Last tribute to Polish war hero who died in Doncaster

It may been more than 20 years since he died.

Wednesday, 11th November 2020, 5:02 pm

But today a World War Two veteran from Doncaster finally got the headstone his service deserved.

Stanislaw Wadas – known locally as Stan – left his home, family and friends in Poland to join the RAF, after his homeland was invaded by the Germans, fighting in the Battle of Britain in 1940.

A picture of him in his uniform stood next to his bed at the Home Covert care home, in Bentley, and was noticed by one of the staff there, former soldier Paul Bristow, who got to know him well over the years.

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Ben Parkinson and Paul Bristow, pictured by the grave of Stanislaw Wadas. Picture: NDFP-10-11-20-WW2Hero 3-NMSY

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When Stan died in 1998, aged 80, Paul was among those at his funeral.

But in recent years, he discovered Stan did not have a proper headstone – and set himself the task of raising the money to provide one, with help from Doncaster wounded war hero Ben Parkinson.

Today, Paul and others were at the graveside to unveil the headstone, which makes reference to Stan’s wartime service, on Armistice Day.

The Headstone of WW2 hero Stanislaw Wadas. Picture: NDFP-10-11-20-WW2Hero 2-NMSY

Paul gave a short graveside speech to mark the occasion, alongside a number of people who donated towards the appeal, and an official from Rose Hill Cemetery, where Stan is buried.

Paul said: “He was an RAF veteran, and I think we have given him the headstone that he deserved.

"Now I feel relief and a lot of emotion.

"I really want to say a massive thank you to all the people who donated, and to Kev Dixon, from Doncaster Memorials, who provided a discounted price for the stone."

Money left over from the appeal will go towards Ben Parkinson’s charity.

Paul said when he spoke to Stan about his service he told him some horrific stories.

He said: “I was one of the lucky few people who went to his funeral in 1998. It truly was an honour to be there for him. I've thought about Stanislaw over the years gone by.”

He added: “I want to thank not only Stanislaw, but every brave honourable Polish serviceman or woman who fought and gave so much for the freedom and Great Britain and the rest of the world in World War Two.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.