Tar­tan Pim­per­nel trib­ute

His­tory: French hon­our Scot who worked with Re­sis­tance to free pris­on­ers

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS - BY NEIL DRYS­DALE

A Church of Scot­land min­is­ter who helped pris­on­ers of war es­cape from a fort through a sewer sys­tem, has been hon­oured in France.

A memo­rial plaque to mark the ex­ploits of Rev Dr Don­ald Caskie has been un­veiled at Fort de la Re­vere, near Nice in the south of France.

He and his Re­sis­tance al­lies or­ches­trated the es­cape of RAF per­son­nel from un­der the noses of Ger­man sol­diers and brought 36 of them back to Bri­tain in a sub­ma­rine.

Known as the Tar­tan Pim­per­nel, Dr Caskie, a crofter’s son from Is­lay in the In­ner He­brides, helped save more than 2,000 men dur­ing the Se­cond World War.

The plaque at the for­mer mil­i­tary fort, which is 2,280 feet above the vil­lage of Eze, was in­stalled by an or­gan­i­sa­tion called Le Devoir du Me­moire.

The min­is­ter’s nephew Tom Caskie was at the un­veil­ing ser­vice along with around 100 peo­ple, in­clud­ing lo­cal dig­ni­taries, and said he was “burst­ing with pride”.

The Ed­in­burgh man said: “The memo­rial is sim­ply won­der­ful and it was very emo­tional to see Un­cle Don­ald hon­oured in this way and see­ing the Saltire on dis­play.

“He was a hero of the Se­cond World War and is still re­mem­bered with af­fec­tion for his time as the min­is­ter of the Scots Kirk in Paris and the things he did with the Re­sis­tance to save thou­sands of lives.”

Mr Caskie and his brother Gor­don were pre­sented with a com­mem­o­ra­tive medal to mark the oc­ca­sion.

The event also fea­tured High­land danc­ing and Scot­tish songs in­clud­ing a per­for­mance of the Bal­lad of Don­ald Caskie by Pais­ley school teacher Gor­don Whyte.

Dr Caskie, whose co­de­name was Mon­sieur Le Ca­nard – Don­ald Duck – was lead­ing the Scots Kirk in 1940 when the Ger­mans in­vaded Paris.

He re­fused to re­turn to Scot­land and fled to Mar­seille, where he ran a sea­man’s mis­sion, liv­ing a dou­ble life and pass­ing the close scru­tiny of the Vichy po­lice.

He helped Bri­tish and Al­lied sol­diers to free­dom across the moun­tains into Spain.

Dr Caskie was even­tu­ally re­cruited by Bri­tish In­tel­li­gence of­fi­cers and told that his mis­sion was the last link of a chain of safe houses they had cre­ated.

The story of how he helped lib­er­ate pris­on­ers from Fort de la Re­vere in 1942 is out­lined in his book The Tar­tan Pim­per­nel.

WAR HERO: Gor­don Whyte with the plaque for Tar­tan Pim­per­nel Don­ald Caskie at the fort where he helped lib­er­ate so many Al­lied troops

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