As the sun shone down on the Ilford Park Polish Home in Devon, residents made their way from the church service remembering those who bravely fought and lost their lives during the Battle of Monte Cassino…

The memorial service marked the 75th anniversary of a battle that saw an estimated 48,000 Polish soldiers fighting as part of the Allied assault during the final stages between 17 January and 18 May 1944 on Italian soil during World War 2.

The service, organised by the MOD’s Veterans UK, part of Defence Business Services, and The Royal British Legion, was held on Tuesday 14 May 2019 and was conducted by Father Jarek Kucharczyk in the Ilford Park Church situated within the home.

Three Polish residents who fought in the battle, Mr Zenon Slomka (96), Mr Waclaw Domagala (95) and Mr Jan Grzesik (93), attended the service alongside other Polish residents and their families. Mr Slomka said: “It is important that we remember all those who lost their lives in the battle and throughout the war. It was an excellent service.”

6 standard bearers were part of the service proceedings whilst a bugler played the Last Post. Attending dignitaries included Deputy Lieutenant Robin Barlow, Lieutenant Colonel Andy Pierce, Councillor Ken Purchase, Mayor of Newton Abbot and local and county chairmen of the Royal British Legion. Colonel Norbert Czerbniak, Deputy Defence, Military, Naval and Air Attaché from the Embassy of Poland, also attended.

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