An Aberdeen man who was imprisoned for five years by the Nazis is searching for survivors of the POW camps.
Having survived fierce fighting during the Battle of Saint Valery-en-Caux in northern France as part of the 51st Highland Division in June 1940, James ‘Jimmy’ Johnstone, then 19, was taken prisoner.
Now 98, and still living in Aberdeen, Mr Johnstone recalled being wounded before being taken on a “death march” to slave labour camps in Poland and Germany alongside thousands of fellow British troops.
His incredible story includes two daring attempts to escape and now, nearly 80 years later, Mr Johnstone is appealing for any of his fellow prisoners – or their families – to get in touch with him through the Scottish War Blinded charity.
After the battle at St Valery, the defeated troops were forced by Nazi forces to walk hundreds of miles to Stalag camps.
Once there, they were put to work in 12 hour shifts, with Mr Johnstone made to load coal onto German trucks with “just watery soup and a German loaf between five men” for sustenance.
In June 1943, he managed to go on the run for a fortnight with fellow prisoner of war Jackie Lockwood.
The pair disguised themselves as Polish civilians.
Two years later, the POWs were being marched to another camp in Germany when he attempted a second bid for freedom with three other Britons – Gerald Fury, Bert Petrie and Jim Watt.
After the war, Mr Johnstone served in the Royal Engineers Territorial Army, finishing up as a sergeant.
He said he would like to hear from any other survivors, especially Private ‘Kleats’ McKenzie of the Seaforth Highlanders, Jackie Lockwood, Gerald Fury, Bert Petrie and Jim Watt.
Any survivors of the events Mr Johnstone experienced, or relatives willing to contact him, can call Scottish War Blinded on 0800 035 6409.