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Thread: Great Escape question

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    Default Great Escape question

    Hi, I wonder if anyone can point me in the right direction.

    The Allied prisoners who took part in the Great Escape from Stalag Luft III in March 1944 were chosen by a ‘draw’. Did the larger list, including the names of the men who were not drawn from the hat, survive?

    Thanks,
    Bruce

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    Hi Bruce,
    I can not answer your question but I think it is not so much possible... but try the TNA Catalogue - you never know!
    Anyway as far as I know the 3 Czech were "in" as their help was so significant, one was taking part in digging, second in preparing clothes and A. Valenta (one of 50 killed) was something like Intelligence Oddicer and Liasion officer as he was well educated and he know very well German language.

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Hi Pavel,
    Thanks for the answer. So far, I have found around 70 files on the TNA catalogue that relate to the March 1944 escape, but with no real indication of which would include this information. It is probable that someone on this forum has already found the list, if it exists.

    Regards,
    Bruce

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    According to Jonathan Vance 'A Gallant Company' the first 30 were those with the best - German speakers etc, next 20 were half of the 40 most prominent workers on the tunnels, balance was drawn from unsuccessful entrants in previous draws.Second hundred drawn from remaining 410 candidates. Final list amended for 3 experienced diggers to act as haulers at the intermediate 'stations' per 20 escapers.

    There are further burials in Poznan Old Garrison Cemetery which aren't operational losses. There doesn't appear to be any further PoWs buried in Berlin with Denys Street who didn't die of either natural causes or fire from aircraft allied or German.

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    Thank you John. I have found an entry on a Liberation Report that states the subject was a member of, quote, ‘a certain organisation’. The use of this coy phrase is of interest, since it implies that the existence of an organised escape effort was not even to be acknowledged in the Liberation Reports. The same report then states that the officer concerned did not attempt escape because he missed out on the draw. I wonder if forum members with more experience of these Liberation Reports find this typical?

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    From a list that I recieved from CWGC about 2 yrs ago, they acknowledged responsibility for 48 of those involved in the Great Escape , all resting in Poznan Old War Cemetery. In an e-mail (now lost in a change of IP) they added that Denys Street was moved to Berlin.His father had been a member of Churchill's Cabinet during the war,no reason was given but it seems possible that a politician might have foreseen likely difficulty in visiting a grave in Communist controlled territory.CWGC added that in 1947 what they described as Norwegian Authorities recovered the remains of Nils Fugelsang from Poznan and took them to Norway. He is now buried in S Norway, presumably close to his home,the location was kindly supplied to me by Finn Buch(Argus on this board) but again the e-mail went missing in the change of IP and I didn't retain a hard copy.
    As partial back-up to John's post, from a book published in 1946 and written by Paul Brickhill and Conrad Norton- "Escape to Danger" it is stated that the Escape Committee calculated that only 220 persons at the most could be got out in one night. Roger Bushell, the head of the Organisation, chose 30 names,from among those who had done the most work,then 70 were drawn out of the hat. Bushell then selected a further 30 and 70 more were drawn. At the end a further 20 were selected from deserving people who still lacked a place. The only reference to lists came in a passage in the book that tells of the hearing inside the camp of a shot outside and of the decision of a man called only Davidson quoted as saying when it was decided that it was a shot" Right. I'll burn these lists".The lists are not identified but it might suggest that along with forged documents, maps,etc anything that might be of use to the German's investigations was rapidly destroyed.
    Regards
    Dick
    Last edited by Dick; 24th July 2009 at 13:22.

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    Hi Dick,

    thanks for your post - now I know from which book I remember the info how they were choosen - from the Czech edition of Brickhill's book:-)
    I also think that it was very dangerosu to keep any material when the escape was discovered.

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Default Great Escape question

    Hi Dick,

    I have mailed you a copy of our e-mail correspondence back in 2007.

    Best regards

    Finn Buch

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    Thanks Finn
    I've just realised that when I changed my e-mail address on the Members list I left a numeral out so it should begin easener1ATetc
    Sorry, yet another Senior moment!!
    Regards
    Dick

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