THE family of a Polish war veteran are set to remember his extraordinary life after he passed away at a town care home.
Augustyn Ludovic Lloyd died peacefully at Westmead Care Home on Tuesday, January 15 and his funeral will be held at Redditch Crematorium on Tuesday (February 5) - the day he would have been marking his 89th birthday.
His death has led his family to remember his life and reveal the remarkable journey he took from his birth in Poland to his final days in Droitwich Spa.
Augustyn Ludovic Lloyd, formerly known as Dzida in his native country, was born in 1924 in an area of southern Poland called Laka.
After spending his childhood on a farm in the region, the Second World War would begin a journey for the then 17-year-old that would see him take on his county’s Nazi occupiers, find a new home in the Midlands, find love and then eventually return to visit the village he left all those years ago.
After two years of Poland being under German rule, Augustyn heard news of a Polish general forming a regiment attached to the 8th British Army in Italy. He escaped from German control and spent six months making his way across Europe so he could enlist.
It wasn’t long before he was involved in the famous battle at Monte Cassino, a fight that saw many of his countrymen killed and injured. It was during this battle that he too was injured and hospitalised for six months.
Son-in-Law Alan Bourne said: “The whole experience would remain with Augustyn for the rest of his life and it is only in later years that I managed to get a small amount of information from him.”
However, following the war, Augustyn discovered he was unable to return to his homeland due to a pact made regarding the division of Europe. It is at this time that he came to England, arriving in Liverpool in August 1946. A year later he moved to Birmingham to work and eventually gained employment as a grinder in a factory in Aston. He stayed in the job until he retired aged 68.
It was during his life in the Midlands that he met partner Ellen in the late 1940s. The pair shared a home with her two sons, Jeff and John.
It is at this time that Augustyn decided to change his surname from Dzida to Lloyd, taking Ellen’s surname as his own.
Soon after Ellen and Augustyn had a daughter, Diane, who was born in 1953.
“In the early 1970s he moved to his own house in Bearwood and enjoyed working on his allotment, something that would take him back to his childhood when he lived on a farm in Poland,” said Alan.
It wasn’t until 1995 that Augustyn finally decided to visit his old home in Poland.
“He met up with six of his cousins who he had spent his childhood with. It was a very emotional trip and when we arrived at his old school, which was still standing and being used, it was one of the only times that we had seen him get very emotional. Although his cousins wanted him to return he said he never wanted to go back to Poland.”
And so, in 2008, the war veteran decided to make Droitwich Spa his home.
He took up residence at Westmead Care Home in the town and became a popular figure until his death on Tuesday, January 15.
His son-in-law added: “Augustyn would never go into many details about his early life, but the small information he did speak of tells of an amazing story of courage and determination.”