After a two day train ride sitting on luggage in corridors, Ella Tront finally made it back to Dundee with her six children in tow on May 27 1961, following a 14-year exile in Poland.
Ella and Polish husband Joe had returned to his home town following the end of World War Two but they realised life in the communist country was not what they expected.
So the battle started to return to Scotland but political unrest would make it hard to obtain visas and leave them out in the cold for several years.
Now 60 years on, members of the well-known Tront family are remembering the moment they set foot in the City of Discovery.
Meeting in Dundee
Jozef Tront was based in Dalkeith during the war but would often travel to Broughty Ferry to visit family who were based in the area.
As with many couples of the time Ella and Joe met at the dancing in Dundee and were soon married at the city’s registry office.
Joe, who hailed from Pzsow, a mining town in the south of Poland, had promised his father that he would return home when the war had finished.
As a man of his word, Joe looked to return with new wife Ella agreeing to relocate with young daughter Sandra in 1947.
Over the next 10 years the Tronts would settle in to life in Poland.
Joe began work as an electrician in the local mines and the couple welcomed five more children, Tedi, Irene, Joe, Elizabeth and Helina.
Irene, who was known as Irenka in Poland, was just 12 when the family returned to Dundee.
She recalled the moment she thinks her mum realised Poland wasn’t where she wanted to be.
She said: “I remember my gran and grandad came over to Poland for a visit in 1957.
“I can remember it clear as anything, we went to pick them up in Czechoslovakia and they stayed with us for a week, after that my mum just couldn’t settle.
“She just wanted back to Scotland.
“Before then we didn’t speak any English, we actually had to teach my mum to speak Polish so we never ever thought we would come back to Scotland before then.
“Me and my older siblings Sandra and Tedi didn’t want to leave, our life was in Poland.
“The younger ones didn’t know any different, but my dad said if we don’t go together we don’t go at all so that was it and it took four years of applying for visas before we could leave.”
Ella first applied for exit visas in 1957.
She was able to return to Scotland at any point but due to her children being born in Poland they would require permission from the authorities.
Irene’s daughter Kirsty Donaldson added: “There was already quite a few Polish families that had moved to Dundee by that time however what made my gran and grandad’s story different was that they were trying to get to Scotland all together.
“The other families in the area had moved over separately when they could get visas but my gran didn’t want to do that.
“Soon after they realised life in Poland wasn’t what they wanted my gran was shocked to see a Dundee car drive through the town.”
In 1960, Dundee couple, Mr and Mrs Wengrayks were touring Poland by car when they visited Pszow and parked on the side of a street.
To their surprise a woman rushed over to the car – it was Ella.
She knocked excitedly on the car door with tears streaming down her face. Ella had noticed the registration plates. She asked the occupants “are you from Dundee?” before telling the story of her plight to return to the city.
On the Wengrayks’ return they promised to pass on messages to Ella’s family telling them of their hopes to return to Scotland, and just a year later those hopes would come true.
In early 1961 they were given their visas and in May of that year the family would begin their mammoth journey home which included a two-day train ride across Europe.
Irene said: “The journey home was horrendous, we had to sit in the corridors on our suitcases as there was no seats at all. My mum was seven or eight months pregnant at the time with our youngest sister Paula and I don’t know how she managed the journey back with all of us as well, Helina would have only been three at the time.
“You don’t realise how much hard work that would have been until you’re that bit older.”
“At 12-years-old I had to go to primary school in Scotland as I didn’t know any English which was difficult and we couldn’t believe how different life was here.
“Here we could just go into a shop and get what we needed whenever, in Poland with it being a communist country we had to go out at five o’clock in the morning to queue just to buy a loaf of bread.
“Although it was difficult adjusting when we arrived in Dundee none of us have ever regretted it. Once we arrived we were happy.”
On their return the Tront family became well-known within the local Polish community and around Dryburgh and Lochee. Joe started work as a mechanic and he also began organising dances and social events for the Polish community.
In 1967 Joe’s pool skills would also prove handy as he won an astonishing £8,000 during a tournament, at the time brand new cars retailed for around £500 meaning the winnings were a life-changing amount.
Kirsty added: “Unfortunately my grandad never really got to enjoy the money to the full as he passed away young in 1974.
“My gran never remarried and instead began working in a care home whilst looking after her seven children, she didn’t have an easy life but she really was the head of the family and we are all still so close.
“She passed away in 2010 and at the time had 19 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren – there is a lot more of us now too.
“All of us look alike as well and the family is still well-known in Dundee, everyone knows us as one of the Tronts from Lochee. We always get asked “which one are you” or “who’s your mum”.”
Despite the family’s relocation back to Scotland they continued to be close to the family who were still based in Pszow with the Tront’s often taking trips back to Poland although now they go by plane.
“We also visit Poland regularly to visit the family that are still there. It’s great fun and its nice to still be so close to our Polish family as well.
“Unfortunately due to Covid our plans for going over and celebrating the anniversary were cancelled but we hope we can all get back over there soon.
“I have done the journey on the bus once which took two days and never again, when we visit we go by plane now which only takes a few hours, its much easier.”