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Forum Home > Can you Help ? > TADEUSZ FOJGT, MISSING FOR 76 YEARS.

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1413

On the 2nd of March, 2016, having made myself a cup of tea, I sat down at my computer, and began to write a short, but tragic story about three men.They were all Coal Miners, one of them, the Overman (foreman) for the shift, was a very experianced miner, as was his friend, whom he had stopped to talk to during his inspection tour. The third man he did not know well, but he was a good worker, Tadeusz Fojgt, a 23 year old Pole, who had apparently stayed on after the war, and had recently married a local girl. He would never live long enough to regret the pause in his inspection tour, for a few seconds later, at 3.00am, on the 26th April, 1952, the stall where they were standing, without any warning, collapsed, killing all three of them instantly, under a fall of rock and coal weighing between 10 and 20 tons. The other 12 men on the night shift, rushed to the scene, but despite many frantic minutes of digging, it was a hopeless task, and the shift, with heavy hearts, went home early. The Jubilee Colliery, one of a few still operating in the West  Bromwich area, had claimed another 3 victims, one of whom would be the subject of a very long search  by his relatives, for Tadeusz Fojgt had dsappeared from his native Poland in 1944, after being arrested by German Troops in a street sweep, and sent far away back to Germany. He was never seen alive again by his family, but they never gave up the search, all they needed was a stroke of luck. In 2018, Tomek Fojgt, sitting quietly in his home in Torun, Northern Poland, got what he wanted, the vital clues to solve the mystery. He had found, on the Internet, my story of the little mining disaster, and his relatives name. His search now took on some real purpose, frustratingly slow at times, painstakingly waiting for confirmation of the contents of the story, until at last, everything he needed was in place, and he contacted the Website to seek more information. I will be very pleased to assist Tomak where I can, but there are some problems. Work and Employment  records are scarce, and the Jubilee Colliery had not long been added to the  control of the Coal Board. it had been scheduled for closure, which it was, shortly after the accident. There were thousands of refugees after the war, from when and where he obtained documents isn't at all clear. It's not known what papers were given him by the Germans, and it has to be taken into account, that ID and other documents were available on the Black market, all you needed was money. He had obviously been working for some time, and there were some strange employment methods still around. The Colliery was privately owned when he arrived in this Country, and. all he needed to get a job, was to join an independant group of miners, who then contracted with the owner, to work the mine. He didn't actually, at that point, need to have any papers at all. .It seems to be the case, that he may not have wanted to be found, for instance, he did not try and contact his family when he married. He was married for just  68 days, his wife, Iris Garfield, remarried in 1953, her name changing to Johnson. They were married at Somerset Road Methodist Church. Handsworth, on the 16th February, 1952, but did they have a photographer present.The searchers have no images of Tadeusz, so if any were taken, are the pictures still in the Garfield family somewhere. Did any of the Garfield family take any pictures? Well, having finally found him, as is normal, the family now want even more information. This is a perfectly normal reaction, the passing time and circumstanes, are against any such success in this wish, and it may well be, that you may Tomek, have to settle for what you already have. When he died, where he died, and where he is buried. Several million people don't know at all.


Anyone with any information about, Tadeusz Fojgt, George Percy Garfield, 4, Cornwall Road, Handsworth, and his wife Kate, or daughter Iris, or any other siblings, please contact the website.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

May 7, 2020 at 12:37 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1413

UPDATE on Tadeusz Fojgt.


I did say this further search would not be easy, and that's proving to be the case. We have made some progress though,and here is what we now have.


At some point, Tadeusz Fojgt found himself in the British Controled Zone of the now occupied Germany. He was probably already working in the Coal mines of the region, when he was again picked up and questioned about his status. Following the normal practise, he was a little later, given the status of a Displaced Person, and would have been issued with some form of identity documents. About 1946, and with Britian needing workers, he was offered, under the Resettlement Scheme implemented by the British Authorities, both a job, and somewhere to stay in England, with the chance of staying on and becoming a UK Citizen.  Given his age, 16, and believing that his family were all dead, he took, what was for him at the time, the best course of action. He arrived in England in 1947, allocated a job at a Colliery in the Midlands, and  accomodation in nearby Birmingham. He must have felt a great relief at this turn of events, his future now far more secure than it was back in Germany. For the next five years, he would continue to work at the Jubilee Colliery, West Bromwich, Staffordshire, living at number 4, Cornwall Road, Handsworth, Birmingham. Mining is a hard  job, but he had an added insentive, Iris Garfield, the 18 year old daughter of his landlord, whom he had proposed marriage to, the date being set for February 1952. and so it came to pass, but fate then took a hand, and  Tadeusz 's luck, and time, ran out.

What his relatives do not have, is any images of him. Sadly, most of the Garfield family of the time. are all also deceased. We do not know, if any photographs of the Wedding were taken, nor if any were taken of the couple in the years before. There is a chance that to get married, ne needed some form of Identity and other documents, which may include an image of him. We cannot at this stage, access the National Archives, not even to find out if any such infornation actually exsists. Even if I could, this information would only be released to his relatives, which will require a visit to London, as it can't be done online. As I said before Tomek, I think we may have as much as we are ever going to get. I will keep the information on the website active and pass on to you anything that turns up. Sadly, I have other commitments to carry out, but I will respond to help whenever I can. Good luck with the hunt for a picture of him.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

May 25, 2020 at 12:51 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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