Lucjan Chwałkowski, born in occupied Poland on December 6, 1894, emigrated to New York with his parents at age 11. He became involved with the Polish Falcon organization, where he took part in field training exercises which allowed him to advance to a position of leadership.
Lucjan was a part of the first class of Polish Officers’ to undergo training at the School of Infantry in Toronto. Upon graduating in April 1917, he attended Camp Borden for additional training. When Camp Kościuszko was established, Lucjan attended the camp to serve in the First Battalion, which departed the camp for New York on January 1, 1918. When he arrived in France, he was assigned to the First Regiment of Polish Riflemen.
On the night of July 8, 1918, Chwałkowski led his troops towards the German trenches near Rheims, France. During the battle, he was mortally wounded. As he lay dying on a stretcher in a field hospital, his last words were: “It is for Poland”. He was the first Polish officer killed in action in France.
Lucjan’s death received international attention. A special remembrance service was held at Camp Kosciuszko. For his service, Chwałkowski received, posthumously, the Legion of Honour, the Order of Virtuti Militari and the Cross of Merit. Photograph from the collection of Alicja and Walter Chwals.