An extremely rare watch made for the Luftwaffe in the Second World War and taken as a souvenir by a hero PoW is tipped to sell for £3,000.

It is thought an army officer may have ‘liberated’ the timepiece from a German airman during a daring escape from a Nazi prison camp.

The officer, who served in the Belgian army, sought refuge in Britain and took part in the D-Day Normandy landings in June 1944.

After the war he settled in Oxfordshire and kept the strapless watch in a suitcase for almost 40 years.

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Following his death in 1980 it was passed to his son who only realised its value after seeing another Luftwaffe watch featured on the Antiques Roadshow TV show.

The iconic German Luftwaffe B-Uhr (Beobachtungsuhr) Observers watch was manufactured by A Lange and Sohne around 1940 and is highly collectable.

It is being auctioned with a guide price of between £2,000 and £3,000 but could fetch far more when it goes under the hammer at Hanson Holloways auction house in Banbury on Saturday (February 3).

The seller, from Banbury, said: “I took the watch to be valued having seen a similar piece on the Antiques Roadshow.

“It was in my father’s possession for as long as I can remember. My first memories of seeing it was as a child in the 1950s.

“My father was a decorated officer in the Belgian army during World War Two. I assume the watch came into his possession during this time.

“He spent time in a German prisoner of war camp in Germany before escaping to England where he took part in preparations for, and participated in, the D-Day landings in Normandy, France, in 1944.

“It has been in my possession since my father's death in the early 1980s.

“It has moved around with me in my father's old briefcase since then.

“Ironically at one stage it was with me in Soest, Germany, which was the location of one of the PoW camps my father was held in.”

Before the war started the B-Uhr Luftwaffe Observers watch was created to aid the German Air Force.

The German Air Ministry - Reichs-Luftfahrtministerium - was tasked with designing a special timepiece for bomber navigators.

Pilots required highly accurate watches for navigational purposes which had to be robust, precise and easy to read.

Antiques valuer Paul Fox said: “Our client brought the watch in for valuation and we were amazed.

“It’s such an important military find.

“To meet all these requirements the watch face was big and bold with black dials and large luminous numerals and minute and second indicators.

“The hands were coated with radium so it would glow in the dark and the movement featured a mechanism to aid precise time setting.

“Every watch underwent stringent testing for accuracy before being certified by the German Naval Observatory.

“They were not personally issued to aircrew but supplied to bomber crew navigators before every mission.

“Afterwards they were returned to the stores.

“They are highly prized collectors’ items because, due to heavy losses sustained by the Luftwaffe in World War Two, few survived the war.

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“Consequently, to find one in Banbury 79 years after the 1939-45 conflict ended is extraordinary.

“However, the vendor’s back story provides the provenance.

“As our client’s father was an officer in the Belgium army and a prisoner of war, he experienced this conflict on every level.

“Belgium was invaded by Germany on May 10, 1940.

“After 18 days of fighting, the Belgian military surrendered to the Germans, beginning an occupation that lasted until 1944.

“It was during this time our client’s father ended up in a German POW camp.

“Whether given to him or found by chance, the watch would have been a valuable asset in wartime.”