The Norfolk Polish Heritage Group NPHG
Polonijna Grupa z Norfolk 

Zygmunt Josef Minkler and wife Dorothy

Polish 300 Squadron Badge
 

 
Zygmunt Josef Minkler (1923-1990)

My father, Zygmunt Josef Minkler who died in 1990 lived most of his life after the war in NORWICH. His family were Osadnik and had a farm in the Kresy area of eastern Poland, now Russia. When Stalin invaded from the east his whole family and he were exported to a Russian gulag camp in Siberia. The family of 6 were released in the agreement between Stalin and Britain when Stalin needed our help. At that point my father joined the RAF and was flown to Britain. He was the oldest son but had to make up his date of birth so that he could join; I think he was 19 or 20. He served with 300 squadron and his last flights were from Faldingworth in Lincolnshire.


After the war he lived in London married to an English WAF, my mother. He did not go into a Polish resettlement camp but did manage to train in the bakery industry. He and my mother owned a small business and shop in Leytonstone and  I was born 1962 London and in 1961 they moved to Downham Market where they had a bakery business. Around 1965 they moved to Norwich in Somerleyton Gardens in Oxford Street and my father worked the rest of his days in what was Betabake bakery near the airport estate as a foreman. Later that company became Sunblest. 


Unfortunately my parents divorced when I was 8 and I did not know my father as well as I should have done. Recently I have been finding out more about my father and his family who I recall at an early age. He was the oldest son and had 2 brothers and 1 sister. In the 1950s the others came to U.K. into resettlement camps and his younger brother is still alive. A lot of my information was given by my auntie who also lived in Norwich. I recall seeing my uncle on TV in the 1970s; he was a professional wrestler called Cheslaw Minkler and he was also known as the ‘Polish Eagle’.


I, Richard Minkler am 54, and my wife Jo and I, run a driving school called ‘5DAY’. We have a Head Office in Norwich and centres around the country. I am trying to learn polish and would love to meet up with other Polish speakers.


Footnote:

I believe the origin of my name is Austro-German. My father’s mother was Russian and his father was possibly German or Austrian. All the family were actually born on the farm in Poland. 


December 2016

 

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 1960's Betabake Van

Betabake now by Sunblest