Bill Leake was delighted to see this picture of young Colin Judge with his shopfitter colleagues at AE Hadley in Portsmouth in the mid-1950s.
However, it was not little apprentice Colin who caught his eye, but the man standing on the left who Colin named as Lewi Sinclire.
Bill, of Baffins Road, Copnor, Portsmouth, remembers him well as Lewis Sinclare, and the image of him brought memories flooding back.
Bill said: ‘He was a former Polish army officer who escaped from German-occupied Poland during the war and he took this English name as his Polish one was unpronounceable. He was a good friend of my father’s.’
Bill, who sent this picture of Lew on a visit to Hampton Court in 1964 or 1965, remembers that in the mid-1960s ‘Lew’ would join he and his parents for drinks at the weekend.
‘We used to meet upstairs in the lounge of the Horseshoe in Kings Road, go on to the Elms Tavern then Southsea Liberal Club where sometimes we would be joined by a couple of Lew’s countrymen who were good company.’
He said ‘Lew’ spoke good, heavily-accented English and remembers him telling them he worked at Hadleys.
‘When he first came here his English was not good and he used to tell the story of the time he went into a paper shop for some cigarettes and asked for 20 Players. The lady serving said: ‘Sorry, no Players’, so Lew asked for 20 Sorrys.’
Bill added: ‘His mother and family still lived in Poland at a town called Bydgoszcz and he used to drive there once a year in his Vauxhall Velox, or Woxell Wellox as he used to say.
‘He used to hide luxury items in the hub caps for his family and friends. They used to think he was a millionaire.’
Bill said Lew would tell the story of how, trying to escape the Germans one night, he and some friends hid in some hay in a barn. ‘The Germans came along and bayoneted the hay and Lew had one stuck in him. He couldn’t cry out as the game would have been up. He was made of strong stuff.’
Bill said Lew died in the late 1970s or early 1980s and believes by then he had returned to live in Poland.