http://www.flickr.com/photos/usembassywarsaw/sets/72157616213171164/

Air Cdre Charles Clarke, former POW in Stalag III and President of the ex-RAF POW Association with PAO Andrew Schilling, his wife, Tracy and two sons.

 

I traveled to Zagan in western Poland to attend services 3/28 commemorating the 65th anniversary of the famed Great Escape by Allied POWs.  Very dramatic, very moving ceremony, right by the memorial stone marking the exit of the tunnel “Harry” that the prisoners dug.  The tunnel ran 111 meters, right under the “cooler” of Steve McQueen fame, under the front gate and out to the road. 76 prisoners got out before the tunnel was discovered. 

An RAF band was on hand for the commemoration and played God Save the Queen, of course, but then stole the show with a performance of the Theme from the Great Escape.  about two dozen British survivors of the POW camp on hand, too, and that was really special to have the chance for us and the boys to meet Charles Clarke and other ex-POWs; they unveiled a new memorial stone with an inscription of the RAF motto: “Per Ardua Ad Astra” – Through Hardship to the Stars. Living history, and an incredible experience.  The museum and camp-site are a must-see that I’d recommend to any visitor who can make it.  For more photo galleries and a link to the full Great Escape story, please click here.   Andy S., PAO