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WATCH: 100th birthday celebration held for Second World War hero in city centre

Lt. Edmund Szymczak arriving at Worcester's Guildhall. <i>(Image: Newsquest)</i>
Lt. Edmund Szymczak arriving at Worcester's Guildhall. (Image: Newsquest)

A 100TH birthday celebration was held for a Second World War hero who fought in one of the most gruelling battles of the conflict.

Lt. Edmund Szymczak, of Kidderminster, was surprised with a guard of honour in the city centre before a celebration event was held on the top floor of The Guildhall.

He arrived at 1.15pm to crowds of onlookers paying their respects and was greeted by Tom Wisniewski, founder of the Worcester Polish Association before a trumpet sounded 'Hejnał Mariacki' (the St Mary's Trumpet Call).

This is a traditional, five-note Polish bugle call closely bound to the history and traditions of Kraków.

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From here, Lt. Szymczak was escorted inside and taken upstairs, where crowds met him on the top floor of The Guildhall for speeches.

Organisers of the event arranged for a decorative birthday cake to be made featuring a floral arrangement and pictures of Lt. Szymczak.

Lt. Szymczak fought at the 1944 Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy under General Władysław Anders' Polish II Corps.

it was one of the major turning points in the war.

It resulted in huge casualties for German troops and destroyed their front line on the Eastern Front and meant the Allies could advance on Rome.

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He was one of 17 soldiers who formed the Polish Ex-Servicemen’s Society in Kidderminster in 1946.

A similar event was held last year when the Lieutenant turned 99, where he was presented with letters from political and military figures, including the secretary of state for the president of the Republic of Poland, Adam Kwiatkowski.

Tom Wisniewski said: "Edmund is a great, honest gentleman with a great heart who has been instrumental in campaigning to keep alive Polish heritage and values in the UK post-war and is an integral part of our community."