The ArgusBrighton war hero who escaped from the Nazis in Italy dies (From The Argus)

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Brighton war hero who escaped from the Nazis in Italy dies

The Argus: Brighton war hero who escaped from the Nazis in Italy dies Brighton war hero who escaped from the Nazis in Italy dies

A war hero who launched a daring escape from his Nazi captors after relieving himself in the woods will laid to rest next week.

John Slinger, who passed away on Christmas Day aged 93, was also notably one of the last to be evacuated from the beaches of Dunkirk in 1940.

His step-son has told how the then 20-year-old swam out to the final boat in just his underpants and helmet after blowing up French bridges to slow the German's advance - saving countless lives in the process.

Born in Birmingham in June 1920, he joined the Royal Engineers at the outbreak of the Second World War.

He was soon in the thick of the action when involved in the valiant evacuation of the British Army at Dunkirk.

Such was his exhaustion at reaching the final ship, he had little recollection of the return journey or even which port he entered.

After a short period of rest and recuperation he was sent to North Africa and Tobruk.

When not involved in the intense fighting he was getting into trouble with the establishment.

Step-son, Charlie Gimenez, said: “One of his lasting memories was of him and his friends skinny-dipping to cool off one day.

“Little did they know, Churchill was visiting and he was somewhat shocked by the sight of all these naked men.”

The oppressive heat, which caused him skin problems throughout his life, saw him trade chocolate and cigarettes for eggs with the local Bedouin which he then cooked for his pals on the bonnet of a vehicle.

But towards the end of the 240 day siege of the Libyan city he was captured by the Nazis who set about transporting him to a prisoner of war camp in Eastern Europe.

During a rest stop in Italy while relieving himself in the woods he made his escape.

He scarpered to the nearby mountains and was taken in by sympathetic locals including the then Italian teenager, John Cappelli.

Such was the friendship between the two that they stayed in touch until the Italian's death three years ago.

Mr Slinger's resistance finally came to an end when a German officer spotted his distinctive blue eyes and gentlemanly walk.

There was no escape this time and he spent the remainder of the war in a German POW camp in Poland.

Soon after he left the army for the hotel industry which saw him move the Sussex coast.

He first lived Peacehaven before moving to Friar Crescent, Brighton, in 1974 after meeting his wife.

In his later years he became heavily involved in both the Dunkirk Veterans Association and Royal Engineers Association.

Mr Gimenez said: “My lasting memory of him will be of an incredibly proud, brave and loving man.”

He leaves his wife Joan, 71, step-children Mr Gimenez, 50 and Elizabeth Burley, 45, and five grandchildren.

His funeral will be held at Brighton's Woodvale Crematorium on January 14 at 11.30.

The family has requested no flowers with donations instead to the Royal Engineers Association.

Comments (8)

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8:01am Mon 6 Jan 14

Take it Personally says...

Wow! What a great man and great stories! Would be an interesting book!
Wow! What a great man and great stories! Would be an interesting book! Take it Personally
  • Score: 12

9:55am Mon 6 Jan 14

whiteandred says...

Good story ruined by a silly and ignorant mistake. Please correct the sentence: "There was no escape this time and he spent the remainder of the war in a Polish camp." to read:
"There was no escape this time and he spent the remainder of the war in a GERMAN camp." .
Poland was on the Allied side and had already suffered the Nazi and Soviet invasions. It is also a fact that Poland resisted the Nazi invasion longer than France and the British Expeditionary Force. And, Poland did not surrender unlike France and Britain (Channel Islands).
Good story ruined by a silly and ignorant mistake. Please correct the sentence: "There was no escape this time and he spent the remainder of the war in a Polish camp." to read: "There was no escape this time and he spent the remainder of the war in a GERMAN camp." . Poland was on the Allied side and had already suffered the Nazi and Soviet invasions. It is also a fact that Poland resisted the Nazi invasion longer than France and the British Expeditionary Force. And, Poland did not surrender unlike France and Britain (Channel Islands). whiteandred
  • Score: 15

10:30am Mon 6 Jan 14

jimpres says...

There were no Polish camps. The German Nazis established the 'camps' on occupied Polish soil. The camps were German not Polish as implied by the error. Please correct the error.
There were no Polish camps. The German Nazis established the 'camps' on occupied Polish soil. The camps were German not Polish as implied by the error. Please correct the error. jimpres
  • Score: 16

10:56am Mon 6 Jan 14

getThisCoalitionOut says...

Surely if a camp is in Poland, it's a Polish camp?
Surely if a camp is in Poland, it's a Polish camp? getThisCoalitionOut
  • Score: -15

11:44am Mon 6 Jan 14

jniech says...

It is a shame that an excellent article was ruined by the claim he was imprisoned in a “Polish camp”. It was a German camp in occupied Poland. There were Polish camps but most of them were in Britain as Poland was a key ally of the British and we fought alongside you. Please correct the article.
It is a shame that an excellent article was ruined by the claim he was imprisoned in a “Polish camp”. It was a German camp in occupied Poland. There were Polish camps but most of them were in Britain as Poland was a key ally of the British and we fought alongside you. Please correct the article. jniech
  • Score: 13

1:13pm Mon 6 Jan 14

Number Six says...

What a brave and fascinating man. Makes me realise what an easy life I have had. RIP
What a brave and fascinating man. Makes me realise what an easy life I have had. RIP Number Six
  • Score: 7

2:09pm Mon 6 Jan 14

whiteandred says...

For getThisCoalitionOut,

When you go to Spain, are you an English Tourist or a Spanish Tourist?
Were the Alderney concentration camps, built and operated by Nazi-Germany, therefore British Camps because they were on British soil?
Hope this is a useful explanation.
For getThisCoalitionOut, When you go to Spain, are you an English Tourist or a Spanish Tourist? Were the Alderney concentration camps, built and operated by Nazi-Germany, therefore British Camps because they were on British soil? Hope this is a useful explanation. whiteandred
  • Score: 5

2:16pm Mon 6 Jan 14

whiteandred says...

My THANKS to The Argus for the prompt correction. If only the BBC could aspire to the same standard and stop making these types of mistakes.
Argus sentence now reads:
"There was no escape this time and he spent the remainder of the war in a German POW camp in Poland."
My THANKS to The Argus for the prompt correction. If only the BBC could aspire to the same standard and stop making these types of mistakes. Argus sentence now reads: "There was no escape this time and he spent the remainder of the war in a German POW camp in Poland." whiteandred
  • Score: 9

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