St Valéry and Its Aftermath

The Gordon Highlanders Captured in France in 1940

Stewart Mitchell

Date Published :
July 2017
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
16 pages of black and white plates
No associated books available.


During the German May 1940 offensive, the 51st (Highland) Division, including the 1st and 5th Battalions Gordon Highlanders, became separated from the British Expeditionary Force. After a heroic stand at St Valery-en-Caux the Division surrendered when fog thwarted efforts to evacuate them.

Within days, scores of Gordons had escaped and were on the run through Nazi-occupied France. Many reached Britain after feats of great courage and tenacity, including recapture and imprisonment often in atrocious conditions in France, Spain or North Africa.

Those imprisoned in Eastern Europe were forced to work in coal and salt mines, quarries, factories and farms. Some died through unsafe conditions or the brutality of their captors. Others escaped, on occasion fighting with distinction alongside Resistance forces. Many had to endure the brutal 1945 winter march away from the advancing Allies before their eventual liberation.

This superbly researched book contains many inspiring stories that deserve and merit reading.

About The Author

Stewart Mitchell became Volunteer Researcher at the Gordons Museum, Aberdeen in 2005 after a career in environmental protection. He lives with his wife at Bridge of Down, Aberdeen.


The book acts as a tribute to these deserving but often forgotten soldiers and their collective courage, giving a voice to their inspiring and at times harrowing stories.'

- Scottish Field

I learnt a lot from this book and highly recommend it to anyone who has an interest in the Gordon Highlanders or prisoners of war from this historical event. It’s a great read!

- The Few Good Men

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