Remembrance Day - November 11, 2012 : Remembering Dad
Every year as Remembrance Day approaches, I think of my father who served with the Polish Forces under British Command during WWII.
My father passed away when I was 21 yrs old. I often wish that I had listened more closely to the stories he had to tell, and had asked him more questions rather than wave him off like the disinterested teenager that I was.
A cherished handful of faded black and white images remain - taken somewhere, sometime during his WWII service in Russia, Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, Egypt, and Italy, where he was wounded during the infamous Battle of Monte Cassino. He received the Army Medal, Cross of Monte Cassino.
Sadly, information is lacking about when and where most of the photos were taken. I am curious about the shot of him wearing a kaffiyeh and the young boys giggling in the background, or him posing with his buddies under what appears to be a citrus tree. Who are the many other handsome young soldiers with him? Did any of them immigrate to Canada after the war too? Who took the photos? So many questions that will never be answered.
As years passed, I wanted to learn more about my father's service during the war. I wanted to see where the Battle of Monte Cassino took place - I needed to know where dad was wounded. I wanted his military records. I contacted the Ministry of Defence in the UK to request his military records, which they provided. And with a big surprise - they also informed me that my father was entitled to four military awards, that were never issued to him. Bittersweet.
A Hipstamatic photo of the four medals that my father never received.
British: Italy Star, the War Medal 1939-1945, 1939-1945 Star, and the Defence Medal.
So, on this Rememberance Day, here are a few of my favourite images of my dad. Perhaps this may encourage you to listen your loved ones stories so that you may preserve your family's history for future generations.
Do you have a favourite family war time photo you would like to share?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will include it in our Remembrance Day online photo gallery.
Tell us what makes it special for you.
My father on far left.
Dad, on left wearing a kaffiyeh.
Dad, back row, third in from right.
Dad, far left, 1942, Mosul.
Dad, back row standing, fourth in from left.
Dad, third in from left, posing with a citrus tree.
Dad, front row standing, far left.
Dad, seated, back row far right.
Dad, second from left.
Dad, far left, 1946 - photo was likely taken sometime around his demobilization on October 15, 1946.
Dad, far right.