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Roel R.
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Romuald Nalecz-Tyminski, who died at 98, will be buried in the Polish naval cemetery in May.

Polish hero's bold manoeuvre saved 85 Canadians at Dieppe
With guns blazing, he led rescue with his destroyer

Defied orders to keep warship back from French shore

Credited with saving the lives of more than 80 Canadians in World War II, Rear Admiral Romuald Nalecz-Tyminski of the Polish navy was hailed as a hero both in Canada and in his homeland.

A skilled and accomplished seaman, Nalecz-Tyminski worked his way up the ranks during his life on the seas, commanding numerous warships on dramatic, danger-filled missions.

"Nobody did more than he did to get the Canadians out," said Joe Ryan, a veteran of the Royal Regiment of Canada who fought at Dieppe.

Ryan, 84, said he can still remember watching Nalecz-Tyminski as he manoeuvred his destroyer, the Slazak, precariously close to shore to rescue the trapped Canadian soldiers at Dieppe.

He later learned Nalecz-Tyminski disobeyed Royal Navy orders to stay back from shore.

Today, 62 years after the famous 1942 raid, Ryan can still vividly describe the destroyer heading straight towards the beach, firing all of its guns at the enemy, before turning abruptly, churning up mud and rocks from beneath the water.

"He was a very humble person," Ryan said. The Slazak was the only destroyer to come so close to shore, he said.

"He didn't want to be a hero, but he certainly was in Dieppe."

Aldona Rideau, Nalecz-Tyminski's 64-year-old daughter, said her father "had many careers and did very well in all of them.

"He was quite a remarkable man," she said from her home in New Orleans. She described her father as being "bigger than life," someone who was very "straight, and military," but who also had a tremendous sense of family.

"He was a wonderful father and a great example."

Nalecz-Tyminski, who died in December at the age of 98, will be honoured by the Polish navy in May, when he will be buried in the Polish naval cemetery in Gdynia.

While Rideau said she and her parents were a "threesome" and had a very close bond, it wasn't always like that.

Nalecz-Tyminski's naval duties kept him from seeing his daughter until she was 6 years old.

After leaving Poland in 1939 Nalecz-Tyminski, fighting for the Allies, was unable to return to German-occupied Poland to see his wife and newborn daughter.

He served alongside the Royal Navy as a member of the Polish Flotilla, which was based in Great Britain.

In 1940 he became executive officer of the destroyer Blyskawica, which took part in the Norwegian Campaign and the evacuation of Dunkirk.

`He didn't want to be a hero, but he certainly was in Dieppe.'

Joe Ryan, veteran of the Royal Regiment of Canada

From 1942 to 1944 he commanded the Slazak through dangerous and risky sea operations, including Dieppe, Sicily, Salerno and Normandy on D-Day.

During the raid on Dieppe, Nalecz-Tyminski lost four of his crew members, but the Slazak avenged her own by bringing down five enemy planes.

For his role in rescuing 85 Canadians — mostly members of the Royal Regiment of Canada — from the roiling waters off Dieppe, Nalecz-Tyminski was awarded Britain's Distinguished Service Cross.

In 1945, Nalecz-Tyminski was promoted to commander 1st class and was put in command of the light cruiser Conrad, the Polish navy's largest ship.

The Conrad was assigned to a group of ships that sailed to the ports of Oslo, Copenhagen and Wilhelmshaven with mail and packages for the residents and refugees.

"He was an excellent seaman," said 83-year-old Stanislaw Brodzki, who served under Nalecz-Tyminski on the Conrad.

"He had a way with the officers in every rank. He was very well liked by everybody."

"He was a good-natured person," he said. "He was quite a distinguished guy who did a lot, not only for the Polish navy, but for Canada. He's not only a Polish hero, but a Canadian hero as well."

Nalecz-Tyminski was reunited with his wife and daughter after the war in Germany, after they had been smuggled out of Poland. They went to Scotland then then to Pakistan, where Nalecz-Tyminski served as a captain in Pakistan's navy from 1951 to 1958.

Rideau moved to Europe to complete her schooling, while her parents settled in the Bahamas, where, for the next 20 years, Nalecz-Tyminski was port director and president of the Freeport Harbour Company on Grand Bahama Island.

In 1979 he retired and moved to Toronto with his wife, Jadwiga, who now lives in Missauga. He helped form the Toronto branch of the Polish Naval Association and became an honorary member of the Royal Regiment of Canada for his heroism at Dieppe.

Rideau described her father as someone who was very healthy and athletic right to the end.

"He believed in healthy living. He didn't drink, except for the odd one socially, and he didn't smoke," she said, adding that up to the age of 95 he would get up in the morning and do his exercises.

In his youth, Nalecz-Tyminski was involved in boxing, pentathlon, yachting and fencing. Rideau said he was an avid fencer and had hoped to compete in the Olympics.

In 1938 he won the Polish Forces Championships in fencing, and was well on his way to being able to compete in the 1940 Olympics, later cancelled because of the war.

"The Olympics just left my reach," he told a Freeport magazine in 1977.

Rideau said her father was active with the Polish Naval Association in his later years, helping to raise to money for the construction of the Polish Navy Museum, which will open this year in Gdynia.

As a frequent guest of the Royal Regiment of Canada, she said, Nalecz-Tyminski often gave speeches recounting his many years at sea.

"He was very much a historian," Rideau said. "He had a great love of history."

In May, 2000, Nalecz-Tyminski returned to Poland where he was recognized for his war services and was made an honorary rear admiral by Poland's President Alexsander Kwasniewski at a ceremony in Warsaw.
Intressant verhaal, ik had er nog nooit van gehoord, iemand foto's of andere informatie?
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