A tale inspired by the wartime adventures of a Wisbech author’s Polish in-laws has been given a major boost by a leading Scottish newspaper.

‘The chocolate suitcase’, by retired teacher Bryan Wiles, is a mix of hardship and heroism rooted in the real-life Second World War experiences of the family of his Polish wife, Rysia.

The novel tells the roller coaster story of how her relatives were ripped from their homeland by the invading Russian army and flung into the frozen wastes of Siberia.

For a central character in the story, Jas, who is subsequently sent to Scotland for parachute training before the Battle of Arnhem, Dundee becomes a home from home as the teenaged soldier is taken under the wing of a local police officer and his wife, who invite him to lodge with them.

Another member of the family goes on to fight with the Second Polish Corps under General Wladyslaw Anders at Monte Cassino.

The book has now been featured in a 1400-word double-page spread in the weekend magazine of The Courier in Dundee, which was named Scotland’s news website of the year in 2022.

Wisbech Standard:

The novel has also sparked interest in Wales, where Bryan’s brother, Roy – who provided illustrations for the book – lives, and in Warrington, on the banks of the River Mersey, where Rysia’s brother, Zdzis, who was born in a Siberian Gulag, finally settled.

There has been coverage, too, in Bedford, where Bryan grew up, and in Cambridgeshire, where he has lived for over 40 years.

Bryan said: "I was overjoyed to see that the book had got a double page spread in a colour supplement in Scotland, as well as all the publicity in England and Wales.

"The interest that is being shown in all these parts of the United Kingdom is helping to get out a story about this aspect of Polish history that has not been well publicized in the past."

‘The chocolate suitcase’ is available worldwide from Amazon at £15.