65 years ago today;

The following men took part in a mass breakout from Stalag Luft III in what is now known as The Great Escape. All were subsequently recaptured and murdered at the orders of Hitler as a warning to other POW’s not to attempt to escape. Which many duely ignored.

J5233 F/L Henry J Birkland, Canadian, born 16-Aug-17, 72 Sqdn, (shot down 7-Nov-41, Spitfire Vb, W3367)
61053 F/L E Gordon Brettell DFC, British, born 19-Mar-15, 133 (Eagle) Sqdn (shot down 26-Sep-42, Spitfire IX),
43932 F/L Lester G Bull DFC, British, born 7-Nov-16, 109 Sqdn (shot down 5/6-Nov-41, Wellington IC, T2565)
90120 S/L Roger J Bushell, British, born 30-Aug-10, 92 Sqdn (shot down 23-May-40, Spitfire I, N3194)
39024 F/L Michael J Casey, British, born 19-Feb-18, 57 Sqdn (shot down 16-Oct-39, Blenheim I, L1141)
400364 S/L James Catanach DFC, Australian, born 28-Nov-21, 455 Sqdn (crash landed in Norway, 6-Sep-42, Hampden I AT109)
413380 F/L Arnold G Christiansen, New Zealander, 26 Sqdn, born 8-Apr-21, PoW 20-Aug-42
122441 F/O Dennis H Cochran, British, born 13-Aug-21, 10 OTU, PoW 9-Nov-42
39305 S/L Ian K P Cross DFC, British, born 4-Apr-18, 103 Sqdn (shot down 12-Feb-42, Wellington IC, Z8714 PM:N)
378 Lt Halldor Espelid, Norwegian, born 6-Oct-20, 33 Sqdn, PoW 27-Aug-42,
42745 F/L Brian H Evans, British, born 14-Feb-20, 49 Sqdn (shot down 6-Dec-40, Hampden I, P4404 EA:R)
742 Lt Nils Fugelsang, Norwegian, 339 Sqdn, PoW 2-May-43
103275 Lt Johannes S Gouws, South African, born 13-Aug-19, 40 Sqdn SAAF, PoW 9-Apr-42
45148 F/L William J Grisman, British, born 30-Aug-14, 109 Sqdn, (believed shot down 5/6-Nov-41, Wellington IC, T2565)
60340 F/L Alastair D M Gunn, British, born 27-Sep-19, 1 PRU, PoW 5-Mar-42
403281 F/L Albert H Hake, Australian, born 30-Jun-16, 72 Sqdn, PoW 28-Dec-41
50896 F/L Charles P Hall, British, born 25-Jul-18, 1 PRU, PoW 28-Dec-41
42124 F/L Anthony R H Hayter, British, born 20-May-20, 148 Sqdn, PoW 24-Apr-42
44177 F/L Edgar S Humphreys, British, born 5-Dec-14, 107 Sqdn (shot down 19-Dec-40, Blenheim IV, T1860)
J10177 F/L Gordon A Kidder, Canadian, born 9-Dec-14, 156 Sqdn (shot down 13/14-Oct-42, Wellington III, BJ775)
402364 F/L Reginald V Kierath, Australian, born 20-Feb-15, 450 Sqdn, PoW 23-Apr-43
P0109 Maj Antoni Kiewnarski, Polish, born 26-Jan-1899, 305 Sqdn (shot down 28-Aug-42, Wellington X, Z1245)
39103 S/L Thomas G Kirby-Green, British, born 28-Feb-18, 40 Sqdn (shot down 16/17-Oct-41, Wellington IC, Z8862 BL:B)
P0243 F/O Wlodzimierz Kolanowski, Polish, born 11-Aug-13, 301 Sqdn (shot down 8-Nov-42, Wellington IV, Z1277 GR:Z)
P0237 F/O Stanislaw Z Krol, Polish, born 22-Mar-16, 74 Sqdn (shot down 2-Jul-41, Spitfire Vb, W3263)
J1631 Patrick W Langford, Canadian, born 4-Nov-19, 16 OTU, (shot down 28/29-Jul-42, Wellington IC, R1450)
46462 F/L Thomas B Leigh, Australian in RAF, born 11-Feb-19, 76 Sqdn (shot down 5/6-Aug-41, Halifax I, L9516),
89375 F/L James L R Long, British, born 21-Feb-15, 9 Sqdn (shot down 27-Mar-41, Wellington IA, R1335 WS:K)
95691 2/Lt Clement A N McGarr, South African, born 24-Nov-17, 2 Sqdn SAAF, PoW 6-Oct-41
J5312 F/L George E McGill, Canadian, born 14-Apr-18, 103 Sqdn. (baled out of a damaged Wellington R1192 10/11-Jan-42 over Germany, on an operation to Wilhelmshaven. The Wellington managed to limp back to Elsham Wolds.)
89580 F/L Romas Marcinkus, Lithuanian, born 22-Jul-10, 1 Sqdn
103586 F/L Harold J Milford, British, born 16-Aug-14, 226 Sqdn, PoW 22-Sep-42
P0913 F/O Jerzy Tomasc Mondschein, Polish, born 18-Mar-09, 304 Sqdn (shot down 8-Nov-41, Wellington IC, R1215)
P0740 F/O Kazimierz Pawluk, Polish, born 1-Jul-06, 305 Sqdn (shot down 29-Mar-42, Wellington II, W5567 SM:M)
87693 F/L Henri A Picard Croix de Guerre, Belgian, born 17-Apr-16, 350 Sqdn, PoW 2-Sep-42
402894 F/O John P P Pohe, New Zealander, born 10-Dec-21, 51 Sqdn (shot down 22/23-Sep-41, Halifax II, JN901)  Also known by his Maori name of Porokoru Patapu.
30649 Sous-Lt Bernard W M Scheidhauer, French, born 28-Aug-21, 131 Sqdn, PoW 18-Nov-42
213 P/O Sotiris Skanzikas, Greek, born 6-Aug-21, 336 Sqdn, PoW 23-Jul-43
47341 Rupert J Stevens, South African, born 21-Feb-19, 12 Sqdn SAAF, PoW 14-Nov-41
130452 F/O Robert C Stewart, British, born 7-Jul-11, 77 Sqdn (shot down 26/27-Apr-43, Halifax II, DT796)
107520 F/L John G Stower, British, born 15-Sep-16, 142 Sqdn (shot down 16/17-Nov-42, Wellington III, BK278, QT:C)
123026 F/L Denys O Street, British, born 1-Apr-22, 207 Sqdn (shot down 29/30-Mar-43, Lancaster I, EM:O)
37658 F/L Cyril D Swain, British, born 15-Dec-11, 105 Sqdn (shot down 28-Nov-40, Blenheim IV, T1893)
P0375 F/O Pawel Whilem Tobolski, Polish, born 21-Mar-06, 301 Sqdn (shot down 25/26-Jun-42, Wellington IV, GR:A)
82532 F/L Ernst Valenta, Czech, born 25-Oct-12, 311 Sqdn (shot down 6-Feb-41, Wellington IC, L7842 KX:T)
73022 F/L Gilbert W Walenn, British, born 24-Feb-16, 25 OTU, PoW 11-Sep-41
J6144 F/L James C Wernham, Canadian, born 15-Jan-17, 405 Sqdn (shot down 8/9-Jun-42, Halifax II, W7708 LQ:H)
J7234 F/L George W Wiley, Canadian, born 24-Jan-22, 112 Sqdn, PoW 12-Mar-43
40652 S/L John E A Williams DFC, Australian, born 6-May-19, 450 Sqdn, PoW 31-Oct-42
106173 F/L John F Williams, British, born 7-Jul-17, 107 Sqdn (shot down 27-Apr-42, Boston III)

Note: Although no Americans actually took part in the escape itself many had taken part in the digging of the three tunnels. The Americans were all relocated to a sperate compund shortly before the escape. Critisism of a having an American lead actor in the film while technically accurate is not entirely fair. It would have been easier if Hollywood had stuck to history but thats never been their strong suit.


6 Responses to 65 years ago today;

  1. david carly says:

    flt lt John williams was my third cousin. i went to poland a few years ago and visisted the remains of stalag luft 3 and the fifty graves in poznan and will always remember what these brave souls did and hope we all remember aswell . thanks for all youve done .

  2. After the Americans were moved to their new camp, they immediately began digging their own tunnels.

  3. Anarkeytek says:

    ..and yet they never made a film about the American great escape…

  4. Murray says:

    Yes they did, stared Steve McQueen all about how the valiant American lead to Brits to freedom and ended up in the cooler with a tennis ball. Jeeze Dave get with the program.

    Note: Who let the hippies in?????

  5. David says:

    Hollywood and History don’t mix. Hollywood produces movies for 13 year old girls. History usually is made by adults doing the right thing trying to make the best of a bad situation. Sometimes it works out with a happy ending, sometimes it doesn’t.

    Hollywood has a script to follow, History is usually a bunch of desperate men, making things up as they go along.

    Hollywood heros are always calm, dashing, daring, and win in the end. History’s heros are usually just too cold, tired, hungry, scared or desperate to care anymore.

    History is about normal men and women who did the best they could with what they had to fight with. Hollywood is about getting you to fork over the entire contents of your wallet for a small popcorn and two hours of suck.

  6. newarkcemeteryuk says:

    On Friday, 7th March 1941, the most well known of all raids on Newark-On-Trent took place, when the Ransome and Marles factory was bombed at 1.40pm. A single German Heinkell 111 bomber, flying so low that those on the ground could see its markings, approached from the south following the railway line. It dropped four high explosive bombs. Two of these landed on the works causing considerably damage, one on the road at the side of the factory and the other on an air raid shelter adjacent to Stanley Street. The plane machined gunned the site before circling, passing over the factory again and dropping another bomb. This did not explode. At 2.24pm another enemy aircraft approached dropped five more bombs but only one exploded, causing more damage and casualties, mainly rescue workers. As a result 29 men and 12 women were killed, 65 treated in hospital and 100+ treated at the works own underground hospital. This day became known as “Black Friday.” We will Remember them RIP. Ransome and Marles changed its name to R.H.P. (Ransome, Hoffmann and Pollard) and is now called N.S.K. (Nippon Seiko K.K.)

    This memorial website is dedicated to the thousands of people that are buried in our cemetery and their resting place is
    Laurence Goff
    Friends of Newark cemetery

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