Russian Garrison 1892-1915
In 1892 the Russians started to erect wooden, one-storey buildings, which became the beginning of the new military garrison. Two additional brick complexes of barracks were built in the later period. In 1899 Tsar Nicholas II officially named the Garrison in Jabłonna „The Field Marshal Hurko Camp”. Infantry regiments, a railway battalion and a balloon sub-unit were stationed in the garrison.
After the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, the Garrison became an important mobilisation camp. It was expected that-due to the strategic location – the camp would be exposed to the enemy attack. The German–Russian front did not reach Jabłonna until the summer of 1915.
Legionowo and its vicinity during the First World War 1915-1918
German Troops began to occupy the area of current Legionowo District at the beginning of August 1915. For the next theree years barracks in Jabłonna (Legionowo) and Zegrze had been training centres for soldiers preparing to fight at the Easters Front, and later – those centres were turned into quarantine camps for prisoner of war returning from Russian captivity.
In 1917 the soldiers of the Polish Legions were stationed in the barracks in Zegrze Południowe, and in the years 1917-1918 an internment camp for the Legions’ officers was operating in Beniaminów.
On 11 November 1918 the company of the Polish Military Organisations attacked barracks in Legionowo. The Germans signed the capitulation and abandoned the Garrison on 14 November 1918. The Barracks in Zegrze were taken over by the soldiers of the Polish Military Organisation on 11 November 1918.
The Garrison in Legionowo – the Interwar Period 1918-1939
In 1919 the barracks, which the Polish Army occupied, were given the name „Legionowo”. During the Polish-Soviet war in 1920 the Garrison constitututed one of the major training centres for soldiers sent to fight against the Bolsheviks.
After the termination of all military actions in Legionowo several specialized military units were stationed here: the 1st Armoured Trains Division, the 2nd Balloon Battalion and the 2nd Railroad Bridges Battalion.
In the 1930s the Legionowo Garrison of 3000 soldirs was teeming with life. At that time, the town grew rapidly around it. Many Polish officers serving in the Garrison settled permanently in Legionowo and built Houses for their families here.
German occupation 1939-1944
After the attack on 1 September 1939, German troops were approaching Warsaw. Military units stationed in Legionowo took part in the fight against the invader.
The German army arrived in Legionowo and took over the barracks on 13 September. In 1939, at the premises of current Police Training Centre, hospitals for Polish and German soldiers wounded during the fight were organised. Later, a hospital conducted by the Bulgarian Red Cross was operating there. Workshops for military vehicles, a transport base and warehouses were set in the barracks. In the years 1942-1943 the Turkestan Legion Training Centres was functioning here. From the very beginning of the occupation the Germans terrorized the population of Legionowo. Since the autumn of 1939 the people of the town had undertaken underground activities.
In 1944, the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising coincided with the approaching Soviet-German front. From 1 to 4 August the units of the 1st Region „Marianowo – Brzozów” Sub-district VII „Obroża” [„Collar”] of Warsaw District of the Polish Home Army fought against Germans in Legionowo, Zegrze, Chotomów and Lasy Nieporeckie.
The fights for Legionowo and its vicinity 1944-1945
The 1st Tadeusz Kościuszko Infantry Division had been associated with Legionowo and its vicinity since October 1944. Its soldiers fought for Żerań, Tarchomin, Henryków, Buchnik, and Jabłonna and they reached the suburbs of Legionowo in the vicinity of Sobieskiego Street, taking over those towns unaided by 28 October 1944. This famed unit of the Polish Army suffered great losses during the fights.
Fierce pitched battles were waged at the front around Chotomów until the Vistula-Oder Offensive began in 1945. About 50 division soldiers died and around 200 were wounded during the fights. Several months of clashes lead to a significant destruction of the surround towns and villages.
The Garrison after the Second World War
In 1945 the 1st Warsaw Armoured Brigade and the 2nd Automobile Training Regiment were stationed in Legionowo barracks. In the same year, the 1st Sapper Battalion, as the first unit of the 1st Warsaw Tadeusz Kościuszko Infantry Division was transferred to Legionowo, thereby starting the the long-lasting bond between the city and the division.
In 1947 the command of the 1st Division and a signal battalion began to operate in Legionowo. In the following years several military units were stationed in the Legionowo barracks: antitank, rocket and anti-aircraft artillery as well as mechanised, transport, maintenance and medical sub-units.
In 2011 the 1st Warsaw Mechanised Division was disbanded, and on 19 May 2012 a dignified farewell of the 1st Legionowo Supply Battalion flag took place. The 1st Legionowo Supply Battalion was the last unit of the Division.
In 2013 the Minister of National Defence decided on setting up the National Cryptology Centre in Legionowo.
The history of the Officers’ Mess building
The building of the former Officers’ Mess was a part of wooden-brick complex of tsarist barracks from the late nineteenth century. During the interwar period the building was assigned as the Officers’Mess for the 2nd Balloon Battalion and since 1932 – as the Garrison Officers’ Mess. After 1945 the building served various purposes, eg. as a military shop.
Owing to the combined efforts of Legionowo outhorities and Legionowo Frends’ Society the building was scheduled in 1999; however, the restoration works began after 2011. Thanks to the EU grant, the reconstruction of the building and its relocation from the original site next to the railroad to the Piaski estate became possible. In 2012 the branch of the Historical Museum in Legionowo was established in the reconstructed building.