Polish veteran will 'never forget' allied assault as Hampshire's Poppy Appeal is launched

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A POLISH veteran from the Second World War says we must remember how many countries joined forces for the allied assault on Germany.

Hampshire’s Poppy Appeal, organised by the Royal British Legion, was launched at the Submarine Museum in Gosport this morning by the commander of Portsmouth Naval Base, Commodore JJ Bailey, and a survivor from the Battle of Monte Cassino, Polish veteran Colonel Otton Hulacki.

Commodore JJ Bailey, commander of Portsmouth Naval Base with Polish veteran Colonel Otton Hulacki. Picture: Sarah Standing (251019-194)

Commodore JJ Bailey, commander of Portsmouth Naval Base with Polish veteran Colonel Otton Hulacki. Picture: Sarah Standing (251019-194)

The battle was a series of four successful assaults by allied forces on key Italian strongholds from January to May 1944, resulting in 55,000 casualties.

At the museum, a ceremonial poppy was passed from Commodore Bailey to Colonel Hulacki, who now lives on the Isle of Wight.

The theme of this year is ‘remembering together’, which he says is a timely reminder of how allies from across Europe worked together.

Colonel Otton, now 97 years old, said: ‘It’s really important to me that I support the cause.

From left, Ally Davies, visit and events manager and Poppy Appeal Organiser for Portsmouth Naval Base, Commodore JJ Bailey, commander of Portsmouth Naval Base with Polish veteran Colonel Otton Hulacki and Claire Baverstock, general manager of the Submarine Museum. Picture: Sarah Standing (251019-185)

From left, Ally Davies, visit and events manager and Poppy Appeal Organiser for Portsmouth Naval Base, Commodore JJ Bailey, commander of Portsmouth Naval Base with Polish veteran Colonel Otton Hulacki and Claire Baverstock, general manager of the Submarine Museum. Picture: Sarah Standing (251019-185)

‘We should support the Poppy Appeal because it does so much for veterans; it looks after everyone in the forces.

‘It’s been such a long time now, 75 years since D-Day, but I still remember it all. There were English chaps at Monte Cassino fighting alongside Polish troops, and none of us will ever forget it.’

Money raised by the Royal British Legion during this appeal will go towards the care and support of forces personnel both past and present.

Commodore Bailey says launching the appeal was an ‘immense privilege’.

Commodore JJ Bailey, commander of Portsmouth Naval Base with children from Portchester Community School, who attended the Poppy Appeal launch. Picture: Sarah Standing (251019-196)

Commodore JJ Bailey, commander of Portsmouth Naval Base with children from Portchester Community School, who attended the Poppy Appeal launch. Picture: Sarah Standing (251019-196)

He said: ‘It’s really fantastic to launch the appeal on behalf of the Royal British Legion and the icing on the cake was meeting Colonel Otton, reflecting on the fact that this year is about remembering together, the work that we do with our allies across the world today and in the past.

‘At the naval base there has been a lot of time to reflect on our service today and those who served before us.

‘Remembrance is about the armed forces and the nation coming together, so as people buy and wear their poppies they’re also able to take a moment to think about what those people before us sacrificed for their country.’

Appeal launches for Portsmouth and Gosport will take place this weekend.

Commodore JJ Bailey presents a ceremonial poppy to Polish veteran Colonel Otton Hulacki. Picture: Sarah Standing (251019-176)

Commodore JJ Bailey presents a ceremonial poppy to Polish veteran Colonel Otton Hulacki. Picture: Sarah Standing (251019-176)