'There was no life without resistance': World War Two veteran dies aged 94

Val

Tributes have been paid to Wladyslaw Ciechomski who died on December 18 at his home in Hornchurch. - Credit: Suzanne Ciechomski

A Hornchurch family man who fought with the Polish resistance against the Nazis in the Second World War before opening a shop in Ilford has died aged 94.  

Wladyslaw Ciechomski was born in Warsaw but settled in Hornchurch in the late 1950s, where his friends knew him as Laddy and his family called him Val.  

On December 18 he died peacefully at home in his sleep.  

Val lived with his wife Lilian Ciechomski , 91, who he married in 1953 and was known by his daughter Suzanne Ciechomski, 64, as Mr Fix It.

Suzanne said her dad was a “true gentleman who will be fondly remembered and greatly missed by all his family and friends”. 

The 64-year-old described him as a “snappy dresser, adding it "seemed there was nothing he couldn’t do” and he was “excellent at everything he tried”.  

Val spent his early years training to be a furrier and while working at a fur factory he joined the Polish Resistance at 16 years old.  

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Suzanne said he once tried to trick the Nazis by wearing his friend’s dress, combing his hair over his forehead, and tying a scarf under his chin.  

Despite “wiggling his hips as he walked in an attempt to make the charade convincing”, Val only made it 200 feet past the enemy before they saw through his disguise - thankfully, Val still managed to escape by running off the site.  

On another occasion, Val was shot in the hand and hip while on a mission, and although he recovered, he bore the scars for his lifetime.  

Suzanne said he would talk about his “fallen comrades” and would often say: “There was no life without resistance."

After the war Val was transferred to London, where he left the army and continued his former craft as a furrier.  

Val and Lilian

On the left Val can be seen with his wife Lilian on their wedding day in 1953 and on the right in his former years. - Credit: Suzanne Ciechomski

Val opened a shop in Ilford named Lara’s Furs, where he produced high-end fur and leather garments and carried out repairs as a master furrier.  

Suzanne describes her dad as an “extremely capable man” and in the 1960s he drew his own plans for an extension of the family’s bungalow which, once granted planning approval by the council, he built himself.  

Val is survived by Lilian and Suzanne. His son, Paul Ciechomski, passed away around 15 years ago. Val's funeral will be held later this month in Corbets Tey.  

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