The escape of Allied airmen from the World War Two prisoner of war camp Stalag Luft III took place on the night of 24–25 March 1944. Two hundred airmen had planned to escape through man-made tunnels and 76 found their way to freedom; 73 were later captured. The chief organiser of the escape plan was RAF Squadron Leader Roger Bushell. Find out more about the Great Escape.
What makes the Great Escape from North Compound, Stalag Luft III in March 1944 so remarkable? The sheer audacity of the incarcerated airmen, their ambition and the scale of the planned breakout.
Seventy-five years ago to the day, a group of POWs were preparing to crawl to freedom through a 300-foot long tunnel in what would become known as the Great Escape. One of the inmates at Stalag Luft III was Bram Vanderstok, a Dutch Spitfire pilot, and one of only three men to make a 'home run'.
Of the 76 who escaped from Stalag Luft III, 50 were handed over to the Gestapo and shot dead. In this blog, former PoW Charles Clarke tells us how The Great Escape film has helped ensure that these men are never forgotten.
When John Leyton, now 83, starred in one of the most iconic war films of the 20th century, he knew the story they were telling was a real one.
Our interviews with former Stalag Luft III PoWs Charles Clarke and Jack Lyon.