With the passing of multiple generations since the landing in 1915, direct connections to the First World War are becoming fewer, but there are still many stories to tell.
WK client manager Shirley Culley is reminded of her father at this time of year, who spent time in forced labour camps during the Second World War.
Here is her story:
My father was 23 years old when WW2 broke out. He was Polish and living in a village near Wielun (one of the first places invaded by the Germans). His parents, his younger brother and he were shipped off to the Siberian Forest camps at Novosibirsk and spent part of the war labouring there under the Russians. His father and brother died in the camp. His mother survived and returned to Poland after the war.
My father managed to “escape” when the Russians joined the Allies and made his way to the Middle East. He joined up with the Polish Free Army in Libya.
He fought in various engagements including Monte Cassino where he saw a lot of his friends die. He survived though I gather he had lots of nightmares about the experience later.
He was demobbed to England after the war since the newly communist Poland didn’t want their soldiers back.
He lived in England and only managed one trip home to Poland before he died at the age of 59.
The team at WK would like to acknowledge the ANZACs, and all New Zealand soldiers this ANZAC Day. Lest We Forget.