On September 16, Jozef Wojciehowski will be meeting up with comrades who served with the 1st Polish Parachute Brigade at Arnhem in Holland.

He will be taking his daughter, Elizabeth Foster, and her husband Stephen. Emilia, his wife for the past 64 years, is too ill.

He was last there three years ago, when the Queen of the Netherlands posthumously decorated Major General Stanislaw Sosabowski, the commander of the Polish Parachute Brigade and honoured the brigade’s flag.

Mr Wojciehowski is a friendly, cheerful man, with a wonderful memory. But when he gets to the bridge across the River Rhine – notoriously, the ‘bridge too far’ – and looks back at World War Two his prevailing thoughts will be bitter.

Bitterness not just against the Russians and Germans who, in September 1940, carved up Poland between them, but also bitterness against the Americans and British for succumbing to Stalin and allowing Poland to be a vassal of the USSR.

On August 24, 1940, Nazi Germany and the USSR shocked the world by signing a non-aggression pact. Less than a month later both had invaded Poland. Five months after the USSR invasion, 17-year old Jozef and his mother Jadwiga were deported to Siberia.

Mr Wojciehowski said: “The Russians came to our town, Mielnica Poldolska in eastern Poland. They came at three o’clock in the morning. When I opened the door two soldiers with fixed bayonets, just touching my chest, asked me if I had any arms.

“Then a major in the NKVD – the Soviet security police – told me I was a hostile element and would be rehabilitated.

“They usually gave you 15 minutes to get ready. This man was humane, he advised us what to take.”

In the summer of that year, when the Germans turned on their erstwhile Soviet ally, Polish soldiers captured by the Russians were allowed to form an army to fight the Nazis.

He said: “We packed up our things on carts and went and I joined the Polish Army on Russian soil.”

The Poles, under the command of the British, were sent to Persia (Iran), Iraq, Palestine and South Africa. From there Jozef and his comrades were shipped to Greenock in Scotland, which is where he enlisted in the Polish Parachute Brigade.

“Our commander wanted to take us to Warsaw, where there was the uprising against the Nazis. But the British did not agree.

“I was a lucky one, it was badly planned. I was parachuted outside Arnhem, to Driel, on the south side of the Rhine. I was a wireless operator.

“A lot of soldiers were shot trying to cross the Rhine at night. A lot more were shot on the retreat from Arnhem to Driel.

“One of the soldiers who had swum back, he was naked, a British Para. I had on a spare khaki shirt and gave it to him. Ten years after the war, in the Polish ex-servicemen’s club in Bradford, I met him again. His name was Desmond.

“He was kicked out of the Paras because when he got drunk he used foul language. The same happened in the Polish Club, but I spoke to the president and got him reinstated.”

Mr Wojciehowski was brought back to England and was demobbed in August 1947. He got a job as a weaver at Barnoldswick. Learning that pay was better in the wool industry, he came to a mill at Bingley to work on the night shift in 1948.

He now lives in Allerton.

When Nazi Germany was re-arming in the 1930s, Hermann Goering said the people had a choice between guns or butter. Preparation for war brought Germany out of the Depression.

Jim Hargreaves, MBE, born in January 1921, in Scholemoor, went right through the war as both a gunner and a cook. Guns and butter were a reality to him too.

He was an apprentice in Brown-Vickers, a Jacquard mill on Ingleby Road, from the age of 16.

Mr Hargreaves said: “Everybody thought it would be over in six months.”

He had volunteered for the 70th West Yorkshire Field Artillery at Valley Parade (opposite Belle Vue barracks) in the Territorial Army. On August 28, 1939, while at firing camp in Driffield, he was called up.

Along with 300 to 400 other men, he was barracked at Belle Vue School in Manningham Lane and then drafted into an anti-aircraft unit to serve on the coast at Southampton. He was there throughout the Battle of Britain, shooting at German bombers heading inland.

“I wasn’t really in any danger except from the air” – and from U-boats when he was being transported out to Cairo from Liverpool, via South Africa. He volunteered to go overseas and was attached to a Scottish unit that was sent to Suez.

Mr Hargreaves was then stationed in the southern Italian ports of Taranto and Brindisi until D-Day on June 6, 1944. He was demobbed in April 1946.

He said: “I wasn’t a happy soldier. My dual job, and being an NCO, kept me going through the war. I wasn’t born to be a soldier; I was just caught up in the system. That’s life. I got through it. That’s why I joined the Royal British Legion to do welfare work. You’ve got to be grateful for your escapes.”