Kazimierz Szmid was one of the last surviving Polish paratroopers who had fought during the Battle of Arnhem. His regiment, part of the 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade, were dropped near Driel on the south side of the River Rhine after two days of frustrating delay due to bad weather. In the event, the British troops defending the bridge had to withdraw and the Poles, without adequate river crossing equipment, could only hold defensive positions to assist the survivors to escape across the river from the north.
Szmid and his family had been forced from their homes by Soviet troops in February 1940, herded into cattle trucks and deported to Siberia under extreme weather conditions where they were forced to work in the forests. The family became split and in due course managed to leave Russia into Persia where Szmid joined General Anders Army before training in England as a parachutist. His father had died in Russia but the rest of his family were reunited after the war and settled in England.
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