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The Great Escape from Stalag Luft III

The Memoirs of Bram Vanderstok

Bram Van Der Stok



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20 February 2019
Memoirs; History; European history; Second World War; Prisoners of war
I am one of those lucky ones who survived the war, and I can remember my emotional experiences, and those of my friends, as if they had happened yesterday. For many of us the horror, the injustice, and the cruelty can never be forgotten or forgiven; but I have tried to write without too much bitterness - Bob van der Stok On the night of 24th March 1944, Bob van der Stok 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 van der Stoks agreement -filmmakers chose to turn his story into an Australian character name Sedgewick, played by James Coburn.

His memoir sets down his wartime adventures before being incarcerated in Stalag Luft III and then - with extraordinary detail - describes various escape attempts which culminated with the famous March breakout. After escaping Bram van der Stok 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 were 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.
By:   Bram Van Der Stok
Country of Publication:   Australia
ISBN:   9781925675962
ISBN 10:   1925675963
Pages:   256
Publication Date:   20 February 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Bram (Bob) van der Stok, 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 practised 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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