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World War Two

  • Why the men of Bomber Command must never be forgotten

    Before any troops even set foot on the beaches on 6 June 1944 Bomber Command had already lost almost 300 aircraft and 2,000 men (1,500 killed) attacking invasion targets. Wing Commander John Bell MBE tells us about the significant contribution made by the RAF and Bomber Command in D-Day and why it must never be forgotten.

  • "What a sight it was to look down and see so many boats, like a giant armada!"

    Flying Officer Bunny Mason, 90, was a lone rear gunner on the Stirling Mk 4, which was specially adapted for D-Day to tow gliders over the Normandy beaches. The British Airspeed Horsa glider was used to transport paratroops and equipment, hundreds landing within just a few square kilometres once they were released.

  • Spearheading the attack on Fortress Europe

    Spearheading the attack on Normandy was just the start of Geoff Packham's extraordinary experience as the end of the war approached.

  • "Abandon aircraft chaps"

    Navigator John 'Jack' Lott had just celebrated his 25th birthday weeks before D-Day, sadly this was the last birthday he would celebrate.

  • Charles Clarke
    "Everyone used to say you'll be home for Christmas, but no one said which Christmas"

    Of the 76 men who escaped from Stalag Luft III, three managed to reach safety, 50 were shot, 17 were returned to Sagan, four were sent to Sachsenhausen and two were sent to Colditz Castle. In this blog, former PoW Charles Clarke tell us about finally being released from the camp.

  • Jack Lyon
    "The game is up"

    As the PoWs began to escape through the tunnel on the night of 24 March 1944, it was a long wait for Jack Lyon as he stood in the queue in Hut 104. In this blog, Jack tells us about that historic night and the eventual discovery of the tunnel by the guards.

  • "Without the film, who'd remember the 50 who were murdered?"

    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.

  • "The plan was for 200 men to get out"

    Former Flight Lieutenant Jack Lyon explains how the PoWs at Stalag Luft III were split into three groups as they carefully planned their escape.

  • "I came down in snowdrifts"

    Former Flight Lieutenant Charles Clarke was imprisoned in Stalag Luft III after being captured on enemy territory. In this blog, Charles tells us about his capture.

  • "Something's afoot!"

    Former Flight Lieutenant Jack Lyon, 96, was 25 when he entered Stalag Luft III's north compound. He became involved in the escape after being moved from the east to the north compound but, he says, escape information was strictly on a 'need to know' basis and he had no idea how truly audacious the plan was.

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