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Saint Thomas More was martyred during the Protestant Reformation for standing firm in the Faith and not recognizing the King of England as the Supreme Head of the Church.
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I thought some of you might find this interesting. I well remember the movie
about the Great Escape starring Steve McQueen. If he were alive today, he
would have probably been interested in seeing it.

(For some reasons, the photos of the tunnels were not copied below when
I pasted the article.)

THE WW II GREAT ESCAPE TUNNEL
Untouched for almost seven decades, the tunnel used in the Great Escape has finally been unearthed.
The 111-yard passage nicknamed Harry by Allied prisoners was sealed by the Germans after the audacious break-out from the POW camp Stalag Luft III in western Poland .

Despite huge interest in the subject, encouraged by the film starring Steve McQueen, the tunnel remained undisturbed over the decades because it was behind the Iron Curtain and the Soviet authorities had no interest in its significance.
But at last British archaeologists have excavated it, and discovered its remarkable secrets.

Many of the bed boards which had been joined together to stop it collapsing were still in position.
And the ventilation shaft, ingeniously crafted from used powdered milk containers known as Klim Tins, remained in working order.
Scattered throughout the tunnel, which is 30ft below ground, were bits of old metal buckets, hammers and crowbars which were used to hollow out the route.
A total of 600 prisoners worked on three tunnels at the same time. They were nicknamed Tom, Dick and Harry and were just 2 ft square for most of their length.
It was on the night of March 24 and 25, 1944, that 76 Allied airmen escaped through Harry.
Barely a third of the 200 prisoners many in fake German uniforms and civilian outfits and carrying false identity papers who were meant to slip away managed to leave before the alarm was raised when escapee number 77 was spotted.

Tunnel vision: A tunnel reconstruction showing the trolley system.
Only three made it back to Britain . Another 50 were executed by firing squad on the orders of Adolf Hitler, who was furious after learning of the breach of security.
In all, 90 boards from bunk beds, 62 tables, 34 chairs and 76 benches, as well as thousands of items including knives, spoons, forks, towels and blankets, were squirrelled away by the Allied prisoners to aid the escape plan under the noses of their captors.
Although the Hollywood movie suggested otherwise, NO Americans were involved in the operation. Most were British, and the others were from Canada , (all the tunnellers were Canadian personnel with backgrounds in mining) Poland , New Zealand , Australia , and South Africa .

The site of the tunnel, recently excavated by British archaeologists
The latest dig, over three weeks in August, located the entrance to Harry, which was originally concealed under a stove in Hut 104.
The team also found another tunnel, called George, whose exact position had not been charted. It was never used as the 2,000 prisoners were forced to march to other camps as the Red Army approached in January 1945.
Watching the excavation was Gordie King, 91, an RAF radio operator, who was 140th in line to use Harry and therefore missed out.
This brings back such bitter-sweet memories, he said as he wiped away tears. Im amazed by what theyve found.

Bitter-sweet memories: Gordie King, 91, made an emotional return to Stalag Luft III.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didnt do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.Explore! Dream! Discover! - Mark Twain
Jun 29th 2013 new
It makes my heart beat fast when reading this article,how brave they were!It instills courage for sure.
Jun 29th 2013 new
Marianne - My dad was a prisoner at Stalag III from 1944 - 1945. He was shot down in his P-38 over Paris and injured his back when he bailed out. He landed in a field outside of Paris and was held for the Germans by a French farmer who kept him down with a pitch fork. After 30 days of solitary confinement and interrogation (no medical care) he was transported to Germany. On the way to Germany, he was riding in a "jeep" with an officer and a driver. The officer ordered the driver to stop by the side of the road. As the officer got out of the jeep, my dad saw him pull out his pistol. May dad thought he was going to be executed. But, the officer stood behind my dad with the gun to his head and then shot into the side of the road. The officer got back in the jeep and they resumed the trip. Dad was instrumental in helping with the digging of the tunnels. He was also there when the escapees were caught and shot immediately. I believe those shot were British and Polish.

Stalag III was for Air Force members and run by the Luftwaffe, so incredibly they were treated better than other prisoners "bond among brothers?". My dad rarely talked about his imprisonment but as he grew older he told my family many of the stories, particularly about the digging of the tunnels and treatment by the Germans. The best story is about his liberation on April 29, 1945.

I have wanted to go visit the site. It is now in Poland (division after the war) and I believe it is a historical site. There is a group of kriege kinder (war kids) who visit the site and who often make the "march" that killed many of the prisoners. I've wanted to hook up with this group but can't find any contact information online. If anyone know how to contact them I would appreciate a message.

Jun 30th 2013 new
(quote) Jan-805954 said:
Marianne - My dad was a prisoner at Stalag III from 1944 - 1945. He was shot down in his P-38 over Paris and injured his back when he bailed out. He landed in a field outside of Paris and was held for the Germans by a French farmer who kept him down with a pitch fork. After 30 days of solitary confinement and interrogation (no medical care) he was transported to Germany. On the way to Germany, he was riding in a "jeep" with an officer and a driver. The officer ordered the driver to stop by the side of the road. As the officer got out of the jeep, my dad saw him pull out his pistol. May dad thought he was going to be executed. But, the officer stood behind my dad with the gun to his head and then shot into the side of the road. The officer got back in the jeep and they resumed the trip. Dad was instrumental in helping with the digging of the tunnels. He was also there when the escapees were caught and shot immediately. I believe those shot were British and Polish.

Stalag III was for Air Force members and run by the Luftwaffe, so incredibly they were treated better than other prisoners "bond among brothers?". My dad rarely talked about his imprisonment but as he grew older he told my family many of the stories, particularly about the digging of the tunnels and treatment by the Germans. The best story is about his liberation on April 29, 1945.

I have wanted to go visit the site. It is now in Poland (division after the war) and I believe it is a historical site. There is a group of kriege kinder (war kids) who visit the site and who often make the "march" that killed many of the prisoners. I've wanted to hook up with this group but can't find any contact information online. If anyone know how to contact them I would appreciate a message.

Jan: Thank you so much for posting that story about your Dad. I can hardly

read about what happened to those people who were forced to march on

those brutal trips. I found the below phone number about a soldier who

helped write about the death marches. He may know something about the

children of the war victims who make the march, if he is still alive. It was

from 1999. Good luck to you and I would be interested in knowing what

you find out.

----------------------------------------------

"Though often overlooked by history, the death march across Germany ranks as one of the most outrageous cruelties ever committed against American fighting men. Fittingly, a memorial to these soldiers now stands on the Polish ground where Stalag Luft IV once stood.

GARY TURBAK, 1999. Gary is a free-lance writer based in Montana. This article is posted with written permission from Turbak.

Editor's Note: Joe O'Donnell, a vet of the German death march and consultant for "Death March Across Germany", has compiled and self-published five volumes about Stalag Luft IV and the death march. For information, contact O'Donnell at 609-585-1346.

Also, thank you to Karl Haeuser of Cayucos, Calif., for bringing this long neglected story to our attention."

Jun 30th 2013 new
Thanks for the contacts Marianne. I'll let you know if I'm successful.
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