AMBASSADOR'S BLOG - A MOVING HUMAN AND MILITARY STORY

13.07.11


Four British medals are laid out on a Union Flag.  The family stand proudly as the Defence Attache says a few words, citing a moving text from the Polish War Cemetery at Monte Cassino in Italy which holds the graves over 1,000 Poles who died storming the abbey there in May 1944.  Then we present the Second World War medals to the daughter, grandson and other family members of a Polish farmer whose story encapsulates the suffering and turbulence which the 20th century brought to this part of Europe.

The remarkable Stanaslaw Wyslouch was born in what was Poland in 1920 but which became part of the Soviet Union in 1939.  He was interned by Soviet forces until 1941.  After the German attack on the Soviet Union, he was released and joined the Polish armed forces, later joining the British 8th Army via Iran, Iraq and Palestine; and fought in the Italian campaign of 1944-1945.  Unable to return home, he lived the rest of his life in the UK and died in 1990 having witnessed the end of Communist rule in Poland.  I recommend the full text of the citation for a humbling and moving story of bravery, suffering, separation and – ultimately – hope as Poland and Ukraine rejoin a reunited Europe.

Leigh Turner
British Ambassador to Ukraine

 



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