June 23, 2008

Bristol dog tags found in South Pacific

A few days ago, an Australian contacted the newspaper looking for help to return dog tags found on a South Pacific island to a Bristol man who fought in World Ward II.
Harry Jas said he possesses the metal identification tag that belonged to E.J Kawiecki, whose next of kin was listed as Alfrieda Kawiecki 257 Main St. Bristol.
The tags apparently belonged to Ezebius J. Kawiecki, who signed up as a private in the Connecticut National Guard in February 1941, about 10 months before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and plunged the nation into war.
According to the National Archives’ World War II Army enlistment records, Kawiecki had a grammar school education and worked as an inspector before joining the military.
Social Security records show he was born in 1915 and died in Bristol in 1981.
It’s not clear whether he has any family remaining in the area. Calls to several Kawieckis have not been returned yet.
The address listed on the dog tags is for an apartment building across the street from the Main Library.
There is no connection to former state Rep. Ed Krawiecki, Jr, who said his family saw service in Africa and Europe during World War II but not in the Pacific against the Japanese.
Jas said the dog tags were found on the island of New Georgia in the Solomon Islands, the most famous of which is Guadalcanal, where a major battle was fought between the Americans and Japan.
Jas said that he has a dozen tags from U.S. military personnel that were apparently found by people who live on the islands.
He said he’s trying to track down relatives or veterans of the war so that he can return the tags and send “a picture of the local who found them.”
If anyone has any information about Kawiecki, I’d sure love to hear it. I’d be happy to pass on anything that anyone knows to Jas.

Update on Tuesday, 11 a.m.: A local genealogist, Jeff Walden, found some interesting material.
He said that the 1930 Census lists a widower named Mitchell Kawiecki on Union Street who had two sons and a daughter named Freida. One of the sons was Joseph, age 15.
It could be, he speculated, that E.J. Kawiecki went by a middle name of Joseph, which is certainly a reasonable guess.
So it’s possible that he was known as Joseph or Joe Kawiecki.
The Alfreida listed as EJ Kawiecki’s contact on the dog tag might well have been his sister in that case. She was 9 years old in 1930, which would make her about 87 today, if she’s still alive.
Any of this help anyone further identify anyone involved?

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

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