Thanks for looking in on The Escape Line. This is the first of my weekly posts. I hope it will become a good place to share all things writing and talk about escape and evasion and other aspects of World War 2.
If you’re still reading this, I guess you’ve got under the barbed wire or are out of the tunnel. Maybe you’ve not been captured and are on the run, holed up in some safe house or following a Partisan guide through the streets or across country.
As a writer you will already have experienced fear, self doubts, highs and lows of morale, false hopes and disappointments.
Above all, you will have kept going, sometimes with the help of others and always deep down with that intrinsic spirit of survival and desire to reach your goal against the odds. Readers and researchers of escape and evasion will relate equally to this raft of emotions. However, it is a comparison that sits at the bottom end of the scale to those who actually experienced the real event. No one can fully imagine what it must have been like to be a serviceman on the run in occupied territory, but the emotions when placed in their own theatres do share the same common ground. As writers and readers there is so much that we can draw from them.
The terms escape and evasion run together, but there are distinct differences:
An Escaper has managed to escape from ‘secure enemy custody’. This could be a prison, a prisoner of war camp, under guard on a train, or on the ground.
An Evader has not been captured and is still on the run. Initially they may have some of their own kit and equipment, but like the escaper, they must stay undetected, outsmart the enemy and stay free from capture.
The goal of both escapers and evaders remains to reach friendly territory and ultimately return to their unit or squadron etc.
Servicemen who did make it back to home territory usually referred to their journey as an escape, rather than evasion, whether they had been in enemy hands at any time or not. For writers of fiction or literary docudrama this is a convenient use of blanket terminology, because ‘escape’ instantly sounds the sharper and more identifiable word and will be often used in future posts.
I have been asked if this blog is an on line journal, or a forum to express thoughts and whether it is intended to educate or be used as a portfolio? Escapers rarely knew what was around the next corner as they were working from a rough map or compass and were kept in the dark by their helpers for security purposes. Let’s go and find out.
© Keith Morley