Tuesday, 10 February 2009


An interesting article appeared in the Scottish Sun today. Text "borrowed" below for anyone who doesn't buy the paper.

I did a little bit of homework into Berenger Bradford, as I was curious about the medal ribbon in the photograph published. The National Archives has three results for him inb their lists of recommendations for honours and awards. Two DSO and a Military Cross, although on looking at one of them it states he had previously been awarded an MBE and a Mention in Despatches. Apparently he was wounded in Normandy but recovered sufficiently from his wounds to take command of the battle and lead his troops by sitting on the front of a tank and directing it to the front line. A brave fellow, all told.

THE son of a World War II hero has cracked a secret code in his dad’s letters home — nearly 70 years on.

Captain Berenger Bradford escaped from a PoW camp in Germany and went on the run to France and Algeria before getting back to Britain to lead an assault in the Normandy Landings.

Fan mail ... proud son Andrew

Fan mail ... proud son Andrew

He travelled nearly 5,000 miles in a year while fleeing the Nazis and sent a string of encoded letters to the War Office and his parents in Aberdeenshire.


When Bradford died in 1996, his son Andrew, 54, discovered the cache of letters and has spent years unravelling their secrets.

Andrew, the Laird of Kincardine Castle and Estate, said: “In his writing he secreted the message by weighting some of the letters slightly lighter than the normal text.

“When you glance at the letter you cannot see this so you then have to produce a trigger to alert the reader.

“I looked at one letter for days then suddenly something twigged — it was very exciting when you saw the words coming out.

“In some of his later letters he had concealed messages within the lining of the envelope. He was just trying to feed what information he could and tell his father where he was.”

After navigating 700 miles back to Britain in a 17ft boat from Algeria, Bradford became a colonel and led soldiers from the 51st Highland Division into battle in Normandy in 1944.


  1. He was put up for an award during the fighting in May/early June 1940 but nothing came of it. His MBE was for his escape, but the citation was not published presumably owing to the intelligence gathering he'd been doing while on the run - especially in North Africa. It took him 367 days between escaping from the Germans to reaching British soil.

    The Sun's article woefully erroneous as usual. An accurate and full story of the whole escape has just been published by The History Press - Title: Escape from Saint Valery-en-Caux by Andrew Bradford

  2. kincardineestate, thanks for your comment. I'll have a look for the book you mention as I'm keen to learn more about this story.