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 The Other Great Escape

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Triceratops
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PostSubject: The Other Great Escape   Thu 10 Oct 2013, 14:29

The story of three Reservists in the Signal Corps, John McCallum, his step brother Jimmy O'Neill anf their pal Joe Harkin, who were taken prisoner in 1940 at Boulogne and sent to Stalag VIIIB in the Sudetenland. While in the POW camp, security seems to have been fairly lax at the beginning, John met local girl Traudl, from the near by town of Bad Karlsbrunn,and began a romantic relationship with her.As security tightened in January 1944, the three signalmen, began preparing their escape, with Traudls' help, in forging documents and obtaining civilian clothes. Finally in March 1944 our three heroes made their bid for freedom, coincidentally arriving in the town of Sagan the morning after 76 airmen had escaped from Stalag-Luft III, close by. The three of them now found themselves in the middle of one of the biggest manhunts in Nazi Germany, but due to some sheer good luck,some advice from Traudl and one occasion an audacious use of a Nazi salute, the three of them made it to Stettin,  smuggled themselves aboard the Swedish freighter Heros and onto Stockholm, eventually returning via a diplomatic flight to Leuchars.

This is just a synopsis, the full story is in McCallum's book:



McCallum contacted Traudl after the War, only to discover she had married a Czech officer

Incidentally, in the introduction, it states that 10,000 RAF/ Commonwealth airmen were lynched by German civilians as terror fliers.
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PostSubject: Re: The Other Great Escape   Thu 10 Oct 2013, 16:44

@Triceratops wrote:


Incidentally, in the introduction, it states that 10,000 RAF/ Commonwealth airmen were lynched by German civilians as terror fliers.
Hmm. 10,000 sounds a touch high - and horribly round. It would represent nearly 20% of Bomber Command's total fatalities.
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PostSubject: Re: The Other Great Escape   Fri 11 Oct 2013, 08:53

That's what I was thinking as well Gil, just wondered if anyone else had come across any information on this.
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PostSubject: Re: The Other Great Escape   Fri 11 Oct 2013, 13:38

In contrast to the Allied escapees, only one German, Luftwaffe pilot Franz von Werra, managed to escape from custody. Von Werra jumped out of train in Canada, and made his way over the St Lawrence river to the then neutral United States, eventually returning to Germany via Mexico, Brazil, Spain and Italy.
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PostSubject: Re: The Other Great Escape   Mon 04 Nov 2013, 13:48

Von Werra made it home, but he was by no means the only German officer to escape from British custody. On the night of the 10th to 11th of March 1945 70 German prisoners managed to tunnel their way out of the Island Farm POW camp in Bridgend, Wales, in an incident that in many ways makes it a rival for the title of "The Great Escape".

Their intended routes home were varied indeed and in some cases extremely ambitious - ranging from commandeering a small plane to rowing across the North Sea. In the end all 70 were recaptured, the most successful having made it as far afield as Southampton and Birmingham.


The Glamorgan Chief Constable's letter of thanks to all who participated in the search operation

A thorough breakdown of this daring escapade, itself the makings of a German version of "that" film, can be found on this excellent website:

http://www.islandfarm.fsnet.co.uk/index.html


Last edited by nordmann on Mon 04 Nov 2013, 14:54; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: The Other Great Escape   Mon 04 Nov 2013, 14:28

Regarding air crews being lynched and murdered by civilians, I agree that the 10,000 tally is extraordinarily over-stated. There were of course many such incidents - just as also occurred in the UK in the case of Luftwaffe crew who had baled out - and after the war there were some rather high-profile incidents of the perpetrators being prosecuted and executed for war crimes, even though as civilians they were technically not capable of committing a "war crime", though of course were indictable under civil law. In the most high profile case of all, the case of the Huchenfeld killing of five of the seven-man crew of a B-17, the case summary explicitly states that the murders were committed by "Hitler youth", in this case "disguised" as civilians. This could infer that the prosecutors knew they were overstepping the definition of what constituted a war crime and needed to stress a quasi-military involvement. However the effort and the commitment to prosecute in the small number of cases thus taken up also infers that this level of brutality was widespread enough to merit visible legal reprisal after the war, though maybe not so widespread enough to merit a more thorough and equally widespread rounding up of suspects along the lines of the rounding up of collaborators in the occupied countries once the German authorities there had been removed.

This website "WW2 Talk" produced a discussion two years ago in which two of the participants - one Briton with access to material relating to the prosecution and one German who investigated the incident in what is his home town - each provided some great pictures and information about the event and the subsequent trial.

WW2 Talk: Pforzheim


The crew


And the graves of five of them in Huchenfeld
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PostSubject: Re: The Other Great Escape   Tue 05 Nov 2013, 13:12

@nordmann wrote:
Von Werra made it home, but he was by no means the only German officer to escape from British custody. On the night of the 10th to 11th of March 1945 70 German prisoners managed to tunnel their way out of the Island Farm POW camp in Bridgend, Wales, in an incident that in many ways makes it a rival for the title of "The Great Escape".


I found this about a planned escape by four elite U-boat men from a POW Camp in Canada;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Kiebitz

which in turn was partly the inspiration for The McKenzie Break, a film  about  a German great escape.

Thanks for the posting on Huchenfeld.
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PostSubject: Re: The Other Great Escape   Tue 05 Nov 2013, 13:26

Re great escapes, there was this one from Holzminden POW camp during the First World War;

http://inthefootsteps.org.uk/Articles/1914-18GreatWar/HolzmindenTunnellers.htm
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PostSubject: Re: The Other Great Escape   Tue 05 Nov 2013, 19:02

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PostSubject: Re: The Other Great Escape   Thu 07 Nov 2013, 16:38

@Gilgamesh of Uruk wrote:
@Triceratops wrote:


Incidentally, in the introduction, it states that 10,000 RAF/ Commonwealth airmen were lynched by German civilians as terror fliers.
Hmm. 10,000 sounds a touch high - and horribly round. It would represent nearly 20% of Bomber Command's total fatalities.
I saw a documentary recently interviewing some of the bomber crews who had been shot down.  Apparently some of them were sent to a concentration camp under sentence of death by the Gestapo until they were rescued by the Luftwaffe and taken to a proper POW camp.
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PostSubject: Re: The Other Great Escape   Fri 08 Nov 2013, 14:38

Haven't had a chance to view this yet, will get round to it eventually;



This was a case where the local authorities held back to allow the murder of captured RAF airmen;

http://www.ess.uwe.ac.uk/wcc/essen.htm
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