He was held in a series of German prisoner-of-war camps until the end of the war, but was involved in at least 10 attempts to escape from the four prisoner of war camps in which he was detained. He and six others escaped from Oflag IX-A/Z at Rotenburg. He was quickly recaptured and jailed. He was involved in three attempts to escape from Oflag VII-C at Laufen, and three further attempts at Oflag VI-B at Dössel (now part of Warburg).
He was moved to Oflag VII-B at Eichstätt then back to Oflag IX-A/Z, where another escape bought him eight days of liberty. Recaptured and marched west with other prisoners to prevent being released by the advancing Red Army, he slipped out of the column and managed to reach forward units of the advancing First United States Army, and was quickly returned to England.
His escape attempts led to a mention in dispatches in 1945, upgraded to an MBE (Military Division).
He was secretary of the Order of St John from 1973 to 1983, and president of the Church Lads' and Church Girls' Brigade Association from 1974 to 2000. He succeeded his third cousin, Colonel Sir John Forbes, as 7th Baronet in 1984, and also became patron of the Lonach Highland Society that year. The Society was founded in 1822 by his ancestor Sir Charles Forbes, 1st Baronet, and preserves Highland dress and the Gaelic language.
He married twice. He married Jacynthe Underwood in 1945, and they had a son and three daughters. They divorced in 1981 and he remarried that year, to Mary Christine Rigby MBE.
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