THIS week, historian Mark Muller shares the last of three extracts from the remarkable diaries of local soldier Sid Thomas, which chart his escape from the Nazis in 1940.

May 12, 1940: Have been walking for 27 hours over a mountain. Lots of snow. Germans are watching the road and so will have to wait until dark to cross both road and river.

We managed to cross... found a boat.

Stayed in a house by the river and are being fed by the people. Am sitting by a window and can see Jerry party sailing up and down the river, probably looking for us.

Have been here for two days now. Today I was outside and could see Germans passing in 100s all day.

These people have been very good to us. They have found a guide for us. Left at night, have to keep going for the next 40 miles.

Time telling on us. Hell of a journey, all out, weak. Parker passed out. We have given our addresses to one another in case some don’t get home again. Have had to rest for two hours.

Off again, feelings running high again, believing to be getting close to Swedish border. Guide have left us, we’re supposed to cross the border tonight.

Leaving tonight for the border.

Trekking for 18 hours and no border.

Two days and no border, boys look a pitiful sight.

Can’t go on any more, so made fire in the woods. Worst thing we can do, the Germans will be able to see the smoke of the fire. Boys are all in and some wish they had given themselves up to the Jerries.

We are going to eat the little food we have carried with us. Jim and I are thinking about setting out on our own.

Have been resting and sleeping for 6 hours. Boys looking a little better now. Asked them to try once more. The six of us are off again. I have been leading for the past two hours. We take leading two hours at a time.

Just before we cross the border, Jimmy and I see it at the same time and race for it.

Got over, rested up and lit fire. Nothing to eat. Journey is just as bad in Sweden.

Came to a cabin and stayed two days and have eaten all the food in the cabin. Reg and I found a boat and are going fishing.

Lucky to be still writing – bloody boat sunk, had to pull Reg out, Reg very thankful. No food so have to move on.

May 20: Arrive at Idne, Sweden at 3.30. Making for a house, well sure to get a feed. Farmer have handed us over to the Swedish soldiers.

After being interned by neutral Sweden for two months the Swedes decided to allow the repatriation of the six men and took them north into Finland (at this point not at war with the UK) from where a ship could take them to Scotland.

July 28: Left Fulun (Sweden), the first step. Left at 12 o’clock, have 600 miles to go, next step Boden.

Walked across the border from Sweden to Finland – Turnio - carried on to Kerri. Past over Baltic Sea by bridge, arrive at Tovanem. Left Tovanem and arrive at Ivalo. The worst bus ride I have ever had, just come 200 miles. We are now 180 miles inside the Arctic circle.

Arrive Petsamo, am I bloody glad.

First day at sea, hell of a big swell and it’s August 1st, my birthday... what a present, am going home.

August 2: Hell of a storm at sea.

August 4: Storm at sea, no food now.

August 7: Landed at Scotland.

August 8: Left in HMS Javelin, on our way to London.

August 9: Did not want us in London and left for Aldershot.

Have locked us up in Aldershot and kept us for two days.

Left Sunday morning for Harfat.

August 11: Arrive home Sunday night.

Sid Thomas later saw service in Palestine where he suffered a fractured skull. After the war Sid joined the staff of the War Memorial Hospital as a painter and decorator.

In 1990 he and his son-in-law, Peter, returned to Norway to retrace some of the journey undertaken fifty years before.

Sid died in 1995. His wife died just a few months ago, in February of this year.