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Escape from Stalag Luft III (Hardback)

The True Story Of My Successful Great Escape

WWII Greenhill Books Greenhill: WWII Greenhill: 20th Century Prisoners Of War Memoirs

By Bram 'Bob' Vanderstok MBE
Greenhill Books
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9781784384340
Published: 28th February 2019


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"Quickly, I climbed up to the surface and immediately found the rope… I felt no signal, so it was not safe yet. Then I felt three distinct tugs and slowly popped my head up. The nearest 'Goonbox' was at least 200 feet away; but, indeed, I was twenty feet from the edge of the woods.'" - Bram Vanderstok

'A born raconteur. His escapes, his operations as a Spitfire pilot, his experiences as a prisoner of war, and his incredible escape crossing the Pyrenees - all are described in a breathtaking manner which made me read his book through in one sitting' - Prof Dr L de Jong, Founder/Director of the Nederlands Instituut voor Oorlogsdocumentatie (Dutch Institute for War Documentation).

On the night of 24th March 1944, Bram Vanderstok was number 18 of 76 men who crawled beyond the barbed wire fence of Stalag Luft III in Zagan, Poland. The 1963 film, The Great Escape, was largely based on this autobiography but - with Vanderstok's agreement - filmmakers chose to turn his story into an Australian character name Sedgwick, played by James Coburn.

His memoir sets down his wartime adventures before being incarcerated in Stalag Luft III and then in extraordinary detail describes various escape attempts which culminated with the famous March breakout. After escaping, Vanderstok roamed Europe for weeks, passing through Leipzig, Utrecht, Brussels, Paris, Dijon and Madrid, before making it back to England. He reported to the Air Ministry and two months after escaping, on 30 May 1944 he returned to the British no.91 Squadron. In the following months he flew almost every day to France escorting bombers and knocking down V1 rockets.

In August 1944 he finally returned to his home. He learned that his two brothers had been killed in concentration camps after being arrested for resistance work. His father had been tortured and blinded by the Gestapo during interrogation. He had never betrayed his son.

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About Bram 'Bob' Vanderstok MBE

Bram (Bob) Vanderstok, MBE, was born on 13th October 1915 in Sumatra in the Dutch East Indies. He was a World War II fighter pilot and still holds the record as the most decorated aviator in Dutch history. After the war he studied and practiced medicine as well as working with the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, participating in 162 rescues. He died in February 1993. Simon Pearson is The Times newspaper obituaries editor and author of The Great Escaper: The Life and Death of Roger Bushell 'The mastermind behind The Great Escape' (Hodder).

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