Polish ‘Boy From Nowhere’ was hero for British Army who fought in one of war’s bloodiest battles and even guarded infamous Nazi

Mrs Terri Elas with a photograph of her husband Bruno who served in the Second World War
Mrs Terri Elas with a photograph of her husband Bruno who served in the Second World War

A widow has recalled the war-time exploits of her late husband, who after suffering tragedy in his native Poland came over to England and fought bravely for the Allied Forces.

Mrs Elas, who lives in Upper Abbotts Hill, said her husband Bruno arrived in Normandy the day after D-Day, which took place 70 years ago today.

“He didn’t tell us a lot, he didn’t like to speak about it. He used to have nightmares and I’d wake him up.

“He didn’t talk a lot about the war, but he did talk about the Battle of Monte Cassino.”

Mr Elas was Polish by birth and came to England when he was 14. He told officials he was older, and joined the British army.

He served at the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy, one of the toughest, bloodiest campaigns of the Second World War. And as a military policeman he later guarded Hilter’s right hand man Rudolph Hess for a period of time while Hess was imprisoned at Spandau Prison.

“He was very proud of that,” said Mrs Elas.

The couple met while they both worked at Tindal Hospital in Aylesbury.

Mrs Elas was divorced with two young sons and Mr Elas was a widower.

“He used to call himself A Boy From Nowhere because he had lost his country, his first wife Nora and their baby boy Roger who died when he was about one-year-old.

“He never went back to Poland, but he really loved England. He was the resident hairdresser and barber at Tindal for 39 years.”

Some years after retiring Mr Elas developed pancreatic cancer and died eight weeks after diagnosis.

Mrs Elas said: “It was the most dreadful shock in the world. He was a lovely man, I was so very proud of him, he called me his dear lady.

“When he died there were people queued up outside the crematorium and up the stairs, and I didn’t know them all.

“He was so well known.

“We played the song A Boy From Nowhere by Tom Jones at his funeral because it relates so well to him.”

Later this year Mrs Elas is travelling to Italy with her friend, widower Fred Cowell to lay a cross and poppy at Monte Cassino.

She said: “I want to honour Bruno, I used to think he was an angel, one of the finest of men.”