In January this year, at the age of 100, one of the last Cichociemny of the Armia Krajowa (“Silent and Unseen” division of the Polish Home Army), General Stefan Starba-Bulak died. Every GROM operator wanted to be at the funeral. Cichociemni – soldiers, partisans, paratroopers, trained in Scotland, sent to fight for the underground army in occupied Poland during the World War II are our patrons and the lives of people like General Starba will always be a source of inspiration for all of us.

Our close friend is gone – this is how GROM operators described his loss. A few dozens of GROM soldiers accompanied him in this last journey at the Warsaw Military Cemetary. Each of them placed a white rose on his tomb. For us, “Starba” was not only a role model, but also a friend. We wouldn’t miss his funeral for the world.

General Stefan Baluk (pseudonym “Starba”, “Michal Balucki”, “Kubus”, “Michal Zawistowski”) was born on 15 January 1914 in Warsaw. His legend started one April night in 1944, when he and some other trained volunteers jumped off a plane into the occupied Poland. After getting through to the capital, he worked for the underground government – Legislation Department at the Home Army HQ. He was responsible for falsifying documents and intelligence.

During the Warsaw Uprising (August 1944), he fought in the platoon “Agaton” that was part of the battalion “Pięść” (“Fist”) and further on in the Shield Division at the Home Army Headquarters. For his sacrifice for Poland he was awarded the highest Polish military decoration – War Order of Virtutti Militari Class V.