Legend of the Navy

The first Navy base was in Puck, but the Temporary War Port and Fisherman Shelter were opened already in April 1923, as the first marina of the Gdynia’s port. Since their opening, the navy blue uniforms became an indispensible element of the landscape in the city. Oksywie, Gdynia, became the home and mother port for the crews, from which they went to war and where they came back.

Jerzek Pertek, an outstanding Polish marine writer, described the participation of the Polish Navy in the 2nd World War as "Great days of a small fleet". This was a symbolic opinion on the most difficult examination passed by Polish navy seamen.

The fleet was the pride of the whole country, being the focus of social efforts. The Maritime Defence Fund was established and the construction of the famous heroic submarine, "Orzeł", was financed with public collection.

On the day of the combat test the Polish seamen defended the Polish sea, Gdynia, Hel and the whole Pomerania. They continued their struggle for all years of the 2nd World War. Decks of our ships were then the only patch of a free Polish territory. Polish warships fought at Narvik, in the Mediterranean Sea, convoyed the routes across the Atlantic Ocean and the Northern Way to Murmansk, participated in the invasion in Normandy and in numerous other key operations of the war at seas. They attained many successes and suffered painful losses.

ORP "Grom" sank at Narvik, "Orzeł" somewhere in the Northern Sea, "Jastrząb" in the Norwegian Sea, "Kujawiak" at the coast of Malta, "Orkan" in the Atlantic Ocean and "Dragon" during the D-Day operation.

The graveyards in Oksywie, the buildings of the Fleet Headquarters, and the Navy Port feature numerous traces of the Polish Navy history. Even today, although there are less navy blue uniforms in its streets, Gdynia is the main base of our fleet. The historic ORP "Błyskawica" destroyer exhibited in Kościuszki square is among the most popular landmarks of the city. Together with the Navy Museum under construction it gives a complete review of the Navy history.

"God, bless you, my dear ship", was the signal broadcast by the British commander of the convoy to the captain of ORP "Garland" after the heroic and bloody battle fought against Nazi planes.

26 May 1941, 10.37 p.m., the signalman of ORP "Piorun" gives the message "Ship to the right bow", the start of the famous skirmish between the Polish destroyer and the German battleship "Bismarck".

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