A POLISH war hero who was trying to trace his lost documents so he could receive a telegram from the Queen on his 100th birthday next month has died.

Stefan Arnold had hoped to have the honour from Britain 70 years after he arrived here with about 20,000 Polish troops to help protect Scotland.

Mr Arnold was due to celebrate his centenary year on August 8. He died on Monday.

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He married his wife Margaret in 1955 and they settled in Musselburgh, East Lothian, where she died 20 years ago.

He spent many more years in Musselburgh but he has most recently been in a nursing home in Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire.

His family, friends and the Polish Consul had been striving to trace the papers after Mr Arnold earlier lost all of his past documentation.

Warsaw-born Mr Arnold joined the Polish Army at the age of 21 and fought on the Western Front before being held as a prisoner of war in Germany.

He escaped from the camp and made an arduous journey through enemy territory to Sweden and then moved on to Scotland.

Officials had been trying to trace some evidence of the lost papers but more than 85% of personal documents in Warsaw were destroyed during World War Two.

One friend said earlier that receiving the telegram would have been an honour for the old soldier, many of whom, including those in General Stanislaw Maczek's First Armoured Division, stayed in this country unable to return to Poland under communist rule.

Earlier this month, Mr Arnold said it would be "an honour" to receive recognition from the Queen.

He said: "I arrived in Scotland in 1944 before being sent to London to a special training camp. Just before the war ended I was moved to Dunblane and moved around Scotland."

Dariusz Adler, Consul General at the Polish Consulate in Edinburgh, had taken up the difficult trail and the hope was that records held by the Lutheran Church, of which Mr Arnold was a member, would help.