Monday, 24 March 2014
70 Years Ago...
The Great Escape is often wrongly remembered (by me at least) and depicted in UK TV skits as a feelgood movie of the 'good guys' winning the day. The poster, above, even calls it a great adventure - making it sound like a mountain biking holiday in Moab. Regarding the actual break-out, in 1944, of the 76 who escaped only three were successful - two Norweigians and a Dutch airman. Of the recaptured allies, 50 were executed on Hitler's orders (a war crime, as they were killed not during the escape, but when recaptured).
Apparently, a great deal of McQueen's Virgil Hilts character was based on the US Pilot David M Jones, who was on the Escape Committee and worked on the tunnels and planning, but didn't go through the tunnels and subsequently survived the war, went on to be a Jet Age test pilot and work for NASA. G
UPDATE: Coincidentally, Steve McQueen was also born on this day, in 1930. He died in 1980. If he were still alive, he'd be two years younger than Bruce Forsyth.