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Feliks BILOS

Translation of parts of an

interview by Prof. Patalas

I was born in 1912 on Krolowka, Poland, the eldest of 12 children.

The trumpet has been accompanying me since my early years. It helps me during difficult, sometimes tragic moments, to survive. My father played the trumpet before me, so I decided to learn it as well. I played in a Jazz band before the war, and this contributed to my joining the army.


In the army, I was responsible for 300 carts and 600 horses. Already in the first days of the war in Poland, we went through intense conditions of bombing that ultimately destroyed our unit.  The day that sticks out to me in particular is September 17,1939, when unexpectedly the Soviets attacked. We had no choice but to surrender ourselves to slavery.


I pretended to be a resident of Tarnopol, and I succeeded to get to Lwow, and then to Przemyśl. I was caught, and for crossing the border illegally, I was sentenced to 5 years in a work camp in Siberia, in the vicinity Arkhangelsk - chopping trees in the the forest, and all for starvation rations.


Released by the ‘amnesty’ I journeyed south to join the Polish Army and served in the “II Pulk Ulanów Podolskich”.


And here we come back to the trumpet and the division military band. How could there be an army without an orchestra! The squadron commander, Captain Florkowski assigned to this orchestra, me and two other non-commissioned officers he knew about, who played instruments. The first performance took place on the occasion of the arrival

General Sikorski, when we played the general’s march for him in the freezing cold. He only nodded his head in understanding, because the instruments sounded false in such frost, and our fingers were numb from frost.


I trained in the Middle East and then fought in the Italian Campaign. After the war, I spent some time in the Polish Resettlement Corps in England, before emigrating to Canada on a 2-year work contract in Manitoba, picking sugar beets. Then I worked for Dominion Bridge for 29 yers.


What about the trumpet? It has walked with me faithfully all these years. I played it here in Winnipeg at various social events and I still have it today, although we have both retired. I am a longstanding member of the Holy Ghost Roman Catholic parish as well as belonging to the Royal Canadian Legion, Andrew Mynarski Branch No. 34, Polish Combatants Assoc. No. 13.


Felix passed away in Winnipeg on July 1, 2003, at the age of 91 years.

Copyright: Bilos family

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