Never short of a bob, often with interesting motors – he ran a 3.4 Jag for a while, the envy of us all, Ted never aspired to fame, fortune or fancy habitat. I began to realise it had something to do with the war.

 

Time and again Ted had tried to get a visa to go back to Poland – not to stay but to refresh his roots. His mother was living with him when first we met – her story is in the book. Now she was long gone. Ted’s trouble was that he was persona non grata, because he had fought for us, and we were anti-communist. Then one fine day he was uncharacteristically jubilant. He had a visa. And off he went, back home, not to Cjortkow, but at least to Poland, to rediscover his family, in this case his cousin.

He bought a little wooden cabin in the forest near Cracow, a new Polish home. And he brought family back to Britain. He rang me ‘Come to lunch – a new place, just outside Aylesbury. See you in the bar.’ Long before this his nice lady had died, but he was still living in their Wendover home, and we had struck a deal.

My mental compendium of Ted’s half-tales of wartime episodes had become too much to carry but too much to leave alone. So I had said to Ted ‘There’s a book here’ and he, to my surprise, had agreed. The deal was that I, who by then was running my own publishing business, should drive over each Wednesday – by then I had remarried and was living near Buckingham – pick him up, wine and dine him at the Red Lion, and then repair back to his house, where he provided the scotch, I asked the questions, and we watched blue movies. An intriguing mix.