Richard Polanski – a 100-year-old veteran who fought the Bismarck – has received a series of accolades in his centenary year. 

In addition to his birthday card from the Queen, Polanski was awarded a special promotion from Polish President Andrzej Duda and an honorary naval officer’s hat from defence attaché Colonel Mieczyslaw Malec. Polanski is one of just a few surviving soldiers to have seen the Nazi German battleship in its final hours. 

Colonel Malec said, “This is for Richard's sacrifice for the Polish and European freedom that we can enjoy today. We know Richard served on the Piorun ship fighting the Bismarck and we now congratulate him on his promotion to the first officer rank. On behalf of the Polish president and the people of Poland it was a truly great honour to bestow the various awards on Richard."