|Bob Vanderstok (Ian Le Seur)|
|B A 'Jimmy' James 'IWM'|
It was every serviceman’s duty in World War Two to try and escape from captivity. Conditions inside German Prisoner of War Camps and the daily strain of being behind the wire focused the mind on freedom, or at the very least working with others to effect escape attempts. It would tie up enemy resources in preventing escapes or hunting for escapers who were at large. Allied servicemen clung to the dream of clearing the immediate area, striking out for freedom and reaching safety in a neutral country. In reality the odds against escaping from a camp were low and of reaching safety in a neutral country extremely remote.
Because of the film’s success, actual events in the camp and around The Great Escape have sometimes become clouded, producing popular misconceptions. Additionally some unusual happenings have slipped under the wire with barely a mention. This is the first of two posts taking a random look around fact and fiction:
The actual wire incident did not occur on the fourth of July, but was intended to be representative of a number of similar occurrences, including as Bob Vanderstok recalled, an Irishman called Mcintosh who thought he could make himself invisible, saying that he could climb the fence without being seen by the guards. Despite Kriegies trying to stop him, verbal warnings and three warning shots being fired by the guards, Mcintosh reached the inner fence, climbed to the top and jumped over onto the upper barbed wires of the outer fence before being machine gunned.
Sources & Recommended Reading
Moonless Night - B A 'Jimmy' James
The Great Escape - Paul Brickhill
Lie In The Dark And Listen - Ken Rees
War Pilot Of Orange - Bob Vanderstok
Web Site The Great Escape -Rob Davis- http://www.elsham.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/gt_esc/
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