Wartime friends have been reunited 67 years after one officially died in a tank battle.
Harry Finlayson, 93, was reported missing presumed dead in 1941 after his tank was destroyed in North Africa.
He was given a military funeral and his wife approved for a widow's pension - but he had been captured alive.
And this week he met his Eighth Army comrade Gerry Solomon, 92, who spent 67 years thinking he had been killed in action. Gerry said he was "stunned" to hear of his Desert Rat pal's survival after his daughter wrote about it in a military magazine.
Harry said: "We were great friends. I had a photograph of us by the pyramids.
"We chatted for one and a half hours at the reunion. He was surprised, oh yes. He said, 'I thought you were dead'."
Harry was fighting the German Afrika Korps at the battle of Sidi Rezegh.
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His radio was damaged and he did not hear an order to pull back.
He said: "I didn't hear the order and I went straight on into the German lines. One of their tanks hit my tank and blew the engine right out of it and we were surrounded by Germans."
His superiors assumed he was dead after finding a body and held a funeral in Libya. Then three months after his November 23 capture he sent his wife a letter. He was a PoW until 1945.
But his comrades had moved on and were not told he had survived.
The Services Personnel and Veterans Agency arranged the reunion in Colchester, Essex.
The two were due to be given HM Armed Forces Veterans Badges there last night.
Harry was driven from his home in Bridgwater, Somerset, in style in a Royal Tank Regiment staff car.
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-storie ... -20912095/
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- Lid geworden op: 17 jun 2007, 11:26
- Locatie: Lokeren O-VL Belgie
"You can manufacture weapons and you can purchase ammunition, but you can't buy valor and you can't pull heroes off an assembley line"