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Old 03-23-2019, 11:10 PM   #1
xoxoxoBruce
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March 24th, 2019: Great Escape

You have probably heard of The Great Escape, you may have even seen the movie, Steve McQueen on the motorcycle,
plus Garner, Attenborough, Bronson... but I digress.
Today, March 24th, is the 75th anniversary of the real deal, THE Great Escape.
Coming up for auction is the diary that belonged to the late Royal Air Force Flight Lieutenant Vivian* Phillips while he was held in
the Nazis’ Stalag Luft III camp, in present-day Poland. The auction house claims it is the only such diary believed to have survived
not only the camp, “but also a forced march of hundreds of miles across Germany” later.

*I can see him fighting with his Dad in the mud, the blood, and the beer.



Quote:
Phillips was captured by the Nazis in May 1943, when his plane was shot down over Amsterdam during a bombing raid on a power station. He joined prisoners from a variety of countries including the United States, Canada, Australia, France, Norway, Latvia, and Belgium in Stalag Luft III, which the Nazis considered one of their more secure POW camps. That’s why Roger Bushell—a Royal Air Force pilot who had been shot down during the rescue at Dunkirk, and who had subsequently escaped from two German POW camps—was being held there when Phillips arrived. Undeterred, Bushell was planning another escape, despite the microphones that the Nazis had placed nine feet beneath the ground, and the sandy terrain that did not lend itself to tunnel construction.


Quote:
History details the prisoners dug their tunnels—codenamed Tom, Dick, and Harry—via a trapdoor underneath a stove, which was kept lit in order to deter guards from approaching it. Slowly, they were able to dig beneath the range of the microphones, taking off their clothing so the guards wouldn’t notice any telltale sandy stains.

“All this was done under the very noses of the guards,” wrote Phillips in his journal, one of those distributed to POWs by the Canadian Red Cross. He himself was one of the diggers, which Hansons says would have suited him as he was “rather short of stature and from Welsh coal-mining stock.” Phillips wrote that, eventually, he “graduated to a kind of foreman” in “charge of a gang of eight fellows…” A model of classic British stoicism, Phillips nonchalantly noted that “the whole thing was most efficiently run…”


Quote:
When the time came for the prisoners to put their tunnels to use, they had to draw names at random so as not to overwhelm the makeshift passageways. Phillips’s name was not drawn, but he was actually lucky: Only three of the 76 escapees ultimately eluded the Nazis. The rest were caught within two weeks, and 50 of the prisoners—including Bushell—were then (illegally) executed on Hitler’s personal orders.

And so, even with all of the writings and drawings depicting daily life in the POW camp, and describing plans for the escape plot, the most striking section of Phillips’s journal may be the “In Memoriam” list, which names the executed captured prisoners and their countries of origin. It cements the journal as more than a record of brilliant enterprise in the face of fierce adversity, but as a testament to enduring humanity in times of brutality.
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Old 03-24-2019, 12:10 AM   #2
sexobon
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Does that depict a guard dog barking; or, hearing the bark of a firing squad?
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Old 03-24-2019, 05:34 AM   #3
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Thanks for that, Bruce.

I'd intended to post something on the 'This Day in History' topic today but I'll add it here instead.
The ever reliable Wikipedia lists materiel 'acquired' during the Great Escape efforts as follows:

Quote:
Following the escape, the Germans made an inventory of the camp and uncovered how extensive the operation had been. Four thousand bed boards had gone missing, as well as 90 complete double bunk beds, 635 mattresses, 192 bed covers, 161 pillow cases, 52 twenty-man tables, 10 single tables, 34 chairs, 76 benches, 1,212 bed bolsters, 1,370 beading battens, 1219 knives, 478 spoons, 582 forks, 69 lamps, 246 water cans, 30 shovels, 300 m (1,000 ft) of electric wire, 180 m (600 ft) of rope, and 3424 towels. 1,700 blankets had been used, along with more than 1,400 Klim cans. Electric cable had been stolen after being left unattended by German workers; because they had not reported the theft, they were executed by the Gestapo.
How on Earth does the disappearance of 635 mattresses go unnoticed?

Link

In the last few weeks two of the participants in the escape have died.
Squadron Leader Dick Churchill died on 15th Feb. He was the last survivor of the seventy-six escapees and was among the twenty-three not executed on Hitler's orders.

Link

Flight Lieutenant Jack Lyon died on 8th March. The plot was discovered by guards before he could attempt his escape. He described himself as 'lucky'.

Link

There's a 75th anniversary service of commemoration at the site today and I understand that the RAF is participating both in the air and on the ground.
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Old 03-24-2019, 07:26 AM   #4
xoxoxoBruce
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Thank you sir, excellent addition of information.
However I would like to know why Wiki, MI-6, the CIA, the KGB(SRV), and Bundesnachrichtendienst, have colluded to cover up the heroic motorcycle ride of Hilts "The Cooler King".
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Old 03-24-2019, 09:48 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce View Post
However I would like to know why Wiki, MI-6, the CIA, the KGB(SRV), and Bundesnachrichtendienst, have colluded to cover up the heroic motorcycle ride of Hilts "The Cooler King".
It's a Triumph of international co-operation.
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Old 03-29-2019, 09:36 PM   #6
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Thanks you two. I learned a bunch with this post.
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Old 03-29-2019, 11:19 PM   #7
xoxoxoBruce
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We do it all for you, Spuck.
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