site is dedicated to former Lt HS "Matt" Mattholie RN who was
captured on 18/19.4.1944 by the Germans in
The German POW camp (called Stammlager or Stalag) was
situated in the forest near the town of
Stalag Luft III became famous of what was known
as "The Great Escape". On
Aerial view of Stalag Luft III
FLEET AIR ARM AIRCREW AT STALAG LUFT III
A number of well known Fleet Air Arm Officers were interned at Stalag Luft
III, including Lt Cdr J Casson, RN and Lt PE Fanshawe RN
both of 803 Naval Air Squiadron , who were shot down together on 13 June 1940
during a dive bombing attack on the German battleship Scharnhorst at Trondheim,
Norway. Their Skua aircraft crashed at Stjornfjord, Fosen and both were
captured by the Germans and taken POW, first to Dulag Luft near
Peter "Hornblower" Fanshawe, whilst POW at Stalag Luft III was a member of the "Great Escape" Executive Commitee. Fanshawe was the real sand dispersal specialist at Luft III. The method of sand disposal shown in the film "Great Escape" is an exact match for the real events. Fanshawe was transferred to Belaria shortly before the escape. He was played by David McCallum in The feature film about events in Luft III in the "Great Escape" which was made by the Mirish Company and released in 1963. (see link).
Whilst at Luft III Casson acted as a codemaster for MI9 in PoW camps, and assisted Fanshawe in his role as a member of the Luft III "Great Escape" Executive Commitee. John Casson was also a leading actor in Stalag Luft III along with Sub Lt Rupert Davies RN another Fleet Air Arm airman ex of 812 Naval Air Squadron who had been shot down in his Swordfish with Lt NM Hearle and captured on 22 August 1940. Rupetrt Davies opostrwar became a TV and film actor and played the sleuth Inspector Maigret.
Fleet Air Arm officers interned after the Great Escape included Lt HS
"Matt" Mattholie RN who was captured on 18/19 April 1944 by the
Germans in Northern Norway following his involvement in the Operation Mascot
attack on the Tirpitz. His Corsair, and a Barracuda driven by Lt Cdr RS Baker-Falkner (with
observer Lt Micklem and TAG Kimberley), were unable to return to the carrier
HMS Formidable. the two aircraft headed for
Model of Stalag Luft III in the onsite museum
GREAT ESCAPE STALAG LUFT III
The Great Escape of March 1944 triggered a tragically severe reaction from
the Germans. The diversion from
The Escape Committee at Luft III included Peter 'Hornblower' Fanshawe RN. and the escapees who were returned to Stalag Luft II included: Lt Alexander Desmond Neely (825 Sqdn Fleet Air Arm, born November 1917), and Lt Douglas Arthur Poynter (Fleet Air Arm, born 1921).
For full list of the 75 escapees see history in Film and for additional information see The Great Escape Stalag Luft III, Sagan, March 24/25th, 1944 by Rob Davis)
See the following website link for a list and biographies of the 50 airmen murdered by the SS and Gestapo.
Three escapers, Per Bergsland (aka Rocky Rockland) (332 Sqdn, shot down in a
Spitfire during the Dieppe Landings), Jens Muller (331 Sqdn, shot down
See Story of Stalag Luft
III website for details. Real Video recollections of POW Kriegies from
Stalag Luft III. See Web page on the
(Requires Real Video Player)
-- Escape by Impersonating
-- Escape Preparation
-- Preparation for the Tunnel
-- Engineering the Tunnel
-- Security for the Tunnel
-- The Dodger
-- Escape and Recapture
When American airmen arrived in August 1944 they noticed that the British POW's still wore black armbands as a remembrance to those who were gunned down in cold blood by the German ZZ.
THE LONG MARCH
In late January 1945, the entire camp was rousted late at night and ordered
to start marching. They marched near
STALAG LUFT III REMAINS TODAY
The former grounds of the Stalag Luft III are currently part of a Polish military training area. Near the former camp site is small, but interesting museum. There are no original buildings left, on the woods you can find all kinds of debris that betray the presence of former quarters.
USAF Academy site 'The Story of Stalag Luft 3
An extensive site with some sound archive material
Polish site on Sagan (in English)
Polish information about the Camp - includes link to present day Zagan.
Stalag Luft III Sagan
Rob Davis's excellent page on Sagan and The Great Escape.
Kreigie documents of Luft III - Website for Lt. J. J. Ryan's WWII Memories
Website for Lt. J. J. Ryan's WWII Memories - 15th Army Air Force 777th Bombardment Squadron and 464th Bombardment Group and PoW with the british in Stalag Luft III
Sturtivant, R. & Burrow, M (1995)
Sturtivant, R. & Burrow, M (1995) 'Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939 to 1945' Published by Air
(Historians) Ltd, 1995 ISBN: 0 85130 232 7 Britain
page is published by Fleet Air Arm Archive and is updated regularly.
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