Peculiar Plots – The Great Escape

Before I return to the earlier Peculiar Plots, I stumbled upon this story, that deserves being part of the series. Again, the plot is so ridiculously contradictory, that it baffles people actually believe these kinds of plots. The plot holes are so deep and pervasive, the story could just be called a talking Swiss cheese.

The Stalag Luft III allegedly was a prisoner-of-war (POW) camp of Nazi Germany in the extreme east of the Altreich (the borders of Germany pre-WWII), in present-day Poland. It is said there were “10,949” prisoners (unknown if this is a cumulative number or the maximum at one moment) consisting of British RAF and US American USAF and other nationality prisoners. The two compounds of the camp are said to have been guarded by 800 Nazi officers.

Not one, but two alleged escapes “happened” at this camp, and the second one of them has been made world famous in the movie “The Great Escape”, starring Steve McQueen and Richard Attenborough, to just name two well-known actors. The movie was released on Independence Day 1963 in the US, not coincidentally of course. Allegedly, the movie grossed $11,744,471 (numerology crazy) on a budget of $3.8 [=11] million…

About the (admitted “fictionalized” but based on “real” events) movie:

The castle Hendley and Blythe fly by while attempting to escape is Neuschwanstein Castle

This castle is known by everyone, as it was the inspiration for Disney’s castle

The funny thing with these peculiar plots is that they debunk themselves. The amount of contradiction in the schizowiki writing in these plots is overwhelming. Read along and you’ll see.

Allegedly the camp location and construction was selected because of 3 main reasons:

The prison camp had a number of design features that made escape extremely difficult. The digging of escape tunnels, in particular, was discouraged by several factors:

  1. the barracks housing the prisoners were raised approximately 60 centimetres (24 in) off the ground to make it easier for guards to detect tunnelling;
  2. the camp had been constructed on land that had a very sandy subsoil; the surface sand was bright yellow, so it could easily be detected if anyone dumped the darker, grey dirt found beneath it above ground, or even just had some of it on their clothing. The loose, collapsible sand meant the structural integrity of any tunnel would be very poor.
  3. A third defence against tunnelling was the placement of seismograph microphones around the perimeter of the camp, which were expected to detect any sounds of digging.

Basically, this means escapes using tunnels would be impossible, especially the second point; geology is stronger than us, humans. Anyone who has dug in loose sand knows it collapses immediately.

But, the same page tells us that despite these measures, two successful escapes using tunnels were performed….

The First Escape

The first escape occurred in October 1943 in the East Compound. Conjuring up a modern Trojan Horsekriegies (prisoners) constructed a gymnastic vaulting horse largely from plywood from Red Cross parcels. The horse was designed to conceal men, tools and containers of soil.

Each day the horse was carried out to the same spot near the perimeter fence and while prisoners conducted gymnastic exercises above, a tunnel was dug. At the end of each working day, a wooden board was placed over the tunnel entrance and covered with surface soil. The gymnastics disguised the real purpose of the vaulting horse and kept the sound of the digging from being detected by the microphones.

For 3 months 3 prisoners [33], Lieutenant Michael Codner, Flight Lieutenant Eric Williams and Flight Lieutenant Oliver Philpot, in shifts of one or two diggers at a time, dug over 30 m (100 ft) of tunnel, using bowls as shovels and metal rods to poke through the surface of the ground to create air holes. No shoring was used except near the entrance. On the evening of 19 October 1943, Codner, Williams and Philpot made their escape.[13] Williams and Codner were able to reach the port of Stettin where they stowed away on a Danish ship and eventually returned to Britain. Philpot, posing as a Norwegian margarine manufacturer, was able to board a train to Danzig (now Gdańsk) and from there stowed away on a Swedish ship headed for Stockholm, from where he was repatriated to Britain.

Accounts of this escape were recorded in the book Goon in the Block (later retitled The Wooden Horse) by Williams, the book Stolen Journey by Philpot and the 1950 film The Wooden Horse.

I couldn’t stop laughing when reading this BS. A hollow gymnastics vaulting horse made from plywood? Digging for 3 months in a row using bowls without being noticed? Constructing a 30 m tunnel in impossible collapsing loose sand? Since when do gymnastics exercises conceal the digging of a tunnel, with seismographs around the perimeter detecting subsurface digging?

Notice also how they constructed this story; they made a movie of a book, not a movie about the “actual events”, but fiction upon fiction upon a fictionalized story.

The Great Escape

The more famous of the two escapes is even more ridiculous and the “magical” and “unfortunate” moments are piled on top of each other as a house of punch cards on a running treadmill.

In March 1943, Royal Air Force Squadron Leader Roger Bushell conceived a plan for a mass escape from the North Compound, which occurred on the night of 24/25 March 1944.

So according to this story, this Great Escape Plan was running for a full year.

Herbert Massey, as senior British officer, authorised the escape attempt[17] which would have good chance of success; in fact, the simultaneous digging of three tunnels would become an advantage if any one of them was discovered, because the guards would scarcely imagine that another two were well underway.

No, for sure, when one tunnel gets discovered, the stupid Nazis would never ever suspect more tunnels, makes sense?!

However, the most radical aspect of the plan was not the scale of the construction but the number of men intended to pass through the tunnels; in fact, while all previous attempts had involved up to 20 men, in this case Bushell was proposing to get over 200 out, all wearing civilian clothes and some with forged papers and escape equipment. As this escape attempt was unprecedented in size, it would require unparalleled organization; as the mastermind of the Great Escape, Roger Bushell inherited the codename of “Big X”.[16] More than 600 prisoners were involved in the construction of the tunnels.

Big X, right. 200 men out, 600 workers, for a full year in loose unconsolidated sand, across the harsh winter of Central Europe, why not?

Three tunnels were dug for the escape. They were named TomDick, and Harry. The operation was so secretive that everyone was to refer to each tunnel by its name. Bushell took this so seriously that he threatened to court-martial anyone who even uttered the word “tunnel” aloud.

The English expression is apparently a popular one, in a “John Doe” type of fashion.

Tom began in a darkened corner next to a stove chimney in hut 123 and extended west into the forest. It was found by the Germans and dynamited.

A – suddenly the 60 cm risen huts were not effective anymore?

B – there is no need to “dynamite” a tunnel in loose unconsolidated sand, as such a tunnel couldn’t be dug in the first place. The whole characteristic of unconsolidated sand is that tunneling without walling off the sides with cement or other impermeable materials is impossible. Geology or Gardening 1.0.

Dick’s entrance was hidden in a drain sump in the washroom of hut 122 and had the most secure trap door. It was to go in the same direction as Tom and the prisoners decided that the hut would not be a suspected tunnel site as it was more inward than the others. Dick was abandoned for escape purposes because the area where it would have surfaced was cleared for camp expansion. Dick was then used to store dirt and supplies, and as a workshop.

A – that is not how reality works, guys. You cannot “decide” something “would not be suspect”. Who writes this post-modern LGBTQrap?

B – oh a workshop? Like: we are not talking about a heavily guarded, impossible to escape, prison camp, but about a thriving local town where you just can hide workshops in -again, I cannot stress it enough- impossible to construct tunnels?

Harry, which began in hut 104, went under the Vorlager (which contained the German administration area), sick hut and the isolation cells to emerge at the woods on the northern edge of the camp.[19] The entrance to “Harry” was hidden under a stove. Ultimately used for the escape, it was discovered as the escape was in progress with only seventy-six of the planned two hundred twenty prisoners free. It was subsequently filled with sewage and sand, and sealed with cement by the Germans.

They were out of dynamite I guess. Or suddenly realized the best way.

And of course digging a tunnel underneath the German administration area, the best idea ever! Nobody of the diligent Nazi administrators would notice that impossible tunnels are dug right underneath their feet.

The image says “8.5 meter deep, the text 9, but how in the world can you dig 9 meters deep through loose sand? And then 102 meters horizontally. And then 9 meters up. This tunnel plan is as loose as the sand it was supposedly built in.

But, they had a solution! Or so:

The tunnels were very deep – about 9 m (30 ft) below the surface. They were very small, only 0.6 m (2 ft) square, though larger chambers were dug to house an air pump, a workshop, and staging posts along each tunnel. The sandy walls were shored up with pieces of wood scavenged from all over the camp, much from the prisoners’ beds (of the twenty or so boards originally supporting each mattress, only about eight were left on each bed). Other wooden furniture was also scavenged.

An air pump! Why not? Is this a movie set or a POW camp? And of course, “scavenging pieces of wood for a full year”, stupid Nazis, they could never suspect such a thing. Especially not after already discovering 1 tunnel. And after an earlier successful attempt using a Trojan Vaulting Horse…

How many materials allegedly were used we read further on:

Following the escape, the Germans made an inventory of the camp and uncovered how extensive the operation had been. 4000 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.[20] 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.[25] Thereafter each bed was supplied with only nine bed boards, which were counted regularly by the guards.[citation needed]

Hahahahaha, sorry, I pity everyone who believes such a story. Are we still talking about a heavily guarded POW camp or an avant-la-lettre depôt of IKEA??

Other materials were also scavenged, such as Klim cans; tin cans that had originally held powdered milk supplied by the Red Cross for the prisoners. The metal in the cans could be fashioned into various tools and items, for example scoops and lamps, fueled by fat skimmed off soup served at the camp and collected in tiny tin vessels, with wicks made from old and worn clothing.[20] The main use of the Klim tins, however, was for the extensive ventilation ducting in all three tunnels.

This whole “soup skimming” operation was led by MacGyver? Or Bear Grylls?

As the tunnels grew longer, a number of technical innovations made the job easier and safer. A pump was built to push fresh air along the ducting, invented by Squadron Leader Bob Nelson of 37 Squadron. The pumps were built of odd items including pieces from the beds, hockey sticks and knapsacks, as well as Klim tins.

Really! I imagine your facial expression when reading this…

The usual method of disposing of sand from all the digging was to scatter it discreetly on the surface. Small pouches made of towels or long underpants were attached inside the prisoners’ trousers; as they walked around, the sand could be scattered. Sometimes, they would dump sand into the small gardens they were allowed to tend. As one prisoner turned the soil, another would release sand while they both appeared to be in conversation.[20] The prisoners wore greatcoats to conceal the bulges from the sand, and were referred to as “penguins” because of their supposed resemblance. In sunny months, sand could be carried outside and scattered in blankets used for sun bathing; more than 200 were used to make an estimated 25,000 trips.

Stupid Nazi guards, that they didn’t notice this was going on… Or maybe it wasn’t? Just a loose idea.

Oh wait!

The Germans were aware that something was going on, but failed to discover any of the tunnels until much later.[citation needed] In an attempt to break up any escape attempt, nineteen of the top suspects were transferred without warning to Stalag VIIIC. Of those, only six had actually been involved with tunnel construction.

Heinz, somezing iz going on hier in zis camp, aber I don’t know what, zhall we investigate zis suspicion?

Karl, ach nein, zese POWs are formidable Brits and Americans, zey would never try to escape from our beautiful facility wiz basketball fields, swimming pools, theaters, and all other amenities. Zose 4000 bed boards will turn up any day now, go back to your Arbeit, sofort!

Eventually the prisoners felt they could no longer dump sand above ground because the Germans became too efficient at catching them doing it. After “Dick’s” planned exit point was covered by a new camp expansion, the decision was made to start filling it up. As the tunnel’s entrance was very well-hidden, “Dick” was also used as a storage room for items such as maps, postage stamps, forged travel permits, compasses and clothing.

Great Movie script, guys!

Some guards cooperated by supplying railway timetables, maps, and many official papers so that they could be forged. Some genuine civilian clothes were obtained by bribing German staff with cigarettes, coffee or chocolate.

Oh yeah, that is right! The condition in a prison camp is of course that the guards of the camp are poor and don’t have access to luxury goods as coffee or chocolate, while the wealthy prison population has a surplus bigger than a pile of bunkbeds and mattresses!

For a moment I forgot how the situation in a typical prison (camp) is. My bad, storytellers.

The prisoners ran out of places to hide sand, and snow cover then made it impractical to scatter it undetected.

Oops. But wait, this “problem” is solved soon enough:

However, under the seats in the theatre there was a large empty space, but when it was built the prisoners had given their word not to misuse the materials; the parole system was regarded as inviolate. Internal “legal advice” was taken, and the SBOs decided that the completed building did not fall under the parole system. A seat in the back row was hinged and the sand dispersal problem thereby solved.

You see? Reality is just what you want it to be. Some promises, some inventive methods, problems solved. That is how reality works, people, Hollywood is making it far too complicated.

As the war progressed, German prison camps began to receive larger numbers of American prisoners.[4] The Germans decided that new camps would be built specifically for U.S. airmen. To allow as many people to escape as possible, including the Americans, efforts on the remaining two tunnels increased. However, this drew attention from guards and in September 1943 the entrance to “Tom” became the 98th tunnel to be discovered in the camp[citation needed]; guards in the woods had seen sand being removed from the hut where it was located. Work on “Harry” ceased and did not resume until January 1944.

“PFRGHSGHEGHGGGHHH” is more or less the phonetic reaction I have when reading this. Feel free to share your version in the comments!

Let’s rewind:

The prison camp had a number of design features that made escape extremely difficult. The digging of escape tunnels, in particular, was discouraged by several factors:

  1. the barracks housing the prisoners were raised approximately 60 centimetres (24 in) off the ground to make it easier for guards to detect tunnelling;

  2. the camp had been constructed on land that had a very sandy subsoil; the surface sand was bright yellow, so it could easily be detected if anyone dumped the darker, grey dirt found beneath it above ground, or even just had some of it on their clothing. The loose, collapsible sand meant the structural integrity of any tunnel would be very poor.

  3. A third defence against tunnelling was the placement of seismograph microphones around the perimeter of the camp, which were expected to detect any sounds of digging.

Ninety-fecking-eight tunnels, including a “successful” one from beneath the Trojan Horse in a camp designed to make tunneling impossible. No, seriously. This story must be real, because it looks so fake…

“Harry” was finally ready in March 1944. By then the Americans, some of whom had worked on “Tom”, had been moved away; despite its portrayal in the Hollywood film, no American participated in the “Great Escape”. Previously, the attempt had been planned for the summer for its good weather, but in early 1944 the Gestapo visited the camp and ordered increased effort to detect escapes. Rather than risk waiting and having their tunnel discovered, Bushell ordered the attempt be made as soon as it was ready.

Guys, we have been working for 9 (12 minus 3) months on this tunnel, it’s ready now, but let’s wait until summer. It is so much nicer to crawl out of a sandy tunnel when the Silesian Sun is shining!

In their plan, of the 600 who had worked on the tunnels only 200 would be able to escape. The prisoners were separated into two groups. The first group of 100, called “serial offenders,” were guaranteed a place and included 30 who spoke German well or had a history of escapes, and an additional 70 considered to have put in the most work on the tunnels. The second group, considered to have much less chance of success, was chosen by drawing lots; called “hard-arsers”, they would have to travel by night as they spoke little or no German and were only equipped with the most basic fake papers and equipment.

Schizowiki 1.66… Traveling by night = less chance of success? Let’s see:

The prisoners waited about a week for a moonless night, and on Friday 24 March the escape attempt began. As night fell, those allocated a place moved to Hut 104. Unfortunately for the prisoners, the exit trap door of Harry was frozen solid and freeing it delayed the escape for an hour and a half.

Bummer, but no worries, there is always a solution in these Hollowplywood plots!

Then it was discovered that the tunnel had come up short of the nearby forest; at 10.30 p.m. the first man out emerged just short of the tree line close to a guard tower.

“It was discovered”? They worked on this tunnel for months, but only when escaping they find out the design was flawed? Close to a guard tower, well planned!

As the temperature was below freezing and there was snow on the ground, a dark trail would be created by crawling to cover. To avoid being seen by the sentries, the escapes were reduced to about ten per hour, rather than the one every minute that had been planned. Word was eventually sent back that no-one issued with a number above 100 would be able to get away before daylight.

Directly contradicting what was said before, but who cares. Tracks in the snow outside of the perimeter of a lid camp at night are easily solved; just extend the time in between escapes, they disappear by themselves, magically!

As they would be shot if caught trying to return to their own barracks, these men changed back into their own uniforms and got some sleep.

Oh but having 200 strange men in hut 104 was no problem? How did the guards miss out on that? Ah Ja, Ze Ztupid Nazis.

Ill fate was not over… because unfortunately:

An air raid then caused the camp’s (and the tunnel’s) electric lighting to be shut down, slowing the escape even more.

An air raid?!! Like in “there are bombs falling on the camp”, electricity down, alarms going off, guards sprawling through the camp, panic, mayhem, everything, but just a little “slow down” in The Great Escape? Sure!

If you thought the drama would be over by now, I have to disappoint you:

At around 1 a.m., the tunnel collapsed and had to be repaired.

Just like that. Take some spoons from the stockpile and “repair” a collapsed tunnel dug into unconsolidated frozen sand. MacGyver turned Superman here.

Despite these problems, 76 men crawled through to freedom, until at 4:55 a.m. on 25 March, the 77th man was spotted emerging by one of the guards. Those already in the trees began running, while a New Zealand Squadron Leader Leonard Henry Trent VC who had just reached the tree line stood up and surrendered.

Right.

The guards had no idea where the tunnel entrance was, so they began searching the huts, giving men time to burn their fake papers.

Let’s see, 2 compounds, 800 guards, so 400 per compound. Let’s be lenient and say they worked 3 shifts a day, so 133 guards on duty in this compound. There were allegedly some 30 huts (the maquette built for the movie allegedly was too small), but Zose Ztupid Nazis couldn’t find the entrance.

Hut 104 was one of the last to be searched, and despite using dogs the guards were unable to find the entrance.

Convenient.

Inconvenient.

Miracles and unfortunate events go hand in hand; typical movie plot writing by schizophrenics who have no idea about continuity, logic or reality.

Finally, German guard Charlie Pilz [Charlie is not a German name and Pilz literally means “mushroom”!] crawled back through the tunnel but found himself trapped at the camp end; he began calling for help and the prisoners opened the entrance to let him out, finally revealing its location.

An early problem for the escapees was that most were unable to find the way into the railway station, until daylight revealed [train stations with apparent night trains are unlit in Germany?] it was in a recess of the side wall to an underground pedestrian tunnel. Consequently, many of them missed their night time trains, and decided either to walk across country or wait on the platform in daylight. Another unanticipated problem was that this was the coldest March for thirty years, with snow up to five feet deep, so the escapees had no option but to leave the cover of woods and fields and stay on the roads.

Drama again, we readers get swept from one end (miracle) to the other end (oh no! drama) in a classical Hegelian Hollywood style.

An “unanticipated” problem? As in;

Boys, tonight we are going to make The Great Escape!

Jolly good, but look outside! Don’t you think the 5 ft of snow would become a wee bit impractical, boss?

Nahh, we’re fine, we just call it “unanticipated” later, the script editors will make it work!

Of 76 escapees, 73 were captured. Adolf Hitler initially wanted them to be shot as an example to other prisoners, along with Commandant von Lindeiner, the architect who designed the camp, the camp’s security officer and all the guards on duty at the time. Hermann Göring, Field Marshal Keitel, Major-General Westhoff and Major-General Hans von Graevenitz (inspector in charge of war prisoners)[26] all argued against the executions as a violation of the Geneva Conventions. Hitler eventually ordered SS head Himmler to execute more than half of the escapees. Himmler passed the selection on to General Arthur Nebe, and fifty were executed singly or in pairs.

So much work, such an amazing achievement, but then, noo, the Nazis finally woke up and captured the escapees!

It gets better:

Roger Bushell, the leader of the escape, was shot by Gestapo official Emil Schulz just outside Saarbrucken, Germany.

Ehhhhhhhh, the camp was located in Silesia, in the extreme east of the Altreich. Did the scriptwriters have any clue about geography? Saarbrücken is on the opposite end of Germany, in the extreme west, near the French border…

Hold your laughter, please:

Bob Nelson is said to have been spared by the Gestapo because they may have believed he was related to his namesake Admiral Nelson.

😀

His friend Dick Churchill was probably spared because of his surname, shared with the British Prime Minister.

😀 😀 😀

Seventeen were returned to Stalag Luft III, two were sent to Colditz Castle, and four were sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where one quipped “the only way out of here is up the chimney.”[29] They managed to tunnel out and escape three months later, although they were recaptured and returned;[3][27] two were subsequently sent to Oflag IV-C Colditz.

Stalag Luft III and Sachsenhausen were not the only Swiss cheese holes in the “flawless” Nazi administration of camps. Colditz Castle is another famous escape site. They even made a board game out of it, called “Escape from Colditz”.

There were three successful escapees:

The two Norwegians:

“Bergsland was wearing a civilian suit he had made for himself from a Royal Marine uniform, with an RAF overcoat slightly altered with brown leather sewn over the buttons. A black RAF tie, no hat. He carried a small suitcase which had been sent from Norway. In it were Norwegian toothpaste and soap, sandwiches, and 163 reichsmarks given to him by the Escape Committee. [sure! a nice picnic, some Riesling wine and Cuban cigars too, by any chance?]

We caught the 2:04 train [so apparently there was no problem to find the entrance to the Bahnhof?] to Frankfurt an der Oder. Our papers stated that we were Norwegian electricians from the Arbeitslager [labor camp] in Frankfurt working in the vicinity of Sagan. For the journey from Frankfurt to Stettin we had other papers ordering us to change our place of work from Frankfurt to Stettin, and to report to the Birgermeister of Stettin.”

Jens Müller wrote a book about his war time experiences titled Tre kom tilbake (Gyldendal, 1946). The Great Escape was made into a film.

yet:

[The Great Escape] is based on Paul Brickhill‘s 1950 book of the same name, a “””non-fiction””” “””first-hand account””” of the mass escape from Stalag Luft III in Sagan (now Żagań, Poland)

Brickhill,

did not take part in tunnelling but was in charge of “stooges”, the relay teams who would alert prisoners that German search teams had entered the camp. He was originally scheduled to be an early escapee but when it was discovered he suffered from claustrophobia [sure!], he was dropped down to the bottom of the list. He later said he figured this probably saved his life. After the war, Brickhill co-wrote Escape to Danger (with Conrad Norton, and original artwork: London: Faber and Faber, 1946). Later Brickhill wrote a larger study and the first major account of the escape in The Great Escape (1950), bringing the incident to a wide public attention. This book became the basis of the film (1963).

So this whole story is based on 1 book, made into a movie…

The Dutch “escapee”:

Bram van der StokMBE (13 October 1915 – 8 February 1993), also known as Bob van der Stok, was a World War II fighter pilot and flying ace, and is the most decorated aviator in Dutch history.

On 12 April 1942, during an operation code-named ‘Circus 122’ over occupied North France to attack the railway marshaling yard at Hazebrouck, van der Stok was shot down whilst flying Spitfire Vb BL595. He parachuted down safely at Saint-Omer in the Pas-de-Calais, but was immediately captured by a Wehrmachtpatrol.[Note 1]

What does Note 1 say?

In his war memoir, van der Stok cites the date of his capture as 14 July 1942, but from his original RAF ‘Escape & Evasion Report’ (dated 11 July 1944) at England’s National Archive, the date of capture is given as 12 April 1942.

Like you can be mistaken between April (spring time) and July (heart of summer)… If there is a 3 month difference between the “memoir” and “official reports” something is not right…

I was just outside the Twin Towers on June 8, 2001, when I saw the first plane hit the WTC!

Whilst at Stalag Luft III he made three escape attempts. The first was inadvertently spoiled by another POW who drew attention to the escaping van der Stok while retrieving a stolen German cap from the roof of a hut.

😀 😀

The second attempt was thwarted when the German guards noticed that a forged pass he was using to get past them was out of date.

Oops.

His third attempt, on the night of 24–25 March 1944, was as a part of what later became known as “The Great Escape”, where he was the #18 man out of the escape tunnel of a total of 76 prisoners who staged a mass break-out of the camp. Only three ultimately succeeded in getting clean away: van der Stok, who crossed much of occupied Western Europe before reaching the safety of neutral Spain, and two Norwegians, Per Bergsland and Jens Müller, who managed to reach neutral Sweden.

three months after the break-out of Stalag Luft III, van der Stok reached British Empire territory once again by arriving in Gibraltar on 8 July 1944. He was subsequently flown from Gibraltar to Whitchurch Airport in England on 11 July 1944.[8][Note 2]

In his war memoir, van der Stok gives the date of his arrival back in England as 20 May 1944, but his original RAF ‘Escape & Evasion Report’ (dated 11 July 1944) at England’s National Archive gives the actual date as 11 July 1944.

Three strikes and you’re out!

He relocated to the United States of America with his wife Petie and their three children, […] He subsequently joined NASA‘s space lab research team in Huntsville, Alabama. In 1980 he published a war memoir entitled: Oorlogsvlieger van Oranje (War Pilot of Orange).

Spooks gonna spook…

There’s more:

Some held at Stalag Luft III went on to notable careers in the entertainment industry:

They admit it right in our faces, as always, TRIOMF…

British actor Peter Butterworth and English writer Talbot Rothwell were both inmates of Stalag Luft III; they became friends and later worked together on the Carry On films. Butterworth was one of the vaulters covering for the escapees during the escape portrayed by the book and film The Wooden Horse.[69] After the war and as an established actor, Butterworth auditioned for the film but “didn’t look convincingly heroic or athletic enough” according to the makers of the film.

English writer and broadcaster Hugh Falkus was an inmate at Stalag Luft III from around 1943, after his Spitfire was shot down over France. Falkus reportedly worked on 13 escape tunnels during his time as a POW, although never officially listed as an escapee.

And:

Singer Cy Grant, born in British Guiana [Jonestown!], served as a Flight Lieutenant in the RAF and spent two years as a prisoner of war, including time at Stalag Luft III. After the war he qualified as a barrister but went on to be a singer, actor and author. His was the first black face to be regularly seen on British television, singing the news as “topical calypsos” (punning on “tropical”) on the BBC Tonight programme.

and:

Charles W. Sandman, Jr., a navigator in the USAAF, spent over seven months in Stalag Luft III. Sandman entered the camp weighing approximately 86 kg (190 lb) and left weighing 57 kg (125 lb). In his diary, Sandman describes the harsh winters and struggles to secure rations sent by the American Red Cross. After the war, he was elected to the US Senate from New Jersey and criticized for supporting President Nixon during the Watergate scandal.

right.

Flight Lieutenant Gordon “Moose” Miller RCAF, helped carry the Wooden Horse in and out each day under the German guns without faltering with the weight of two concealed diggers and a day’s worth of earth

This Great Escape in post-hoax management:

In a 2006 poll in the United Kingdom, regarding the “””family film””” that television viewers would most want to see on Christmas Day, The Great Escape came in third, and was first among the choices of male viewers.[41]

In 2009, seven POWs returned to Stalag Luft III for the 65th anniversary of the escape[42] and watched the film. According to the veterans, many details of the first half depicting life in the camp were authentic, e.g. the machine-gunning of Ives, who snaps and tries to scale the fence, and the actual digging of the tunnels. In 2014, the 70th anniversary of the escape, the RAF staged a commemoration of the escape attempt, with 50 serving personnel carrying a photograph of one of the men shot.

I am not going to watch this 172 minute movie, but probably most of you have.

Honestly, how many times did you burst into laughter while reading this Peculiar Plot?

2 thoughts on “Peculiar Plots – The Great Escape

  1. You put a lot of time into this, and great work. The escapes are of course works of fiction, and I am amazed at the detail they put into writing the stories. I saw the movie The Great Escape when I was a kid, but don’t remember much if it, but I don’t recall thinking that it was about a real event. I thought it was just a movie. I also saw a movie about an escape from a castle, The Birdmen (1971), equally incredible, and only remember Max Baer Jr. being in it. He was Jethro Bodine in the Beverly Hillbillies (1962-1971), an American TV comedy series, and was trying to escape from being typecasted as a dimwitted loser. That’s why I remember the movie … Jethro was in it!

    Isn’t it amazing how well they have typecasted the Germans … evil villains who will murder anyone at the drop of a hat, and as so stupid as to allow mass escapes from fictional prison camps. There was a TV show called Hogan’s Heroes (1965-1971) based on the same premise, that the wily prisoners were running circles around the stupid Germans in charge of the camp. It is part of the illusion I was sold as a kid that Americans are a master race.

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  2. I must admit, The Great Escape was a family favourite at Christmas growing up in the not too distant past, along with The Italian Job (the original), unlike The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins. I even had the Colditz game [though everyone else wanted to play something easier like Chess or Monopoly], and read a book about the Escape and how the re-captured airmen were shot “während pinkelpause” (yea, they were taking the piss all along).

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