Stalag Luft III (Stammlager Luft, or Permanent Camp for Airmen #3) was a German Air Force prisoner-of-war camp during World War II that housed captured air force personnel. In Germany, Stalag was a term used for Prisoner-of-war camps Stalag is an abbreviation for " Sta mm' lag' er" itself a short form of ( German 'luftvafe is a generic German term for an Air force. A prisoner-of-war camp is a site for the containment of enemy combatants captured by the enemy in time of war and is similar to an Internment camp which is used for civilian World War II, or the Second World War, (often abbreviated WWII) was a global military conflict which involved a majority of the world's nations, including An air force, also known in some countries as an air army or historically an army air corps, is in the broadest sense the national military or armed service It was near Sagan, now Żagań in Poland, 100 miles (160 km) southeast of Berlin. Żagań ( French and Sagan is a Town in western Poland, with 26665 inhabitants (2004 Poland (Polska officially the Republic of Poland Berlin is the capital city and one of sixteen states of Germany. The site was selected because it would be difficult to escape by tunnelling, but it is best known for two famous prisoner escapes that took place there by tunnelling (see The Great Escape & The Wooden Horse). The Great Escape is a popular 1963 War film about the 250 Allied prisoners of war escaping from a German POW camp The Wooden Horse is a 1950 World War II film starring Leo Genn, Anthony Steel and David Tomlinson.
The first prisoners, or kriegies, as they called themselves, to be housed at Stalag Luft III were British RAF and Fleet Air Arm officers, arriving in April 1942. The Fleet Air Arm is the branch of the Royal Navy responsible for the operation of the aircraft on board their ships The first compound of the camp was completed and opened in May. USAAF prisoners began arriving in significant numbers in October, 1943, followed by completion of a second and third compound by March 1944, when U. The United States Army Air Forces ( USAAF) was the military aviation arm of the United States of America during and immediately after World War II. S. officers were separated from their RAF counterparts and housed separately. Eventually the camp grew to approximately 60 acres in size and housed 10,000 allied airmen.
The prison camp had a number of design features that made escape extremely difficult. The digging of escape tunnels, in particular, was discouraged by several factors. An escape tunnel is a form of Secret passage used as part of an escape from Siege or captivity First, the barracks housing the prisoners were raised several inches off the ground to make it easier for guards to detect any tunnelling activity. Barracks are living quarters for personnel on a Military post Second, the camp itself had been constructed on land that had a very sandy subsoil. The sand was bright yellow, so it could easily be detected if anyone dumped it on the surface (which consisted of grey dust), or even just had some of it on their clothing. (See picture taken on the site of the East Compound in 1994 by Ian Lawther showing about 15 cm (6 in) of grey top soil and yellow subsoil. ) In addition, the loose, unconsolidated sand meant the structural integrity of a tunnel would be very poor. A third defence against tunnelling was the placement of seismograph microphones around the perimeter of the camp, which were expected to detect any sounds of digging just below the surface. Seismometers (from Greek Seism - "the shakes" - and Metro - "I measure" are instruments that measure and record motions of the ground including
The first successful escape occurred in October 1943 in the East compound, before the North compound (where the Great Escape occurred) had been constructed. Conjuring up a modern Trojan Horse, the kriegies constructed a gymnastic vaulting horse largely from plywood from Red Cross parcels. The Trojan Horse was part of the Trojan War, as told in Virgil 's Latin Epic poem The Aeneid. The horse was designed to conceal men, tools, and containers of dirt. Each day the horse was carried out to the same spot near the perimeter fence, and while prisoners conducted gymnastic exercises above, from under the horse a tunnel was dug. At the end of each working day, a wooden board was placed back over the tunnel entrance and recovered with surface dirt. The gymnastics not only disguised the real purpose of the vaulting horse, but the activity kept the sound of the digging from being detected by the microphones. For three months three prisoners, Lieutenant Michael Codner, Flight Lieutenant Eric Williams, and Flight Lieutenant Oliver Philpot, in shifts of one or two diggers at a time, dug over 100 feet (30 m) of tunnel using bowls for shovels and rods of metal to poke through the surface of the ground to create air holes. Eric Williams is an English Author specializing in writing about Prisoner of war escapes Oliver Philpot was a World War II Beaufort RAF pilot shot down over the North Sea. No shoring was used except near the entrance. On the evening of October 29, 1942, Codner, Williams, and Philpot made their escape. Williams and Codner were able to reach the port of Stettin where they stowed away on a Danish ship and eventually returned to Britain. Philpot, posing as a Norwegian margarine manufacturer, was able to board a train to Danzig (now Gdansk), and from there stowed away on a Swedish ship headed for Stockholm, and from there repatriated to Britain. Accounts of this escape, long overshadowed by The Great Escape, were recorded in the book The Goon in the Box (later retitled the The Wooden Horse) by Williams, the book The Stolen Journey by Philpot, and the 1950 film The Wooden Horse. The Wooden Horse is a 1950 World War II film starring Leo Genn, Anthony Steel and David Tomlinson.
The actor Peter Butterworth and the writer Talbot Rothwell were both inmates of Stalag Luft III. Peter Butterworth ( February 4 1919 - January 16 1979) was an English comic actor who appeared in sixteen of the ''Carry Talbot Nelson Conn Rothwell, OBE ( 12 November 1916 &ndash 28 February 1981) was an English Screenwriter. The two became friends and later worked together on the Carry On films. The Carry On films were a long-running series of low-budget British comedy films directed by Gerald Thomas and produced by Peter Rogers.
Another British actor Rupert Davies had many roles in productions at the theatre in Stalag Luft III. Rupert Davies ( 22 May 1916 &ndash 22 November 1976) was a British actor His most famous roles on film and TV may have been Inspector Maigret in the BBC series Maigret that aired over 52 episodes from 1960 to 1963 and George Smiley in the movie The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963 by John le Carré is a Cold War spy novel famous for its intricate plot and its portrait of the West's espionage methods
Singer Cy Grant, born in Guyana (then British Guiana), served as a Flight Lieutenant in the RAF, and spent two years as a prisoner of war. Cy Grant (born 8 November 1919 in British Guiana) is Guyanese Actor, Singer, Guitarist and writer who has had a career spanning over six Guyana (ɡaɪˈænə or /ɡiːˈɑːnə/ officially the Co-operative Republic of Guyana and previously known as British Guiana, is the only Nation state Flight Lieutenant ( Flt Lt in the RAF; FLTLT in the RAAF and RNZAF, F/L in the former RCAF) is a junior After the war he qualified as a Barrister at Law, but went on to be a singer/actor/author. A barrister is a Lawyer found in many Common law Jurisdictions that employ a split profession (as opposed to a Fused profession) in relation His was the first black face to be regularly seen on British Television, singing topical calypsos on television on the BBC Tonight programme. Calypso is a style of Afro-Caribbean Music which originated in Trinidad and Tobago at about the start of the 20th century This article refers to the BBC TV programme of the 1950s hosted by Cliff Michelmore for the ITV newsmagazine hosted by Sir Trevor McDonald see Tonight (TV series 
The writer Paul Brickhill was an inmate at Stalag Luft III. Paul Chester Jerome Brickhill ( 20 December 1916 &ndash 23 April 1991) was an Australian Writer, whose World War II He has chronicled the life of Douglas Bader in Reach for the Sky, the efforts of 617 "Dam Busters" Squadron, and The Great Escape. Group Captain Sir Douglas Robert Steuart Bader CBE, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar, FRAeS, DL, RAF (21 February 1910 Reach for the Sky is a 1956 Biopic of aviator Douglas Bader, based on the biography of the same name by Paul Brickhill. No 617 Squadron of the Royal Air Force is better known as the "Dambusters" squadron The Great Escape is an autobiographical account by Paul Brickhill about the mass escape from the German Prisoner of war camp Stalag Luft
Professor Basil Chubb, author and political science lecturer spent 15 months here after being shot down over Germany. Frederick Basil Chubb (born 8 December 1921, died 8 May 2002) was an English and Irish political scientist, Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany ( ˈbʊndəsʁepuˌbliːk ˈdɔʏtʃlant is a Country in Central Europe. 
In January 1943, Roger Bushell led a plot for a major escape from the camp. Squadron Leader Roger Joyce Bushell RAF ( August 30, 1910 - March 29, 1944) was a South African born Auxiliary Air The plan was to dig three deep tunnels, codenamed "Tom," "Dick," and "Harry. " Each of the tunnel entrances was carefully selected to ensure they were undetectable by the camp guards. The tunnel "Tom" began in a darkened corner of a hall in one of the buildings. "Dick's" entrance was carefully hidden in a drain sump in one of the washrooms. A sump is a low space that collects any often-undesirable liquids such as water or chemicals The entrance to "Harry" was hidden under a stove. A stove is an enclosed heated space The term is commonly taken to mean an enclosed space in which fuel is burned to provide heating either to heat the space in which the stove is situated 
In order to keep the tunnels from being detected by the perimeter microphones, they were very deep — about 9 metres (30 ft) below the surface. The tunnels were very small, only two feet square (about 0. 37 m²), though larger chambers were dug to house the air pump, a workshop, and staging posts along each tunnel. M^2 redirects here For other uses see M². CM2 redirects here The sandy walls of the tunnels were shored up with pieces of wood scavenged from all over the camp. Wood is hard fibrous lignified structural tissue produced as secondary Xylem in the stems of Woody plants notably trees but also shrubs One main source of wood was the prisoners' beds. At the beginning, each had about twenty boards supporting the mattress. A mattress is a mat or pad usually placed atop a Bed, upon which to sleep or lie By the time of the escape, only about eight were left on each bed. A number of other pieces of wooden furniture were also scavenged.
A variety of other materials was also scavenged. Perhaps the most-used item was the Klim can, a tin can that originally held powdered milk ("Klim" is "milk" spelled backwards), supplied by the Red Cross for the prisoners. Klim was the name given to Powdered milk rations issued by the International Red Cross to Allied prisoners in German captivity during World War II. A tin can, also called a tin (especially in British English) or a can, is an air-tight container for the distribution or storage of Powdered milk is a manufactured dairy product made by evaporating Milk to dryness. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is an International humanitarian movement with approximately 97 million volunteers worldwide who stated The metal in the cans could be fashioned into a variety of different tools and other useful items such as scoops and candle holders. Candles were fashioned by skimming the fat off the top of soup served at the camp and putting it in tiny tin vessels. Fats consist of a wide group of compounds that are generally soluble in organic solvents and largely insoluble in water Wicks were readily available from old and worn clothing. But the main use of the Klim tins was in the construction of the extensive ventilation ducting in all three tunnels.
As the tunnels grew longer, a number of technical innovations made the job easier and safer. One important issue was ensuring that the person digging had enough oxygen to breathe and keep his lamps lit. Oxygen (from the Greek roots ὀξύς (oxys (acid literally "sharp" from the taste of acids and -γενής (-genēs (producer literally begetteris the A pump was built to push fresh air along the ducting into the tunnels - invented by Flight Lieutenant Thomas Nelson of 37 Squadron. For information on Wikipedia project-related discussions see WikipediaVillage pump. The pumps were built of a number of odd items including major bed pieces, hockey sticks, and knapsacks — not to mention the ubiquitous Klim tins. A hockey stick is a piece of equipment used in Field hockey, Ice hockey, or Roller hockey to move the ball or puck A backpack (also called
Later, electric lighting was installed and hooked into the camp's electrical grid. " Electric Light " is a song by Infernal, scheduled to be their next single after " Whenever You Need Me " off their album Electric The tunnellers also installed small rail car systems for moving sand more quickly, much like the systems used in old mining operations. "Railroad" and "Railway" both redirect here For other uses see Railroad (disambiguation. Mining is the extraction of valuable Minerals or other geological materials from the earth usually (but not always from an Ore body The rails were key to moving 130 tons of material in a five-month period; they also reduced the time taken for tunnellers to reach the digging faces.
With three tunnels, the prisoners were running out of places to dump sand. The usual method of disposing of sand was to discreetly scatter it on the surface. Small pouches made of old socks were attached inside the prisoners' trousers. As the prisoners walked around, the sand would scatter. Sometimes, the prisoners would dump sand into small gardens that they were allowed to tend. A garden is a planned space usually outdoors set aside for the display cultivation and enjoyment of Plants and other forms of Nature. As one prisoner turned the soil, another would release sand while the two appeared to carry on a normal conversation.
Eventually the prisoners felt they could no longer dump sand on the surface, as the German security staff became too efficient in catching prisoners using this method. The decision was made to start filling up "Dick". Since that tunnel's entrance was extremely well-hidden, "Dick" was also used as a storage room for a variety of items such as maps, stamps, forged travel permits, compasses, and clothing such as German uniforms and civilian suits. A map is a visual representation of an area—a symbolic depiction highlighting relationships between elements of that space such as objects, Regions, and Themes A postage stamp is an adhesive paper evidence of pre-paying a fee for postal services Forgery is the process of making adapting or imitating objects statistics or documents (see False document) with the intent to deceive. A compass, magnetic compass or mariner's compass is a navigational instrument for determining direction relative to the earth's Magnetic poles It consists Some genuine civilian clothes were among material obtained by bribing German staff. These materials would eventually be used by escaping prisoners to travel away from the prison camp more easily — by train, if possible. A train is a connected series of vehicles that move along a track ( Permanent way) to transport freight or passengers from one place to another
As the war progressed, the German prison camps began to be overwhelmed with American prisoners. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the The Germans decided that new camps would be built specifically for the U.S. airmen. The United States Army Air Forces ( USAAF) was the military aviation arm of the United States of America during and immediately after World War II. In an effort to allow as many people to escape as possible, including the Americans, efforts on the remaining two tunnels increased. However, the higher level of activity drew the attention of guards, and the entrance to "Tom" was soon discovered.
"Harry" was finally ready in March 1944, but by that time the American prisoners, some of whom had worked extremely hard in all the effort to dig the tunnels, were moved to another compound.
The prisoners had to wait about a week for a moonless night so that they could leave under the cover of complete darkness. A dark moon describes the Moon during that time that it is invisible against the backdrop of the Sun in the Sky. Finally, on Friday, March 24, the escape attempt began. Events 1401 - Mongol emperor Timur sacks Damascus. 1603 - James VI of Scotland Unfortunately for the prisoners, the tunnel had come up short. It had been planned that the tunnel would reach into a nearby forest, but the first man out emerged just short of the tree line. Despite this, 76 men crawled through the tunnel to initial freedom, even through an air raid during which the camp's (and the tunnel's) electric lights were shut off. Strategic bombing is a Military strategy used in a Total war with the goal of defeating an enemy nation-state by destroying its economic ability to wage war rather Finally, at 5 AM on March 25, the 77th man was seen emerging from the tunnel by one of the guards. Events 1199 - Richard I is wounded by a crossbow bolt while fighting France which leads to his death on April 6. Out of the 76 men only 3 escaped. Fifty men were killed and the rest were captured and sent back. (see below)
|Nationalities of the 50|
|3 South African|
|2 New Zealander|
Following the escape, the Germans took an inventory of the camp and found out just how extensive the operation had been. 4,000 bed boards had gone missing, not to mention the complete disappearance of 90 beds, 52 tables, 34 chairs, 10 single tables, 76 benches, 1219 knives, 478 spoons, 582 forks, 69 lamps, 246 water cans, 30 shovels, 1,000 feet of electric wire, 600 feet of rope, and 3424 towels. 1,700 blankets had been used, along with more than 1,400 Klim tins.
Out of 76 escapees, 73 were captured. Adolf Hitler initially wanted to have them all shot as an example, but relented under pressure from Goering, and instead ordered that more than half of them should be shot. Hi and welcome to Wikipedia! Please understand that this article is frequently vandalized and vandalism is reverted immediately Hermann Wilhelm Göring (also spelled Goering) (12 January 1893 15 October 1946 was a German Politician, Military leader and a leading member General Artur Nebe selected the 50 who were subsequently executed. It was a traumatic experience for him. 
The remaining 23 were held in the custody of the Gestapo before being sent off to other camps. The ( contraction of ge heime Sta ats' po' lizei: "Secret State Police" was the official Secret police of Nazi Germany Seventeen were returned to Stalag Luft III, four were sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where they managed to tunnel out, past the electric fences and doubled guards, and two to Oflag IV-C Colditz. Sachsenhausen (zaksənˈhaʊzən was a Concentration camp in Germany, operating between 1936 and 1945 Oflag IV-C (Oflag is the abbreviation for Offizierslager, "officers camp" (often referred to as Colditz Castle because of its location was one of the most Colditz (ˈkʰɔldɪt͡s is a city in the Free State of Saxony, Germany, near Leipzig, located on the banks of the river Mulde.
Of the 76 escapees, only three were able to evade capture:
Müller and Bergsland made it to neutral Sweden first, by boat, while Van der Stok travelled through France before finding safety at a British consulate in Spain. "Sverige" redirects here For other uses see Sweden (disambiguation and Sverige (disambiguation. Spain () or the Kingdom of Spain (Reino de España is a country located mostly in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. 
One of the Australians shot by the Gestapo, Squadron Leader John Edwin Ashley Williams DFC, is sometimes described as a "New Zealander" or "British". For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Australia topics. Squadron Leader is a commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many countries which have historical British influence John Edwin Ashley "Willy" Williams DFC ( 6 May 1919 &ndash 29 March 1944) was an Australian air ace The Distinguished Flying Cross is a military decoration awarded to personnel of the United Kingdom 's Royal Air Force and other services, and formerly There are two reasons for this confusion: Williams was born in New Zealand to Australian parents, who later returned to Australia, and; he joined the RAF, under a Short Service Commission, rather than the Royal Australian Air Force. The Royal Australian Air Force ( RAAF) is the Air Force branch of the Australian Defence Force.  Williams was a fighter ace and had been the Commanding Officer of No. 450 Squadron RAAF for three days, when he was captured in October 1942, during the North African Campaign. A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down several enemy Aircraft during aerial combat No 450 Squadron (450 Sqn was a unit of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF during World War II. During World War II, the North African Campaign, also known as the Desert War, took place in the North African desert from June 10, 1940
At Stalag Luft III the Gestapo carried out an investigation into the escape. While the investigation uncovered no significant new information regarding the escape, the camp Kommandant, Von Lindeiner, was removed for court-martial for involvement in a black market organisation bringing fine food and wines from Denmark.
The new Kommandant, Oberst Braune, was appalled by the fact that so many escapees had been killed, and he allowed the prisoners who remained at the camp to build a memorial, to which he also contributed. It still stands today. The other 23 men who had been captured were sent to several different camps in Germany, and most remained imprisoned until the end of the war.
Shortly after learning of the deaths of the 50, the Senior British Officer of the camp, Group Captain Herbert Massey, was repatriated to England due to ill health. Air Commodore Herbert Martin-Massey CBE MC MID ( 19 January 1898 &ndash after 1970 was a senior officer in the Royal Air Force during Upon his return, he informed the Government about the escape and the executions. In July 1944, the British Foreign Minister, Anthony Eden announced news of the deaths to the House of Commons, and declared that those responsible would be brought to justice. Robert Anthony Eden 1st Earl of Avon, KG, MC, PC (12 June 1897 &ndash 14 January 1977 was a British Conservative Politician The House of Commons' is the Lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords One of the crimes charged in the Nuremberg Trials was of the murder of the 50. The Nuremberg Trials were a series of trials most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political military and economic leadership of Nazi Germany after
Several of the Gestapo officers responsible for the executions of the escapees were themselves tried and executed, or imprisoned, by the Allies after the war. The ( contraction of ge heime Sta ats' po' lizei: "Secret State Police" was the official Secret police of Nazi Germany A large manhunt was instigated by the Royal Air Force's investigative branch, the details of which are told in the book Exemplary Justice. Artur Nebe, who was charged with selecting the list of airmen to be shot, was himself executed by hanging with piano wire, for his involvement in the July 20 plot to kill Hitler.
In The Latter Days At Colditz, Patrick Reid, who escaped from Oflag IV-C at Colditz, characterized the strategy of mass escapes as ill-judged, and not just because most of the prisoners were massacred. Patrick Robert Reid, MBE, MC ( 13 November 1910 &ndash 22 May 1990) was a British Army officer and noted Oflag IV-C (Oflag is the abbreviation for Offizierslager, "officers camp" (often referred to as Colditz Castle because of its location was one of the most Colditz (ˈkʰɔldɪt͡s is a city in the Free State of Saxony, Germany, near Leipzig, located on the banks of the river Mulde. Reid noted that the "Great Escape" provoked the Germans into putting substantial resources into searching the area, resulting in few successes. It must be noted, however, that this was a primary goal of the escape planners, hoping that their efforts would cause substantial resources that could have been used on the fronts and for other war efforts to be channeled to and wasted on searching for kriegies and to monitor prisoner of war camps.
Other, slightly smaller, mass escapes by British POWs during the war met similar fates:
The "Great Escape" was not the largest POW escape, and was just one of several mass breakouts during the war. For example: