News & Updates
Kirkwood & Sons Visit
Mr. David Kirkwood exhibiting one of the dies that went into producing the 2nd Armor Regt badge of the 1st Polish Armor Division.
While engaged in a series of presentations on behalf of the U.S. DOD to the British MOD, CMS Director, Gerald Kochan managed to take some time to do some research in the area of Scotland that his Dad was stationed during part of WW2 with the Polish Independent Parachutist Brigade. One extremely instructive side trip was to the firm Kirkwood & Sons (K&S) in Edinburgh.
K&S was one of the primary producers of the unique Polish Military badges that were worn by the Polish Military Units during WW2. Many of the original dies used in the badge production are still maintained at the firm by the David Kirkwood current owner manager of the firm. Just as interesting were the sales ledgers from WW2 which cast an interesting perspective on the Polish forces efforts to remain a distinct formation among the allies while using primarily British equipment and uniforms.
Mr. Kirkwood was an extremely personable and knowledgable host who made it easy to see why the Poles got along so well with their Scottish hosts during WW2.
K&S dies from WW2 for Polish units.
On June 8th 2015, the late Colonel Francis Gabreski was inducted into the Cradle of Aviation Museum Hall of Fame. Well known for his exploits as a fighter pilot, top scoring ace in the European Theater of Operations during WW2 and Jet ace in the Korean War, he achieved a standing both as flyer and man that evoked respect from all that knew him. Among his valuable missions on the ground was his encouragement and advice in founding the Center and service on the first board of directors.
The induction allowed the "Gabby" stories to flow from his friends and family and was truly memorable.
Pictured in front of the new Plaque are Gabby's daughters Frances and Debbie and members of their families and the Center's director, Gerald Kochan.
Buffalo & Erie County Assistance
The CMS director Gerald Kochan provided assistance to the Buffalo Naval and Military Park in January and March this year. Much needed background information on the Polish exhibits was prepared for the displays and a fighter pilot grouping from the 356th fighter group, 8th USAAF during WW2 donated to their museum.
Colonel Cunningham, the director and his staff were very supportive on completing the record and appreciative of the donation. We look forward to working together with them for many years.
Visitors to the CMS annex at the PAM
Director Gerald Kochan explaining the contribution of the American raised volunteer force known as the Blue Army to a recent group of museum visitors. The Blue Army was raised in the USA and Canada primarily of Polish descent Americans who rallied to fight for an independent Poland during WW1 and the years immediately following the war. They were a force numbering more than 60,000 soldiers and were key to the defeat of the Soviet Russian forces in the 1920 War.