Jerzy Włodzimierz Świrski (1882–1959) was a Polish naval commander and state figure. He attained the rank of vice admiral of the Polish Navy.
This article presents several major highlights of his biography.
Jerzy Włodzimierz Świrski was born on April 5, 1882, in the town of Kalisz, in the Kingdom of Poland, which was part of the Russian Empire at that time. Upon having graduated from the Naval Cadet Corps in St. Petersburg, Świrski was assigned the rank of midshipman and sent to serve on board Askold, a cruiser of the first rank.
In 1905, Jerzy Świrski was transferred to the Black Sea Fleet, where he served on several warships in positions related to navigation.
You can learn more about the history of cruiser Askold in the 1:42 Scale video series.
World War I
Throughout the war, Świrski served as chief of the navigation branch in the Black Sea Fleet Commander’s headquarters. During the time he occupied this crucial position, Świrski participated in military campaigns together with Admirals A.A. Eberhard and A.V. Kolchak, and was involved in clashes with German-Turkish forces on the Black Sea. By October 1917, he had received three military orders of the Russian Empire and been promoted to the rank of naval commander.
Later, for a period of 5 months, he held high positions in the Navy of the Ukrainian State.
In May of 1919, Jerzy Świrski arrived in Warsaw, where he was enrolled to serve for the Second Polish Republic as a commodore, and was soon after appointed as deputy chief of the recently established Department for Maritime Affairs of the Ministry of Military Affairs.
In 1920, Świrski was made commander of the Polish Navy, and 2 years later he was awarded the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta for distinguished service. He was in command of warships, coastal naval bases, coastal defense units, and naval aviation. Świrski started creating the Polish Navy almost from scratch.
In 1925, Jerzy Świrski took over as chief of marine operations of the Polish Republic. As such, he became fully responsible for all aspects of the development of the Polish naval forces during the interwar period. Świrski, who was promoted to the rank of rear admiral in 1931, was able to maintain the relative independence of the navy within the armed forces, create a professional naval officer corps, and put many useful measures for the crews’ combat training into practice. He was also the one to sign off the contracts for the construction of new warships for the small Polish Navy. The rear admiral spared no efforts in the development of the naval base in the new port city of Gdynia, created in the mid-1920s on the country’s small Baltic coast. In 1936, Jerzy Świrski was awarded the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta for outstanding services.
World War II
Thanks to the efforts of Rear Admiral Świrski, the modern Polish destroyers were able to relocate to Britain just prior to the German invasion. During the quick campaign of 1939, the Polish Navy, which had been defending the nation’s coast, became cut off from the rest of the country within just a few hours. Świrski himself, together with the Polish Ministry of Military Affairs, followed the evacuation orders—first leaving Warsaw, and then heading southeast. In late September, he crossed the Romanian border.
However, in the early days of October 1939, the rear admiral was summoned to Paris by the head of the new Polish government-in-exile by General Władysław Sikorski, and was appointed as chief of the reconstituted Directorate of the Polish Navy.
With his rich experience of interacting with representatives of the Allied navies during the interwar period, Jerzy Świrski played a crucial role in bringing about the conclusion of the Polish-British naval agreement in November 1939. It enabled the warships of the defeated state to continue to play a part in the war at sea, embedded within the British Royal Navy. Thanks to the efforts of the rear admiral, the Polish ships retained their national distinctions, naval flag, and order of service. Świrski was responsible for recruitment and training, as well as personnel and disciplinary decisions, and he did a great deal to expand the naval presence of the Polish Navy in the West.
Having been given the rank of vice admiral in 1941, he was in effect the actual commander of the Polish Navy. His Majesty’s government rewarded Jerzy Świrski with the Order of the Bath.
After the war, Świrski chose not to return to Poland and lived in London, where he died on June 12, 1959.
Jerzy Świrski in World of Warships
You can obtain Commander Jerzy Świrski as a reward for finishing the Strong-Willed Campaign, or from random bundles in the Armory.
- Torpedo Reload Expert: reduces the torpedo tube reload time by 5% for every eight “Torpedo hits” ribbons scored. The talent can be activated multiple times.
- AA Gun Aiming Expert: increases the continuous damage of AA defenses by 10% for scoring 20 “Aircraft shot down” ribbons. This talent can be activated only once per battle.
Jerzy Świrski also has an improved skill:
- Adrenaline Rush: +0.25% (instead of +0.2%) to the reload speed of the ship’s armament and squadron speed for each 1% of HP lost.