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Thread: The Great Escape.

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    Default The Great Escape.

    One of the last two survivors of the Great Escape has died aged 101.Australian Paul Royale was among 76 Second World War airmen who dug a tunnel to break out of the Nazi Luft 111 camp in Poland in 1944.This is the part I like,he was not a fan of the film and said :"The movie I disliked intensely,there were no motor bikes...and no Americans.
    Regards.
    Jim.B.

    Last edited by Doc Vernon; 30th August 2015 at 09:52 PM.
    CLARITATE DEXTRA

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    Default Re: The Great Escape.

    When the eventual remake is made, it will be ALL Americans in the camp, there may be an Englishman, but as usual in American films he will be some kind of a twit!

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    Default Re: The Great Escape.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Cloherty View Post
    When the eventual remake is made, it will be ALL Americans in the camp, there may be an Englishman, but as usual in American films he will be some kind of a twit!
    A hooray Henry upper class no doubt who will get us all killed.
    R635733

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    Red face Re: The Great Escape.

    Extracts from a complete account of the "Great Escape." (found by simply "googling" WWll The Great Escape.



    Stalag Luft III (German: Stammlager Luft, or main camp for aircrew) was a Luftwaffe-run prisoner-of-war camp during World War II that housed captured air force servicemen. It was in the German province of Lower Silesia near the town of Sagan (now Żagań in Poland), 100 miles (160 km) southeast of Berlin. The site was selected because it would be difficult to escape by tunneling.

    The camp is best known for two famous prisoner escapes that took place there by tunneling, which were depicted in the films The Great Escape (1963) and The Wooden Horse (1950), and the books by former prisoners Paul Brickhill and Eric Williams from which these films were adapted.

    The camp was very secure. Despite being an officers-only camp, it was referred to as a Stalag camp rather than Oflag (Offizier Lager) as the Luftwaffe had their own nomenclature. Later camp expansions added compounds for non-commissioned officers. Captured Fleet Air Arm (Royal Navy) crew were considered to be Air Force by the Luftwaffe and no differentiation was made. At times non-airmen were interned.

    The first compound (East Compound) of the camp was completed and opened on 21 March 1942. The first prisoners, or kriegies, as they called themselves (from Kriegsgefangene), to be housed at Stalag Luft III were British and Commonwealth airmen as well as Fleet Air Arm officers, arriving in April 1942. The Centre compound was opened on 11 April 1942, originally for British sergeants but by the end of 1942 replaced by Americans. The North Compound for British airmen, where the Great Escape occurred, opened on 29 March 1943. A South Compound for Americans was opened in September 1943 and USAAF prisoners began arriving at the camp in significant numbers the following month and the West Compound was opened in July 1944 for U.S. officers. Each compound consisted of fifteen single story huts. Each 10-by-12-foot (3.0 m × 3.7 m) bunkroom slept fifteen men in five triple deck bunks. Eventually the camp grew to approximately 60 acres (24 ha) in size and housed about 2,500 Royal Air Force officers, about 7,500 U.S. Army Air Forces, and about 900 officers from other Allied air forces, for a total of 10,949 inmates, including some support officers.[1][2]



    Stalag Luft III had the best-organised recreational program of any POW camp in Germany. Each compound had athletic fields and volleyball courts. The prisoners participated in basketball, softball, boxing, touch football, volleyball, table tennis and fencing, with leagues organised for most. A 20 by 22 by 5 feet (6.1 m × 6.7 m × 1.5 m) pool used to store water for firefighting, was occasionally available for swimming.[7]

    [ Soft ball is a form of baseball played the same way except the ball is larger, limiting the distance the ball can be hit and pitched underhand, Fielders and pitchers wear baseball gloves].



    The "Great Escape"[edit]

    In the spring of 1943, Squadron Leader Roger Bushell RAF conceived a plan for a mass escape from the camp, which occurred the night of 24/25 March 1944.[10][35] Bushell was held in the North Compound where British and Commonwealth airmen were housed. He was in command of the Escape Committee and channeled the effort into probing for weaknesses and looking for opportunities. Bushell called a meeting of the Escape Committee and not only shocked those present with its scope, but injected into every man a passionate determination to put their every energy into the escape. He declared



    "Everyone here in this room is living on borrowed time. By rights we should all be dead! The only reason that God allowed us this extra ration of life is so we can make life hell for the Hun ... In North Compound we are concentrating our efforts on completing and escaping through one master tunnel. No private-enterprise tunnels allowed. Three bloody deep, bloody long tunnels will be dug – Tom, Dick, and Harry. One will succeed!" [36]



    The most radical aspect of the plan was not the scale of the construction but the number of men that Bushell intended to pass through the tunnels. Previous attempts had involved the escape of anything up to a dozen or twenty men but Bushell was proposing to get in excess of 200 out, all of whom would be wearing civilian clothes and possessing a complete range of forged papers and escape equipment. It was an unprecedented undertaking and would require unparalleled organization. As the mastermind of the Great Escape, Roger Bushell inherited the codename of "Big X".[36] The tunnel "Tom" began in a darkened corner next to a stove chimney in one of the buildings. "Dick"'s entrance was carefully hidden in a drain sump in one of the washrooms. The entrance to "Harry" was hidden under a stove. More than 600 prisoners were involved in their construction.[

    As the war progressed, the German prison camps began to be overwhelmed with American prisoners.[7] The Germans decided that new camps would be built specifically for the U.S. airmen. In an effort to allow as many people to escape as possible, including the Americans, efforts on the remaining two tunnels increased but the activity drew the attention of guards and in September 1943 the entrance to "Tom" became the 98th tunnel to be discovered in the camp. Guards hiding in the woods watching the "penguins" noticed sand was being removed from the hut where Tom was located. Work on "Harry" ceased and did not resume until January 1944.[10][37]

    "Harry" was finally ready in March 1944 but the American prisoners, some of whom had worked on the tunnel "Tom", had been moved to another compound seven months earlier. Contrary to what is suggested in the Hollywood film, no American prisoners of war participated in the "great escape." Previously, this escape attempt had been planned for the summer as good weather was a large factor of success but in early 1944, the Gestapo had visited the camp and ordered increased efforts in detecting possible escape attempts. Bushell ordered the attempt be made as soon as the tunnel was ready.

    Successful escapees[edit] [English?]

    •Per Bergsland, Norwegian pilot of No. 332 Squadron RAF
    •Jens Müller, Norwegian pilot of No. 331 Squadron RAF
    •Bram van der Stok, Dutch pilot of No. 41 Squadron RAF


    Fifty were executed singly or in pairs.[10][43] Roger Bushell, the leader of the escape, was shot by Gestapo official Emil Schulz just outside Saarbrucken, Germany.


    I too thought it a crappy movie. Then the only Brit. war movies I liked were "The Best of Enemies." with David Niven and I believe Roberto Brazzi (sp.?) and "The Bridge on the River Kwi." Alec Guinness.

    I found most Brit movies were cast with an Ox-bridge ex-student slumming in the lower decks or a stiff upper lip giving his all for blighty, a loud mouth cockney, a thick yorkie, an unintelligible Glaswegion (sp?), a morose Welshman, a lovable scamp of an Irishman; a sturdy and steady Cornishman and other cartoon type characters, that just as the Yanks show in their movies, come together act as a team and unassisted beat the beastly Hun. Even my favorite "The Bridge on the River Kwi followed this formula.

    Come to think of it so did "The Cockle Shell Heroes." follow the "Ealing Studio" formula.

    Still at least Chips Rafferty wasn't around to play the "you beut" Okker.




    Summation: Yes there were American prisoners in the camp. Yes Americans were involved. Yes baseball gloves were available and yes it was a god awful movie.

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    Default Re: The Great Escape.

    The best war movie I can recollect was Western Approaches, a film made during the war for the probably flagging spirit of the British Public, was not the intention to make for entertainment, think it was 1944 I saw it. JS

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    Default Re: The Great Escape.

    Hi All.
    I have just finished reading the story of Roger Bushell's life, I can't remember the authors name took the book back to the library last week.
    Roger Bushell was a South African, parents very rich, he became a barrister and joined the RAF with his friends, Known as the millionaires flying club. He was shot down on his first flight over France. He spent all his years in prison camp escaping, and spent months on the run in Prague, where it is thought he was involved in the plot to kill Hydrich Reinhardt, he was living in a flat with a Polish Family and sleeping with the daughter who he told he wouldn't marry after the war; upset she told an old boy friend who unknown to her was in the German security service. the whole family was taken by the Gestapo and shot. Bushell was taken to Gestapo headquarters where he was questioned for a month, then taken back to Stalag Luft 3. He then organised the Great escape. Captured along with a French prisoner they were questioned at a railway station only a short distance from France and possible freedom, both fluent in German one of them said something in English, a massive mistake by two experienced escapees, they were questioned, then on Hitlers orders taken in a car to a motorway where the Frenchman was shot, then Roger got out and was shot by Emile Schultz, Roger fell and was seen to be in pain so Schultz lay down on the ground and shot him in the head. In his trial after the war Schultz was sentenced to death, his wife appealed to the Queen to save him to no avail.
    Cheers Des

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    Default Re: The Great Escape.

    As has been the case with many movies about the war, the first casualty is the truth. Tell it as it was and the story may not sound so alarming. Poetic licence has a lot to answer to.
    Happy daze John in Oz.

    Life is too short to blend in.

    John Strange R737787
    World Traveller

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    Default Re: The Great Escape.

    If you wish to be educated read a book, if you wish to be entertained watch a movie and most of what is on television.

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    Default Re: The Great Escape.

    I know there was another forum on P O W's', but neither I nor search can find it, so posting this here. This is worth a visit by young and old EDEN CAMP, Malton, Ryedale, North Yorkshire, YO17 6RT (Eden Camp Modern History Theme Museum) Covers all aspects of the war 1939-1945 there are 29 Nissen Huts and 3 Mess Halls covering all aspects of WWII, even the Merchant Navy gets a mention, but you have to look hard and they show photos of RN ships and men in RN uniforms (I feel a letter coming on!). If you are not of a nervous disposition you can walk through a sinking submarine or walk through a bombed out building with the smell of burning and dust and a man trying to get out of the rubble. The camp was originally a Prisoner of War camp. Would recommend that you spend a full day there and sustain yourself with a hot Churchill meat pie and a large dollop of mashed potatoes and peas.

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    Default Re: The Great Escape.

    #9, May be of interest too Ivan

    What happened to WW2 POW camps? - BBC News
    What happened to WW2 POW camps? - BBC News

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