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Thread: Great Escapers

  1. #1
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    Default Great Escapers

    This is following slightly from Christian's thread on Colin Sorensen who was number 81 in The Great Escape, or Escape 200 to give it it's pre Hollywood title.
    The 76 who escaped are well documented, as is Ken Rees at number 77.

    Does any one know of a list that gives all 200 escapers and their numbers?

    I am guessing that as Stanley Carter's family did not know of his involvement until the "Who do you think you are?" programme on Kate Humble, that there is no actual list.

    Maybe someone out there knows different?
    If anyone wants to submit names, shall we try and create one? More minds togerther are better than one?

    Best wishes
    James

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    Hi James
    I don't doubt that such a list was made and used, but from a book, "Escape to Danger" co written by Paul Brickhill and Conrad Norton, published in 1946 with the 2nd half devoted to what we now know as the "Great Escape", it seems that once those inside the camp understood that the plan was in trouble there was extensive, and hurried, destruction of all "incriminating" evidence and plans ,travel docs,forged letters etc went into the nearest available hut fireplace. I don't recall such a list being mentioned specifically but it must have existed to control the exit in good order of those trying to escape. It was possibly longer than 200 names as once the initial choice had been set I believe they had a number of reserves in case of anybody dropping out for any reason. A list seems to be a likely early casualty in the destruction,if only to avoid the knowledge reaching the Germans as to how ambitious the plan was designed to be.
    Regards
    Dick

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    Dear Dick
    Thank you for your reply. I completely understand and agree with all that you have said. I suppose a VERY long trawl through all the POW questionaires may throw up one or two names, but as you said the secrecy that was kept through 1944 was probably still very evident in 1945. Post war most wanted to forget the experience. Obvious exceptions to this were "Jimmy" James and Alan Bryett and Ken Rees in the UK.
    One of my resons for posting this thread is that as you say there may have been a reserve list, but with well over 600 directly involved in the escape and potentially many more, we often only read of someone's involvement when we read an obituary. Some of these like Colin Sorensen's give a number in the list, but there are may obits that can be misleading when a reporter states "Great escaper" when they are merely refering to the fact that the individual was in Sagan.
    May be we will never know who they all were.
    Best wishes
    James

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    My interest in the Great Escape is F/L Gordon Arthur KIDDER, MiD (1914-1944) from St. Catharines, Ontario. F/L Kidder was one of the six (6) Canadians who were shot and killed by the Germans during the Great Escape.

    He was an honour student at St. Catharines Collegiate, where he won a James Harris scholarship' in modern languages at the University of Toronto in 1933. He enlisted in the RCAF in 1941 and won his wings as a navigator at Jarvis in January 1942. He later completed Air Observers Course No.33 at Pennfield Ridge, New Brunswick (Canada) in advanced astro navigation. He was then posted overseas in February of 1942 and served with the 156 Squadron before being shot down on a bombing run 13 October 1942.

    Regards,
    G Christian Larsen
    President Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society
    http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nbpennfi/penn8bAirStation.htm

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    Hello Christian,
    Was your man on the Kiel op on that date?

    Bruce
    http://www.filephotoservice.co.uk/
    RESEARCH AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES & OTHER UK INSTITUTIONS

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    Hi Bruce,

    Yes F/L G.A. Kidder and the rest of his crew (F/S D.W. Congdon, R/88022; F/S W.W. Lott, R/99690 and Sgt. MacDonald, RCAF) were lost returning from a raid on Kiel, Germany 13 October 1942. It is unclear whether flak, fighters or mechanical failure was the cause, but their Wellington A/C crashed at sea off the German coast. Kidder and MacDonald were rescued by a German minesweeper whereas Congdon and Lott were killed. At this point I'm uncertain as to the fate of Sgt. MacDonald.

    Regards,
    Christian
    Last edited by PennfieldParish; 23rd May 2010 at 19:32.

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    Hi Christian,

    From this site's list of Air Force POWs and Oliver Clutton-Brock's "Footprints on the Sands of Time"

    R/65412 Sgt E.E. MacDonald, Wellington BJ775, POW at Luft VI and possibly Luft I.

    Regards,

    Dave

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    Hi Dave,

    Thanks...greatly appreciated!

    Christian

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    Dear Christian
    I have e-mailed you a couple of pages that may be of interest. Let me know if you would like the rest.
    Best wishes
    James

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    Hi James,

    Thank you for the additional information...greatly appreciated.

    Regards,
    Christian

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