The iconic Scottish sprinter and devout christian, Eric Liddell, died in a Japanese internment camp in China in February 1945.
But the news of his passing wasn’t reported in the north-east, or indeed in any other part of the country, until close to VE Day, 75 years ago this week.
Liddell’s most notable athletics achievement came at the 1924 Paris Olympics where he won gold in the 400m and bronze in the 200m.
He had refused to run in his favoured event, the 100m, because it was to be held on a Sunday. His epic story was immortalised in the award-winning movie Chariots of Fire, released in 1981.
But what is much less known is that, in June 1922, the Edinburgh student travelled to Aberdeen to take part in the Scottish universities track and field Championships at Kings College playing fields in Old Aberdeen.
The venue is still used occasionally for training by the city’s top athletes, including Great Britain Olympic hopeful Zoey Clark.
Liddell, who by this time was already an established Scotland international at rugby and athletics, led a strong Edinburgh side in the competition, which at that time was one of the premier athletics meetings on the national sporting calendar.
On a cold and windy day in the Granite City, a huge crowd packed the arena to watch Liddell, head thrown back and chest puffed out, win the 100 yards in 10.4secs, finishing three yards ahead of Aberdeen’s WO Fiddes.
Later in the afternoon he completed a notable double by winning the 220 yards in 22.8 with Fiddes again runner-up, this time five yards behind.
Liddell’s performances captured the public imagination, but he was unable to break the universities championship records for both sprints, which had been set by Aberdeen’s James Stuart Gorham Collie nine years earlier.
Collie deserves better recognition. He was a member of the family of the legal firm who still operate in Aberdeen.
He clocked 10.2 for the 100, and 22.00 for the 220 in 1913.
The latter time remained the Scottish record until Liddell finally broke it with a 21.8 performance on a straight track at Edinburgh’s Craiglockhart in May 1922.
Despite his talent and record-breaking times, Collie was unfortunate to never have won a Scottish title.
At the 1913 Scottish championships at Celtic Park, he was fourth in the 100 yards behind Kelso’s Henry Mcintosh in a close race in which a yard separated the top four.
Collie came close to success in 1914 at Powderhall in Edinburgh when placing second behind Macintosh in both sprints.
At that time he was being touted as a candidate for the 1916 Olympic Games, which, of course, never materialised because of World War 1.
Collie did, however, make his only Scotland international appearance against Ireland and England at Hampden Park in July 1914, finishing fifth in the 100 yards.
Mcintosh had won gold at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics as a member of the Great Britain 4x100m relay squad. Sadly he died in action during the Great War in 1918.
The war also brought an end to Collie’s career. He served with distinction in the RAF, but once hostilities ceased he emigrated to South Africa where he became involved in fruit farming. He died there in 1953 aged 61.
There is another remarkable local connection from the 1922 universities meeting.
Also competing for Aberdeen that day was AJM (Freddy) Edwards, who, it was reported, “ambled on to fill third position in the one mile”.
Freddy was the father of well-known Aberdeen athlete and Scotland international Mel Edwards.
In 2015, Freddy’s grandson Myles became the first Aberdeen runner to win the Scottish 1500m title when competing at the nearby Aberdeen Sports Village.