6.  The Polish army at last!

by Danuta Mączka Gradosielska

We arrived in Guzar, Uzbekistan, on 22 February 1942 - our journey's end – and to the Polish Army! ​

I dreamt of joining the army - but at the Volunteer Office I was told that being “17 in four weeks’ time” was too young. I stood on the bridge, disappointed, in tears. Two passing soldiers asked why I was crying. They said “Wipe your tears, go back and tell them you are 18". So that is what I did and, on 25 February, I was accepted into the Polish Women’s Auxiliary Service (PSK).

Wonderful news - Father had found my brother, Bogus. After a perilous journey, he was in hospital recovering from typhoid.

Now I received a proper Women’s Auxiliary Service uniform. Although it was an English uniform, there was a Polish heart beating inside it.

Danuta's Diary + route map
Life in Kresy
Deportation to Siberia
Life in Siberia
The "Amnesty" 
Evacuation to Persia
 The Italian Campaign

10.  Post-war life  

I was issued with a man’s uniform: the trousers reached up to my armpits and the flies began at my chin! The shoes were much too big, so that I lost them with each step I took! I had to stuff straw in the front so that I could walk! I embroidered the Polish eagle badge on my cap myself.

I was given guard-duty for which I received a rifle and a bayonet.

My orders were that, if anyone approached, I was to challenge them twice with 
       “Who goes there?”
and, after the third time, I had to shout
        “Stop or I will shoot!” 
In reality, I had no bullets .......... but I thought, “only I know that”.