Discussion in 'The NAAFI Bar' started by Fireplace, Apr 13, 2013.
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Flight Lieutenant Les Brodrick - Telegraph And another good man goes to his reward.
Having watched the Great Escape a zillion times, it's sobering to think that they were real people behind the story and not some Hollywood fantasy. An amazing aceheivement and an amazing life well lived.
What he said!! A very sobering thought.
My usual take on Hollywood buggering an incident of demonstrable historical fact is if they produced a documentary on water flowing downhill, they'd get it all wrong.
The University of London UAS used to share its town HQ with the RAF Escaping Society (now defunct, I believe, through the inevitable demise of its members). One or other of its members used to give the occasional presentation at a training night and we would sit, dumbstruck, at the bravery and determination shown by these men in order to try and get home. At this time (late 80s) they were still lively old gents who were more than happy to stay on for a few drinks with the Sqn afterwards and, more often than not, goose some of the female members (who took it all in good heart). A fine body of men and a loss to us all.
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Several years ago I was on holiday in London and my To Do list included a visit to The Escapers Pub which was roughly near Kings Cross Station. The place was said to have been a virtual museum of escaper's aids. I was terribly disappointed to find the pub long gone and the building being remodeled.
Indeed, and let's not forget that he was one of the lucky ones - fifty of the poor bastards didn't get to live to tell the tale.
Another one gone - RIP.
Another "Great Escaper", B.A. "Jimmy" James wrote an excellent book about his exploits; "Moonless Night". It's well worth a read.
Moonless Night by Squadron Leader BA "Jimmy" James
The film is not even close to book about what 'actually' happened. It does paint the POW's as resourceful in all things. Some of the German guards gave massive help in the escape. In fact without there help the escape would not have happened.
Since when is rigor mortis a reward?
70th Anniversary of the event today.
I was presented with a nice little prezzie and tie from the RAF Escaping Society following one of their schemes to parachute into Belgium in 1980(?) They also had an office in Duke of Yorks Bks in those times. The descent was completed under BPA rules as the MOD wouldn't consider a group of 70 x year olds parachuting from a military aircraft. I was tasked to hire an aircraft and get on with it in Belgium.
It was a raucous after jump street party with many who had helped them into the escape lines. Truly inspiring.
The three who actually made a "home run" were all non-Brits...possibly a major factor in enabling them to get across Europe? The Maori F/O, Johnny Pohe, was possibly the biggest handicapper - looking like the Maori he was! He sadly was selected to be one of the 50 shot out of hand by the Nazis.
There is a lot of stuff on the TV and radio about the escape itself but also about S/dlr Fred McKenna's investigation and frankly relentless pursuit of the Gestapo, Kripo and other agencies responsible for the murders.
I guess that just leaves Flt. Lt. Dick Churchill out of the 76 original escapees. The only reason he wasn't shot was because they thought he was a relative of Winston Churchill and might come in handy as a bargaining chip somewhere down the line.
Requiescat in pace Flt. Lt. Brodrick, and blue skies.
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