Johnny Ramensky: Cracking criminal

Johnny Ramensky was a career criminal who used his safe-cracking abilities as a commando during the Second World War. A song about him, The Ballad Of Johnny Ramensky, was written by Labour MP Norman Buchan and recorded by Enoch Kent, Buchan's brother-in-law. Ramensky was nicknamed "Gentle Johnny" as he was never violent on arrest.

Ramensky was born Jonas Ramanauckas, the son of Lithuanian immigrant parents, in Glenboig, a mining village in North Lanarkshire, near Coatbridge but brought up in Glasgow's Gorbals district. Whitehall contacted Ramensky while he was in Peterhead Prison, offering a pardon if he used his expertise in the British army. Ramensky was unable to give up his safe-cracking lifestyle and spent the time after the war in and out of jail, eventually dying in Perth Prison in 1972 after suffering a stroke.

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