The Mancunian Way: Heroes who fled twin tyranny

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By BETH ABBIT - Mon July 11, 2022 Hello, The list of places Greater Manchester is hotter than has now reached the Middle East.

With the mercury reaching 28C today, it's actually hotter here than it is in Istanbul. And the Met Office has just issued an Amber warning of 'exceptionally high temperatures' for much of England from Sunday, lasting into early next week. So pour yourself a cold drink, turn the fan on and let me take you through today's news.

We'll be discussing Manchester's heroic Poles, what it's like to go on Hajj and the would-be Prime Minister who grew up in Rochdale.

The heroes who fled twin tyranny

As heroes who fought the Nazis and fled Russian tyranny, the dozens of Poles who were laid to rest at St Joseph's cemetery deserve our respect. But their graves have been desecrated by vandals who have disregarded their stories of courage, loss and sacrifice. Crime reporter John Scheerhout has been looking at the stories of the decorated soldiers, pilots, resistance fighters and nurses who fled the twin tyranny of Hitler's Nazi Germany and Stalin's 'red army' of Russia and settled in Manchester.

As John writes, some became underground fighters in the resistance. Many fled west and fought shoulder-to-shoulder with the British. Others were captured and put on cattle trucks to work in Stalin's labour camps in Siberia.

Polish war graves at St Joseph's cemetery in Moston and some of the WWII heroes buried there

It's likely that many of the veterans, when they were refugees from the war in continental Europe, lived in the wooden huts of the long-gone Moston Resettlement Camp, a stone's throw from what was to become their final resting place.

Karol Peruta has spent the last seven years repairing damage to the graves and looking after the Polish section at the cemetery. He has worked with authorities back in Poland to give the buried veterans an official status, applying 'veteran' plaques to the headstones. But vandalism has continued and the recent torching of a wooden statue of Christ broke Karol's heart.

"I've been working here for over seven years, bringing these graves back. When I saw that I basically cried. I admit it.

Those soldiers fought for the freedoms we have here and they deserve our respect and dignity," he said. "The people buried here are total strangers to me but I respect them because they have done so much for us."

Karol Peruta tends to the Polish graves at St. Joseph's Cemetery

From Rochdale terrace to PM contender

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is the latest Tory to launch a campaign to replace Boris Johnson. She joins a crowded field of contenders vying to replace the Prime Minister - who has declined to back any of the candidates saying: "I wouldn't want to damage anybody's chances by offering my support".

Among her rivals is former Health Minister Sajid Javid, who was born in Rochdale to Pakistani Muslim parents. Reporter Damon Wilkinson has been looking at Mr Javid's history - which he referenced in his resignation speech last week when he spoke of the old-school bankers who said he didn't have 'the right school ties' and the people in his community who said he should not marry 'the love of his life'. As one of five sons, Mr Javid has revealed how he was spat and chased by racist thugs as a young boy in 1970s Rochdale. "It was a very different environment then.

As a country in terms of race relations, we have come a long way," he has said.

Sajid Javid during a visit to Rochdale

He also faced family tragedy when, in 2018, his brother Tariq killed himself shortly after checking-in to a hotel. At the time, Mr Javid was serving as Home Secretary. He told the Sunday Times last month about his family's ongoing struggle to come to terms with their loss. "We learnt afterwards that he had a physical health problem that he hadn't told anyone about... and if we had just known, if he had talked to us, perhaps we could have done something," he said.

According to the Times, current bookies favourite Rishi Sunak is sufficiently concerned about a Javid leadership that he's asked the ex-health secretary to step aside and support his campaign.

Weather, etc.

  • Tuesday: Cloudy changing to sunny intervals by early evening.


  • Pollen count: High.
  • Roads closed: Delph New Road, Dobcross, in both directions for roadworks between Wall Hill Road and Oldham Road until August 5. A57 Eccles New Road westbound closed for gas main work from Canterbury Gardens to Gilda Brook Road until July 8.
  • Today's Manc trivia question: Which Cabinet positions did Sajid Javid hold before becoming Health Secretary?

Answer at the bottom of the newsletter

Scraping by

Traders on Oldham's Tommyfield Market are struggling. "You spend all month trying to make next month's rent, there's rarely anything left over for you," says Anton Jaskiewicz, who owns The Battery Shop. He's been speaking to reporter Kit Vickery about making ends meet during tough times and losing out to supermarkets.

"There's a lot less people coming through. The expenses are still the same but your takings are way down, it's hard work, trust me. You've got Amazon, got supermarkets, everything's against us.

At supermarkets you can just park up for nothing and get what you need but here you've got to pay if you just want to nip in for one or two things. "We have a quarter of the customers coming through than we have before but we're still paying almost full rent, the council have knocked down the rents a little bit but it costs a lot to be here and I've got to take that before we make a penny. It's bloody awful."

Meanwhile, Colin Taylor and Maggie Heap over on R4 Pets, have noticed a massive drop in footfall since the pandemic. Colin said: "It's rubbish, the first lockdown the essential shops should have been open but they weren't and now everyone's gone to a supermarket and not come back. I'm not saying all the customers would have come out even if we were open but forcing us to close meant we had no chance."

No hanger-on officials

Uber secretly lobbied ministers to influence London's transport policy, it has been reported.

Leaked documents show lobbyists for the ride-sharing app company met then-chancellor George Osborne and other ministers, according to the BBC and The Guardian. The 'undeclared' meetings took place after Boris Johnson, as Mayor of London, had promised to launch a review that could have limited Uber's expansion in the capital. A spokesman for Mr Osborne said 'all business meetings where policy affecting individual companies was discussed were properly declared'.

The meeting with Mr Osborne took place at a private dinner in the US state of California, where Uber is based. An internal Uber email stated that this was better than a meeting in London because "this is a much more private affair with no hanger-on officials or staffers", the BBC reported. Other meetings were held between Uber lobbyists and current or former ministers including Priti Patel, Sajid Javid, Matt Hancock and Michael Gove, according to the corporation.

Uber say engaging with policymakers is 'standard practice' for businesses.

The Uber logo on a car door

Manchester headlines

Collision:A woman has died after a double decker bus crashed into a shelter near Piccadilly Gardens. Passengers were waiting at the stop when the collision happened at around 9.30pm last night. A woman in her 50s has died, another woman, also in her 50s, remains in hospital with serious injuries and a man in his 60s received treatment for minor injuries.

The bus driver remained at the scene and assisted officers with their enquiries, police said. Cases rise: Two full year groups have been told to stay home from Alder Community High School, in Hyde, after a rise in Covid cases. Parents received a message on Monday morning telling them that Years 8 and 9 should not attend.

Last week Marsh Green Primary School, in Wigan, told Reception pupils and some nursery children to remain at home after 17 staff absences and cases in youngsters. Weather: Temperatures are set to reach 28C in Manchester today - making the city hotter than Istanbul. The mercury looks set to hit around 24C here in Greater Manchester on Tuesday, but will climb up again by the weekend.

The Met Office has issued an Amber Weather warning for much of England, including our region, warning of 'exceptionally high temperatures' possible from Sunday, lasting into early next week.

Scott and Charlene

So this is what 35 years of soap opera marriage looks like. The first images of Scott and Charlene, back on Ramsay Street, have been released today, sending Neighbours nerds like me into overdrive. Look, I know it hasn't got anything to do with Manchester, but there are only 15 episodes left.

Indulge me.

Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan reunited on the set of Neighbours

One fine day

Platt Fields Park has long been one of the most popular spots in south Manchester on a sunny afternoon. This image of the boating lake back in the early 1900s shows intrepid gentlemen and women dressed in all their finery setting off onto the water.

Boating lake in Platt Fields Park, Fallowfield, 1907

Worth a read

What's it like to go on Hajj? The Muslim pilgrimage has its challenges, but Soban Rehman, says it's an incredible experience. "Once you're there there are obviously challenges, but the tranquillity and the peace that you find once you've completed it is something I've never experienced before," he tells reporter Ramazani Mwamba.

Rami has also s poken to tour guide Mohsin Shah, who owns Wish Tours in Burnage, about a new Hajj booking system which has 'broken' travel agencies in Manchester. As millions prepared to undertake the spiritual journey, the Saudi government announced that pilgrims from Europe, US and Australia were no longer able to book through travel agencies and had to apply through a lottery system known as the Motawif. Mohsin says the scheme came in at 'very short notice' and many of his customers missed out. "This year would have been the first time in two years people would be allowed to go and we were expecting to do well because people were keen to go there," he says. "Hajj is the main part of our business, the news broke us basically, they could have announced it earlier."

'I love being a Muslim on days like this': Thousands gather for Eid al-Adha

Thousands came together to celebrate Eid al Adha at Platt Fields park this weekend

That's all for today

Thanks for joining me, the next edition of the Mancunian Way will be with you around the same time tomorrow. If you have any stories you would like us to feature or look into, please contact me at [email protected] And if you have enjoyed this newsletter today, why not tell a friend how they can sign up?

The answer to today's trivia question, which Cabinet positions did Sajid Javid hold before becoming Health Secretary, is Home Secretary and Chancellor.