A century for ex-soldier Paul
6:00am Wednesday 11th September 2013 in News
A FORMER Polish soldier who shortened his name to please his friends and work colleagues in Bolton has celebrated his 100th birthday.
Paul Reid, who is a resident at the Strathmore Nursing Home, Seymour Road, Astley Bridge, with a party and a visit by the Mayor of Bolton, Councillor Colin Shaw.
Mr Reid, who was born on September 9, 1913, in the Polish town of Gliwice, as Pawl Szendzielorz, came to Britain as part of a regiment of Silesian soldiers during the 1940s to continue the fight against Nazi Germany.
However, it was during the 1960s that he made a decision to change his name.
Friend, Martin Challender, said: “He told me that he changed his name because people couldn't spell it or even pronounce it during the 1960s. He chose Reid because it was one of the shortest names about."
During the war Mr Reid served as a lance corporal with special forces of the British 8th Infantry Brigade, based in Scotland, for which he was awarded the British War Medal.
Mr Challender said: “He is very proud but philosophical about his efforts during the war. He believes others suffered far worse than he did and he was just fortunate to survive.”
After the war he decided to settle in Britain and moved from Scotland to Bolton, where he initially worked as a cotton spinner at Eagley Mill, Blackburn Road. He later worked at Automotive Products until his retirement in the 1970s.
Mr Reid married Maria in the 1960s in Scotland and lived in Baythorpe Street before moving to Blake Gardens, Halliwell. She died last October aged 94. The couple had no children. Mr Challender added: “I know when he heard that the mayor was coming along to his party he was delighted.
“He has always liked a drink and is a very sociable man who has never lost his Polish accent or indeed his sense of humour.”
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