Two World War II veterans, who 70 years ago were sworn enemies on opposite sides of history, met face to face in Aberdeen yesterday as friends.
91-year-old German Karl Hunnold, who was shot by Allied forces before being rescued by a Gordon Highlanders battalion, warmly greeted D-Day hero Jim Glennie, who will turn 92 on August 19, at the Gordon Highlanders Museum yesterday morning.
After shaking Mr Hunnold’s hand in the museum, Mr Glennie jokingly said: “We have no grudges against each other, I’m sorry to say.”
Mr Hunnold has admired the Scottish regiment ever since they saved him and he was invited to visit after his stepson Roland Goertz asked the Gordon Highlanders Museum to send his father a card ahead of his 91st birthday, which he celebrated on Thursday.
While serving in a paratrooper regiment in 1945, his squad came under heavy machine gun fire while crossing a road in the area of Rees in north-west Germany.
Stuck in a ditch, unable to move from severe leg wounds, Mr Hunnold thought he was going to die – but a short time later, a Gordon Highlanders scout car found him and took him to a field hospital, where surgery was able to save his legs.
While they toured the museum, Mr Glennie bonded with Mr Hunnold over their remarkably similar stories.
The Turriff veteran, who was called away to serve with the Highlanders in 1943, took part in the D-Day landings on June 6, 1944.
But just weeks later he was shot in the arm, captured, and taken to the Stalag 4B prisoner of war camp.
He was liberated by American soldiers in 1945 and returned to Aberdeen – and for the last 20 years, he has volunteered at the museum.
Mr Glennie said: “Although we can’t speak to each other directly because of the language barrier, we can both understand each other because of what we’ve been through.
Speaking through his stepson, who assisted with translation, Mr Hunnold added: “Being here in Aberdeen, and meeting Jim in the museum of the Highlanders who saved my life, brings very positive emotions, it is exciting.
“I hold the Gordon Highlanders in very high regard in my memory, they treated me very well.
“All those years ago, we were enemies because of where we were both.
“But now, we would both consider each other as friends.”