Seventy years ago: The Great Escape
Yesterday was technically the anniversary, but I missed it until today:
Although 200 airmen had planned to escape through man-made tunnels, only 76 managed to taste freedom and 73 were later captured. Of those who broke out, only 3 reached safety, and, of the 73 recaptured, 50 were shot dead by Nazi Germany’s feared secret police force, the Gestapo.
Today, a ceremony to commemorate the Great Escape took place in Zagan, Poland; a town near to the site of the Luftwaffe-run prisoner-of-war camp. Attending the ceremony were survivors of the Stalag Luft, which means ‘camp for aircrew’, families of those held there and UK and Polish officials.
I doubt anyone has missed the movie, but on the off chance you haven't seen it, here is some info on the escape:
In 1943, under the leadership of Squadron Leader Roger Bushell, RAF prisoners at Stalag Luft III started the mammoth task of digging 3 tunnels, known as ‘Tom’, ‘Dick’ and ‘Harry’. The tunnels were 30 feet deep and were meant to run more than 300 feet into woods outside the camp.
The prisoners used anything they could find, or steal, in the camp to line the tunnels with wood, run a railway and electric lighting, and create primitive ventilation. They also made civilian clothes, maps, compasses and German passes to help them escape.
It was my Dad's favorite movie, and by extention I probably saw it 50 times. And enjoyed each one as much as the first viewing.