A GERMAN pensioner is trying to track down the families of three Croydon soldiers who made him their "mascot" at the end of the Second World War.
Heinz Johannsen, 78, is looking for information about Larry Adams, of Bennetts Avenue in Shirley, Len Carlile, of Gloucester Road, and George Francis, of Pitt Road, who were all members of the 29th Armoured Brigade stationed in Moldenit, a small village in the North of Germany, in 1945.
Mr Johannsen, who lives in Rendsburg, is particularly interested in finding information about Mr Francis, who left his name and address on a photograph which the soldiers left behind.
According to Mr Johannsen's research, George Francis was mentioned for good service and bravery during the war and may have family still living in Croydon.
He said: "I would be very happy if I could get in contact with some of his family members.
"As far as I found out, he has a daughter Edith Harper and a granddaughter Susan Wallage.
"George's son was Frederick Arthur Francis who passed away."
Mr Johannsen is hoping to find more photographs to print in a book and send to the soldiers' relatives.
He has already collected 25 photos from families of other soldiers who have got in touch with him, as well as from people in Moldenit.
"I just thought, this is a job for me. I do it for the little village," said Mr Johannsen.
"It's like a lottery when you phone people – it's very interesting and exciting.
"I've kept all the letters they send me and they have responded very well. I always send chocolates for the children too."
Mr Johannsen has been particularly interested about the British occupation since the early 1990s.
"I was ten years old when the war was over and the Middlesex Regiment made me their mascot," he added. "They gave me a uniform to wear and they supported the German people with food and coal.
"I was very thankful, I have never forgotten and I go to all their reunions.
"After 45 years I could still remember all the regiments, commanders and soldiers' names, but most of them were Jacks or Paddies so very hard to find."
Anyone with any information about George Francis, Larry Adams, Len Carlile or about anyone from the 29th Armoured Batallion stationed in Moldenit can contact Mr Johannsen on 0049 4331 448855 or e-mail jimmyjohannsen@ freenet.de