Reader's letter: 'My dad’s story of surviving Second World War'
In a week when the bravery of those in the First World War is especially remembered, I remember this unremarkable man who survived the Second World War.
He was taken from his two-year -old son and pregnant wife, who he never saw again.
Deemed to be ‘an enemy of the people’ for the crime of having almost completed his engineering qualifications, he was transported from Poland by Stalinist forces to the Gulags in Siberia.
Surviving the horrors of the Gulag and weighing a mere 45kg, he was ‘freed’ by the Churchill-Stalin pact to be forcibly marched 2,000 miles through the then Persia.
Surviving this, he joined the Desert Rats, conscripted to fight for a country he had barely heard of.
He did nothing remarkable for the war effort in his ‘engineering role’ as a driver.
Sent to fight the ‘lost cause’ at Monte Cassino, this unremarkable man survived a battle none were expected to survive.
He was unable to return to his country and family. Those who sent him to the Gulag were now in control and he had to fight to remain in the country he had fought for, so as not to be repatriated to certain death.
This unremarkable man made a new life in Britain, adapting to a different language and different culture.
He never spoke of what happened to him.
He never drove again.
This unremarkable man did nothing brave other than to survive.
This unremarkable man was my remarkable daddy.
Picture: Bruno Gratz and his daughter Yvonne. Bruno made a new life in Britain after the Second World War