Life in Newburgh on Ythan

By Talpa

The escape of Johnny Ramensky

I've photographed this scene before, but in B&W, so here is a colour version. I've also previously recounted the story of Johnny Ramensky's bid for freedom, but I think that the tale is worth the re-telling.

This is the old bridge over the River Ythan, a few miles upstream from Newburgh-on-Ythan. In 1934 Johnny Ramensky escaped from the formidable Convict Prison at Peterhead and went on the run, before being caught at Balmedie nearly 30 miles away. He had evaded a police roadblock at Ellon by edging inch by inch by his fingertips along the outside of the parapet of this bridge

'Gentle Johnny' Ramensky from the Glasgow Gorbals was a Peterman, a safe-blower without peer and a wartime commando cracksman, whose exploits turned him into a folk hero. A compulsive and athletic burglar who eschewed violence, Ramensky escaped from the penal stronghold of Peterhead prison no fewer than five times, and was hailed as a 'War Hero' after he was parachuted behind enemy lines in WW2 to blow safes and to steal vital documents. Sadly, however, he was an arch-recidivist, and once back in civvie-street he repeatedly turned to safe-blowing, and neither his skills nor his war-time record prevented him from spending more than 40 of his 67 years in Scottish prisons, where he eventually died.

On a lighter note, the "extra" photograph is of my bonsai maple which has determined that autumn is upon us.

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