One night in late March 1944, 76 Allied airmen escaped through a tunnel from their prisoner of war camp deep in occupied Poland. Their aim was not only to get back to Britain and rejoin the war, but also to cause as much inconvenience for the German war machine as possible.Share
Within a few days, all but three of the escapees were recaptured, having been hampered by incorrect papers, bad weather and bad luck. The escape so infuriated Hitler that he ordered 50 of them to be shot.
Memorably depicted in the famous 1963 movie The Great Escape (itself based on former PoW Paul Brickhill’s 1950 book), the breakout from Stalag Luft III has become an iconic event of the Second World War, enshrining both Allied bravery and Nazi evil.
But how much of what we know is true? (Read more.)