Did I tell you about the time my mother was in the WRAF ? She was at a fighter base in Hampshire. There were a lot of Polish pilots there, and the WRAFs were all very fond of them.
One day my mother heard that Stefan, one of her favourites, had crashed in flames and was critically ill. She got on the bus to the hospital and was admitted to his room. He lay there, swathed in bandages, covered in drips and tubes, his eyes hardly responding. She stood by the bed and held his hand.
Suddenly life seemed to come to him. He raised his head, looked her in the eyes and whispered weakly to her :
“Stoisz … stoisz na mojej rurki!”
“I’m sorry, Stefan, I don’t understand. But I’ll stay right here with you”
“Stoisz na mojej rurki!”
“Is it a message for someone ? Is it a girl ? What is it ?”
Stefan made an effort to sit up, feebly whispered “Stoisz na mojej rurki ..”, then fell back - dead.
Poor Mother was heartbroken and vowed to pass on his final words. When she got back to base she told one of the Polish officers about Stefan and asked him what he’d been trying to say to her.
“I’m afraid it means … ‘you are standing on my respirator tube’”
50 minutes ago