An extremely rare watch made for the Luftwaffe in the Second World War and taken as a souvenir by a hero prisoner of war (PoW) fetched thousands at an auction.

The watch was bought by a private UK buyer for £3,936 at a sale at Hanson Holloway's Auction House in Banbury on Saturday (February 3).

Buyer details cannot be released without their express permission.

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

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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.

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

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.

Oxford Mail: The watch sold for £3,000The watch sold for £3,000 (Image: SWNS)“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.”

The German Air Ministry was tasked with designing a robust, precise and easy to read timepiece for bomber navigators.

The iconic German Luftwaffe B-Uhr Observers watch was manufactured by A Lange and Sohne around 1940.

Due to heavy losses sustained by the Luftwaffe in the Second World War, few survived the war.

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Antiques expert Paul Fox said he was "amazed" when the seller brought the watch in for valuation.

“It’s such an important military find," he said.

“To find one in Banbury 79 years after the 1939-45 conflict ended is extraordinary."

A spokesperson for Hanson Holloway's said: "We were delighted with the result for this important World War Two find.

"It sparked major interest from militaria collectors all over the world.

"We are pleased it achieved the price it deserved."