[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 19 May, 2003, 16:55 GMT 17:55 UK
Soldier honoured after 55 years
The sons of a World War II soldier who died before he could be demobilised are collecting his medals from the Prince of Wales.

Polish Staff Sergeant Marian Stanislaw Wiktorowski fought for Britain and survived the hostilities, but suffered a fatal heart attack in 1948.

He was buried in a military cemetery in Cannock Chase, Staffordshire.

Prince Charles is to present Mr Wiktorowski's two sons with the four campaign medals their father was never able to claim.

Because of the Cold War, it didn't enter the minds of Poles that they could visit the graves of Poles over here
Dr Graham White

The 1939-45 Star, the Italy Star, the Defence Medal and the War Medal 1939-45 will be handed over to Jozef, 73, and 69-year-old Miroslaw Wiktorowski at a reception at St James's Palace on Monday.

Dr Graham White, honorary consul of the Republic of Poland in Sheffield, was responsible for tracking down the pair after spotting the soldier's grave.

Dr White said: "It was a beautiful cemetery. All the graves were together except for one.

"It was by itself in a corner. That would be intriguing to anyone."

Dr White discovered that Staff Sergeant Wiktorowski died in Britain at the age of 48 while waiting to be demobilised from the Polish Resettlement Corps.

Presidential assistance

"There were so many Poles who had to be demobilised. It had to happen in stages because of the introduction of communism in Poland after the war," Dr White said.

"He was still technically in the forces so was buried in a military cemetery."

Former policeman Wiktorowski had been sent to Siberia after the invasion of Poland, but later managed to travel to Britain to fight against Germany, and saw action in Italy amongst other countries.

Dr White tracked down his family in Torun, Poland, after a lengthy search that was aided by the Polish President.

"Because of the Cold War, it didn't enter the minds of Poles that they could visit the graves of Poles over here and the idea then of getting British medals was ridiculous."

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific