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He never spoke about it…

Military Cemetery at St Valéry-en-Caux Photo courtesy Stewart Mitchell

THERE’S usually a trigger for iScot stories, though it’s not always obvious at the time. Back in November last year, I read something that made me search online for a Channel 4 documentary, Dunkirk: The Forgotten Heroes, that tells the story of the 51st (Highland) Division who were left behind in France after the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940. Never having heard of this before, it left a great impression on me. I was shocked. A few weeks later I happened to mention it to a friend who said he was aware of some of the story as his father, after never having talked about his wartime experiences, belatedly related some tales that he had kept private for more than 50 years. Around the same time an email arrived at iScot from reader Les Wilson asking if we’d be interested in his father’s wartime experiences as part of that 51st (Highland) Division left behind… Coincidence, or a perfect example of the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon? (Sometimes known as the Frequency Illusion, this is a situation where something which has only recently revealed itself continues to appear with improbable frequency shortly thereafter.) Either way, this chain of events has led to us uncovering the extraordinary story of Les’s father, Lance Corporal Leslie Wilson of the Gordon Highlanders, and the futile rearguard action fought by the 51st (Highland) Division at St Valéry-en-Caux.

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iScot Magazine
May/June 2019

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