93 year old receives late medal...


2015-06-26 11:39:59


93 year old receives late medal...

Polish man who survived slave labour in Siberia receives honour from the RAF

Stanley Rockminster grew up in Poland, and trained as a pilot there.

When war broke out, however, he flew south for the safety of the Romanian border with his station commander.

However they were shot down in a cornfield just short of it, by the Russians who they hadn't even realised were a threat.

This was the start of a long six years of war for 'Rocky', as he and his co-pilot were set to work on the Trans-Siberian railway. Conditions and food were unspeakable.

But then the Russians cut his 15 year sentence and allowed him to be transported to Britain in 1942.

Rocky arrived in Glasgow to a great reception and was transported down to Kirkham, still in lice-ridden rags from Russia, but now being fed and celebrated.

After a short period to recover he joined the Polish Squadron of the RAF and began to fly missions.

At first he could not even speak English. Nevertheless, he picked it up as quickly as he could and began to fly missions.

British bombers needed fighter planes to engage the enemy if they were attacked and Rocky took on this role and stuck to it doggedly.

"It was frightening every time. Nobody could say it wasn't. But I am proud of my service." he explained.

Rocky remained in the UK, applying for citizenship.

He also remained with the RAF, applying to be an instructor until retirement from that role in 1968. It was when flying over Gower, that he decided he liked the look of the area and now lives in Swansea.

He left flying after that. But just last year when he was aged 92, his family arranged for him to fly again and to his surprise it came back immediately, like riding a bike.

Rocky finally receivedhis RAF Association Veterans badgelast week, though he had already been awarded the Polish Iron Cross - a major honor - by his home country.

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