Guy Walters

The Real Great Escape
  • The Real Great Escape

  • In early 1942 the Germans opened a top-security prisoner-of-war camp in occupied Poland for captured Allied airmen. Called Stalag Luft III, the camp soon came to contain some of the most inventive escapers ever known. They were led by Squadron Leader Roger Bushell, code-named 'Big X', who masterminded an attempt to smuggle hundreds of POWs down a tunnel built right under the noses of their guards.

    The escape would come to be immortalised in the famous film The Great Escape, in which the ingenuity and bravery of the men was rightly celebrated. The plan involved multiple tunnels, hundreds of forged documents, as well as specially made German uniforms and civilian clothing. In this book Guy Walters takes a fresh look at this remarkable event and asks the question, what was the true story, not the movie version? He also examines what the escape really achieved, and the nature of the man who led it.

    The Real Great Escape is the first account to draw on a newly-released cache of documents from Roger Bushell’s family, including letters from Bushell, that reveals much about this remarkable man, his life and experiences during the war, and the planning of the escape attempt that was to make him famous. The result is a compelling and authoritative re-evaluation of the most iconic escape story of the Second World War.

James Owen was latterly acting editor of The Daily Telegraph Obituaries page and now writes regularly for the Financial Times and Conde Naste Traveller. He is also contributing editor to The New Dictionary of National Biography. He is presently working on his first book, a study of colonial life during WWII. A former journalist on The Times, Guy Walters is the author of The Traitor, a thriller set during the Second World War which was published in 2002. His second book The Leader was published in Spring 2004.

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