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Free Trip to France

When I worked at the Inverness Courier I had two colleagues there who had spent most of the Second World War as guests of the Third Reich after being captured in France while serving with the 4th Cameron Highlanders in 1940. Inverness Town Councillors decided that it would be an excellent idea if the town was twinned with St. Valery en Caux where my two colleagues and much of the rest of the 51st Highland Division had been captured. But excellent for whom? My two pals at the Courier hadn't thought much of the population of the French seaside town back in 1940. They claimed that many of the French couldn't do enough for the Germans, including taking the Nazis to places where the British were trying to hide in an attempt to avoid capture. The pair, and I suspect they were correct, thought the twinning had more to do with trips to France at the ratepayers expense for Inverness councillors than any affection felt by veterans for the seaside resort. I'm sure some French patriots did try to help the men of the 51st get away, just not enough of them to justify warm comfy feelings towards the town from the men who were to lose five of what in times of peace should have been among the best years of their lives.


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