'He was a gentleman in the true sense of the word': War veteran Jan Zawadzki dies aged 100
PUBLISHED: 17:00 12 February 2019 | UPDATED: 12:22 14 February 2019
A popular and well-loved Second World War veteran, Jan Zawadzki has died aged 100.
Jan Zawadzki, who was described as “an inspirational role model”, died surrounded by his friends and family at James Paget University Hospital on February 8.
The “local legend” celebrated his 100th birthday last year with his son, friends and his family.
Mr Zawadzki settled in England after the Second World War, but originally hailed from a rural village near Dubno in what is now Ukraine.
He was conscripted to serve in the Red Army at Leningrad and Stalingrad, before moving theatres and spending the last two years of the war serving in a Polish division of the British Eighth Army under General Montgomery.
He ended up on the front line in Italy, carrying out motorised reconnaissance in the Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944.
After the war, he was naturalised as a British citizen and found himself stationed at Seething Camp, near Bungay.
According to his son Paul Zawadzki, he then fell in love with the Waveney Valley as it reminded him of home. He later met his wife, Mary while working in Broome.
Paul said: “His dramatic wartime exploits were well known to all who spoke to him, but he always managed to maintain a positive and humorous attitude even in the face of horrific experiences throughout his seven years in active combat.
“Dad’s final hours were peaceful and dignified, and I am so heartened by the compassion and respect afforded to him by all who came into contact with him.
“The kind words I have heard from everyone I have spoken to who knew him makes me feel so very proud to be his son. He was an inspirational role model and I strive to take on board the same attitude in my own life.
“He was a gentleman in the true sense of the word, and had the unique ability to make people feel they were special in his eyes.”
The community are invited to Waveney Memorial Park and Crematorium, Beccles on Thursday, February 21 at 10am.
Mr Zawadzki’s family have requested donations to be made to the Armed Forces Charity SSAFA jan-zawadzki fundraising page.