Saturday 12 June 2010
Jack Harrison, who survived the "Great Escape" plot by Allied prisoners in a German prison in the Second World War, died on 4 June aged 97.
As one of the camp's gardeners, Harrison helped dispose of the dirt excavated from three escape tunnels. He was 98th on the list 200 inmates designated to make the escape on 24 March 1944, but only 76 got away before guards raised the alarm.
The break-out was celebrated in the 1963 film The Great Escape. Only three men reached safety; Adolf Hitler ordered the execution of 50 recaptured escapers, while 23 were returned to custody. Harrison said he had to quickly burn his disguise as a Siemens engineer and get back into his prison uniform.
"I guess it was a blessing in disguise I never made it through, as most were shot," Harrison said last year. "But the main purpose wasn't just to escape. It was to outfox the Germans. It was a huge moral victory. It humiliated Hitler and gave the Nazis a bloody nose."
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