99-year-old Polish WWII veteran honoured in Edinburgh
PR dla Zagranicy
A 99-year-old veteran who has lived in Edinburgh since World War II has been honoured by his homeland with the Golden Cross of Merit.
Soldiers of Poland's 1st Armoured Division, of which Kozub was a member, by a destroyed German column, Normandy, August 1944. Photo: wikimedia commons.
Bolesław Kozub, who fought in Normandy in 1944, was decorated at the Polish Consulate in Edinburgh on Monday, just six months before he reaches his centenary.
Like many fellow Polish soldiers, Kozub did not return to his homeland after the war, as a Moscow-backed communist regime was installed in Warsaw.
''He was a member of the Polish forces in the west, so he was very much involved in the fight for freedom,'' a spokesman for the consulate told the Edinburgh Evening News.
''And regardless of his age, he is still an active member of the Polish community.''
The Golden Cross of Merit is a civilian order that has been presented to figures including tennis player Agnieszka Radwańska and the late inventor Rudolf Gundlach.
“This award is to say thank you to him for all his efforts from the consulate general, and effectively the Polish government.”
Kozub saw active service in the Battle of the Falaise Pocket of August 1944, as part of the 1st Polish Armoured Division. The Allied victory opened the road to Paris and the German border. Kozub ultimately advanced as far as Wilhelmshaven, Germany.
After the war, Kozub married a Scot, Catherine Mackenzie. His children say it took him many years to talk about his wartime experiences.
“He didn’t go back to Poland for 20 years – he couldn’t, the communists wouldn’t let you travel there,''' daughter Denyse Kozub reflected.
''To leave his country of birth and not go back for 20 years was hard for him, but he is very fond of Scotland.” (nh)