Earlier this week marked the 75th anniversary of the Great Escape when 76 RAF PoWs attempted to escape from Stalag Luft III, of which only 3 successfully escaped and made it home.
Of the 73 who were recaptured, 50 were chosen at random and murdered by the Gestapo.
The International Bomber Command Centre in the UK found 28 of those who were in Bomber Command and whose names are on the Centre’s memorial. A wreath has been laid at The Spire to honour the 50 who died, and a poppy placed in each of the 28 members of Bomber Command on the Memorial Walls.
The remaining 23 who were not shot, were placed in various prison camps including Colditz.
I’m a tad fragile at the moment and swilling with drugs to beat a couple of bugs, thus providing time to think which is more often than not, a huge negative.
I’ve stumbled across the website of an Australian author, who as fate would have it, is also a mate of my late aviation-tragic friend and author, Justin Sheedy.
Kristen Alexander is currently a PhD candidate at University of New South Wales (Canberra) researching the experiences of Australians in Stalag Luft III and welcomes contact with anyone with family connections to former SLIII prisoners. She has been writing about Australia’s aviation history since 2002. Allen & Unwin published Clive Caldwell Air Ace in 2006 and Jack Davenport Beaufighter Leader in 2009. Barrallier Books published Australian Eagles in 2013. NewSouth published Australia’s Few and the Battle of Britain in September 2014. Pen & Sword published the UK edition in April 2015. Jack Davenport Beaufighter Leader was in the RAAF Chief of Air Force’s 2010 Reading List. Australia’s Few was included on the 2015 list. Kristen won the Military Historical Society of Australia’s 2012 and 2013 Sabretache Writer’s Prize. Her articles and book reviews have appeared in Flightpath, Aircrew Book Review, Sabretache, Britain at War, and Aviation Heritage. Taking Flight. Lores Bonney’s Extraordinary Flying Career was published by the National Library of Australia in March 2016.
Kristen’s website is http://www.kristenalexander.com.au and she has a fascinating blog in which she discusses the Great Escape, and particularly how the Australian relatives responded. It’s well worth a read.
Time for more antibiotics…..