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War veteran meets Prince Harry to mark battle’s 70th anniversary

JPCT 310514 S14230469x Horsham. Kazimierz Domanski, a Polish war veteran, went to the war commemoration in Monte Casino recently and met Prince Harry  -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-140306-110709001

JPCT 310514 S14230469x Horsham. Kazimierz Domanski, a Polish war veteran, went to the war commemoration in Monte Casino recently and met Prince Harry -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-140306-110709001

A Horsham resident and Polish war veteran was complimented by Prince Harry at a recent commemoration event.

Kazimierz Domanski, of Rusper Road, served in the British Army from 1941 to 1947 and fought on the frontline in the Second World War in the UK and abroad.

Last month he returned to Monte Cassino where he was among 50 surviving veterans marked the 70th anniversary of capturing the Monte Cassino hilltop in 1944.

It was one of the most challenging battles of the war with soldiers climbing the steep, rocky mountain face while braving bad weather and relentless Nazi attacks.

Former major Mr Domanski, 89, was hit by a mortar bomb. He said: “You cannot imagine it. If a bullet didn’t get you, you got a rock on you.

“I was laying for dead. The British Army picked me up and took me to the ambulance and took me to the field hospital.”

Prince Harry highlighted difficulties of the five month battle at the commemorations as part of a two day visit to Italy.

Mr Domanski said: “Prince Harry was there shaking hands with the veterans. I said to him, ‘Hello sir’.

“He said, ‘No, I salute you because you are a combatant’. I said, ‘I salute you because you are Royal Highness’.

“I liked him very much. He’s a lovely young man. He was dressed in a white uniform with a sash and his cap.”

The Prince was not the first Royal Mr Domanski has met.

He said: “I was stationed in Forfar, Scotland. That was when I met King George VI because Balmoral is there.

“He offered me a cigarette and we were told if he offers you cigarettes you must never refuse.

“I had to smoke it.”

He also recalled a time he was reprimanded while he was guarding the coastline from German invasion there.

“It was a cold November and I turned my back on the sea. I heard ‘soldier, you turned your back on the sea’.

“I was confined to barracks for four days because I turned my back on the sea.

“The wind was so cold on the golf course, I turned my back for seconds.”

Mr Domanski first came to the UK with his brother, who also survived the war.

He received numerous medals for his service in the British Army, including the King’s Medal - one not normally given to foreign born soldiers.

After the war he went to Cambridge University to study mathematics and became a chartered engineer.

He met his wife Jean while he was at university and his work brought them south. They first moved to Capel in 1964 and then came to Horsham in 1980.

The couple, who had three children and 11 grandchildren, had just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary when she died last year.

He said: “She was a lovely lady. I met her while she was still at high school and I was at university.

“I miss her so much. We were married 60 years and three days. She was absolutely perfect.”

 

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