HE led a life that was straight out of a Boys' Own adventure.
It included a daring escape from the Russian military, being torpedoed in the Atlantic and saved by a porpoise and finally shot in Normandy after the D-Day landings.
But Jan Derych, who died last week at the age of 83, also lived a long and fulfilling life in Huddersfield, the town that became his home.
Mr Derych, of Quarmby Road, Oakes, came from Silesia in Poland.
He was born in 1923 and in 1929 moved with his family close to the Siberian border.
When the Soviet Union invaded Poland with Germany in 1939 his father was captured and the family taken to Siberia.
He was destined to be conscripted into the Soviet Army, but fled with a handful of others and walked for days to escape.
In 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union. Mr Derych hitch-hiked and walked 1,500 miles to Central Asia to join the Polish Army. He and 100,000 Polish soldiers sailed to British-controlled Persia.
His ship was torpedoed and sank but he survived, helped by a porpoise which kept him afloat.
He was picked up by the Germans and imprisoned in Morocco by the Nazi-supporting Vichy French.
In 1942, US forces freed him. He joined the Canadian Army, landing in Normandy just after D-Day, but was shot in the hand.
For his bravery he was awarded the Virtuti Militar, the Polish equivalent of the Victoria Cross.
Mr Derych arrived in Huddersfield after being demobbed in Scotland and started a 30-year career at the former ICI plant in Leeds Road, working as a shift engineer and then a chemical engineer.
He and met his wife-to-be Barbara at the Huddersfield Adult School. Both have been presidents of the national organisation.
Mr Derych, an ex-magistrate, is also a former union official and ex-Labour candidate for Kirklees and West Yorkshire Councils.
He was a former governor of the old Huddersfield Polytechnic, Salendine Nook High School and Reinwood Junior School.
He also became known as a prolific letter writer to the Examiner.
He leaves a widow, two sons, Peter and Mark, a daughter Ruth and seven grandchildren. A funeral service was held last Thursday at Huddersfield Crematorium and a memorial service is planned for the spring.