and Norway, and German ports.


(2) In addition, Polish warships patrolled the waters of the North Sea.

In carrying out these tasks, the following ships were active on the routes as follows: (see across)


Those initially signing up for repatriation to Poland amounted to 1 officer and 11 ratings.  Based on a strength as at 1st September 1945 of 380 officers and 3,400 other ranks, those requesting repatriation represented about 0.3% of total strength.


ORP "Piorun" - Christiansand, Oslo and Copenhagen

ORP "Garland" - Oslo, Trondheim,

ORP "Krakowiak" - Brunsbüttel, Cuxhaven and patrolling the waters of the North Sea,

ORP "Ślązak" - Cuxhaven.

Of the remaining ships ORP "Conrad" - sailed from Oslo to Portsmouth to undergo a periodic overhaul (6.9 – 2.10.1945).

ORP "Błyskawica" – remains under repair in Portsmouth.


As in August, every journey of the Polish warships to Danish, Norwegian and German ports was used by the Polish Red Cross to carry clothing, magazines, textbooks and other aid intended for the Poles on the Continent.



Motor-Torpedo-Gunboat Group decommissioned and the following MTBs handed over to the British :- S-5, S-6, S-7,  S-8, S-9,  and S-10".

Another source states that on 15th October that  the MTB group was disbanded. After the lowering of the Polish flag, MTBs, “S-5”, “S-7”, “S-8” and “S-9” were returned to the Royal Navy.


Activities of Polish Navy ships

(1) Similar to September Polish warships escorted Allied convoys sailing between ports in Great Britain, Denmark, Norway and Germany. In addition, some Polish warships patrolled the waters of the North Sea.


The Navy organized its own preparatory courses for civilian occupations: an electric welding course started in Naval Command “South” and a car driver’s course was organized by Naval Command “North”.


Of the approximately 450 non-commissioned officers and sailors  who, before 1 September 1939 lived outside the Polish State, the following had notified their wish to exercise the right to demobilization.

Numbers and countries as follows:

France 153; Canada 23; Brazil 19; Argentine 20; USA 5; Britain 1; Belgium 1. Total 222.



The following numbers volunteered for repatriation to Poland :- 1 Officer, 3 NCOs and 38 sailors. Total 42.

This group was placed in ORP "Baltic" (Okehampton Polish Naval Camp), and it is expected that they will be sent to British transit camps.



In general, can be characterized as a state of expectancy and uncertainty with respect to both their own affairs and the future of Poland. Against this background there is a bitterness and resentment towards the Anglo-Saxon Allies.

Compared to the enthusiasm and dedication which characterized all sailors during the war there was now a reduction in the level of duty and keenness.

This condition contributes to a reduction in the level of duty and enthusiasm for service.


The attitude of the vast majority of officers, non-commissioned officers and of enlisted men is very critical about the ruling regime in the country and shows no desire to return immediately to Poland. This is eloquently demonstrated by the very small percentage of applications for repatriation.

Routes as follows:

ORP "Conrad" - Kristiansand, Copenhagen, Oslo


ORP "Błyskawica" - Oslo, Kristiansand, Kiel, Copenhagen


ORP "Piorun" - Oslo, Bergen.  She transferred to the 17th Destroyer Flotilla in October.


ORP "Krakowiak" - Hamburg, Cuxhaven,

ORP "Ślązak’" - patrolling the waters of the North Sea.


Of the remaining ships ORP "Garland" was in Leith Docks, where a periodic overhaul of the ship was being carried out.


The submarines "Dzik" and "Sokół" remained in the base at Dundee.





During November, Polish warships continued to take an active part in escorting convoys between the Continent and Great Britain.


Still no major decisions by the British Authorities regarding the Navy.


Information about demoibilisation much the same as last month.  Of the approximately 450 officers and men who before 1st September 1939 resided outside of the Polish State the following numbers reported to take advantage of their right to work in the following countries:











Signed up for repatriation to Poland: Officers-1, NCOs-3, Sailors-51.  Total-55.  This group had been placed in the ORP “Bałtyk” but then sent to a British camp at Cheltham [Cheltenham?].  On 1st November, 1 officer and 30 seamen left and on 3rd December a further 1 NCO plus 19 seamen.


The morale of the personnel is serious and matter-of-fact.  Most, including the ordinary seamen are knowledgeable about the situation and have no sympathies with the pro-Soviet regime.

Nevertheless there are symptoms of spiritual weariness and resignation.  Sometimes you hear voices, that say, "in the end you will have to go back, because the English will not save us."


In general, followers of the Warsaw government (apart from a few hidden agents) do not exist.

Even this small quantity, which advocated returning, cannot be considered to be favorable to the government in Warsaw.  The rest of the personnel can be divided into “wait and see” and “determined”.  The latter wish to remain in exile and have become attached to some extent with conditions in the West.  For the “wait and see” group their course will depend upon political events and the situation in Poland and in exile.

ORP "Conrad" visited Oslo three times, and then at the end of the month went to Copenhagen.


Operation "Deadlight"

Starting from 20th November, three destroyers  (OORP "Błyskawica", "Piorun" and "Krakowiak"), in a special team of the Home Fleet, took part in Operation "Deadlight" in the Atlantic.


Note: Operation “Deadlight” was the code name for the scuttling of most of the unwanted German U-Boats which the Allies got their hands on after the end of World War Two.  The scuttling operations took place from Lisahally, Northern Ireland (30 boats) and Loch Ryan, Scotland (86 boats). 116 U-Boats were scuttled between November 1945 and February 1946 north west of Ireland.

See article in uboatnet about details of the operation.


ORP "Błyskawica" after a few days stopover in Copenhagen and Oslo was assigned to a special team of the Home Fleet for the duration of Operation "Deadlight".  A British newspaper noted that ORP "Błyskawica" sank the first of the German U-Boats in this operation.


Type XXIIIs -  U-2321, U-2322, U-2324 and U-2361 sunk on 27th November, 1945 by gunfire from the destroyers ORP Błyskawica” and HMS “Onslow”. U-2325 sunk on 28th November 1945 by gunfire from the the above two ships.


ORP "Piorun", after renovation, has returned to the Home Fleet and took part in Operation "Deadlight".  Type XXIIIs  - U-2329, U-2334, U-2335, U-2337, U-2350 and U-2363 all sunk on 28th November 1945 by gunfire from the destroyers HMS “Onslow” and ORP “Piorun”.

U-244 - while being towed out to the scuttling ground the tow broke and the boat was sunk by the ORP “Piorun” with gunfire that same day.


ORP "Krakowiak" left the RN’s 21st Destroyer Flotilla for the duration of Operation "Deadlight".


ORP "Ślązak" twice escorted German merchant ships from Cuxhaven to Britain.


ORP "Garland" completed its annual overhaul.  Another source notes that on the 22nd November,  the “Garland" was directed for repairs at Chatham.


The submarines were inactive during November.



During the month of December 1945, Polish warships were active as in the previous period.


UK authorities failed to make any substantial decisions with regard to the Navy.


On the 28th December the Admiralty held a conference which discussed a number of topical issues. As a result, the Admiralty promised to provide the necessary tools for training, teaching aids and materials, for vocational training in the Polish Navy.

Naval Command South would undertake to deliver a larger number of vocational training programmes and instruction.


Demobilisation matters not substantially different from the month of November 1945 with 240 personnel desiring to be repatriated to countries other than Poland.


In addition to the 55 (1 officer, 3 NCOs and 51 ratings) personnel who volunteered for repatriation to Poland a further 33 men, made up of 3 NCOs and 30 sailors requested to be returned to Poland.


The reasons for the increase in the number of returnees should not be attributed to the growing popularity of the authorities in Warsaw.  Decisions to return to the country due to personal reasons – to help their families in the existing difficult conditions in Poland.  Letters from loved ones in Poland to the seamen imploring their return to help with the difficult living conditions provided motives for the men to opt for repatriation to Poland.

The  cruiser ORP "Conrad" was available to the Senior British Naval Officer in Norway.  After a stop in Copenhagen and Oslo she returned to Rosyth on 21st December and went back to Oslo on 22nd December.


Destroyers, OORP "Błyskawica", "Piorun" and "Krakowiak" took part through December in Operation Deadlight in the ongoing operations.

U-2341 sunk on 31st December by gunfire from the destroyers HMS “Onslaught” and ORP “Blyskawica”.


ORP "Garland", following renovations at Chatham, to proceed in the first days of January 1946 to the task force involved with Operation “Deadlight.”


The destroyer ORP "Ślązak", after a stopover in Sheerness, began escort tasks between German ports and Britain.


The submarines based at Dundee held normal exercises.







Sources (web based)

(1)  Naval-History.Net http://www.naval-history.net/

(2) Uboat Net http://www.uboat.net/

Other Sources include

(1) “Komunikaty Informacyjne” Sztabu Naczelnego Wodza / Sztabu Głównego Polskich Sił Zbrojnych na Zachodzie (1945-1947).

For information that could add (or amend) to this summary of the Polish Navy’s activities from May to December 1945, please email: robert@ostrycharz.free-online.co.uk



Revised 6 Jun 2013


© R Ostrycharz 2013