JOHNNY RAMENSKY was an expert safeblower who kept getting caught, but whom no prison could hold; even so he spent more than 40 of his 67 years behind bars. In total, he was sentenced to 56 years in jail throughout his criminal career in courts across Britain. He also became a wartime legend after being dropped behind enemy lines as part of an elite commando unit to blow open the safes of Nazi Generals. Offered special commando training under the leadership of General ‘Lucky’ Lacey, Ramensky was dropped as part of a crack unit behind enemy lines to use his expertise to blow open the safes of German leaders and secure important documents. During the fighting in Italy, he was among the first troops to enter Rome where he blew open the safes in 14 foreign embassies in a single day. He also blew Goering’s safes, receiving the Military Medal for his efforts and a pardon when peace was finally declared in 1945. In November 1955, he was arrestedagain and sentenced to 10 years ‘preventative detention’ in Scotland’s maximum security prison of Peterhead, from which he escaped five times in total — the first prisoner to do so. Ramensky died in Perth Prison, aged 67 in November 1972, from a brain haemorrhage suffered while serving a 12-month sentence. It was his dislike of violence that earned him his nickname ‘Gentleman Johnny’, but it was his daring wartime exploits and prolific criminal career which made his name. Ramensky never targeted people’s homes. His hit-list consisted of business premises from banks and shops to large offices.
Let Ramensky Go – sung here by Josh MacRae who also sings Sky High Joe, Baron James McPhait, Arkansas Rambler, The Day We Went To Rothesay, O, Champion At Keepin En Rollin, Johnny Cope and Kerrigrew’s Soiree