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The escape artists : a band of daredevil pilots and the greatest prison break of the Great War

Author: Neal Bascomb
Publisher: London : John Murray, 2018.
Edition/Format:   Print book : Biography : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Summer, 1918: twenty-nine officers crawled into a 16 inch high, 55 metre tunnel dug only with spoons. This was the culmination of 9 months gruelling toil in oxygen-starved darkness. Of the twenty-nine escapees, just ten would make their way back to Britain. When captured Royal Flying Corps pilots Captain David Gray, Captain Caspar Kennard and 2nd Lieutenant Cecil Blain had arrived at Holzminden - or 'Hellminden' as  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Biographies
History
Biography
Material Type: Biography
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Neal Bascomb
ISBN: 9781473686786 1473686784
OCLC Number: 1057614320
Description: xxv, 310 pages, 8 unnumbered pages pf plates : illustrations, maps, portraits ; 24 cm
Contents: Capture --
All roads lead to Hellminden --
The tunnel --
Breakout.
Responsibility: Neal Bascomb.

Abstract:

Summer, 1918: twenty-nine officers crawled into a 16 inch high, 55 metre tunnel dug only with spoons. This was the culmination of 9 months gruelling toil in oxygen-starved darkness. Of the twenty-nine escapees, just ten would make their way back to Britain. When captured Royal Flying Corps pilots Captain David Gray, Captain Caspar Kennard and 2nd Lieutenant Cecil Blain had arrived at Holzminden - or 'Hellminden' as its occupants called it - the Germans' highest-security prison complex had seemed impregnable. 'The Black Hole' was ruled by the iron fist of Camp Commandant Carl Niemayer, under whose brutal temper prisoners were known to be shot and beaten to death. Not least the breakout artists. After five unsuccessful attempts from different camps in one year, the obsessive Captain Gray was personally determined to orchestrate the building of a tunnel directly under the feet of their one hundred armed guards. With an improvised oxygen piping system, stolen disguises and astonishing courage, this handful of the Kaiser's 2.3 million prisoners would succeed in making their way to neutral Holland and eventually back to Britain - for a private audience at Windsor Palace. The most unlikely escape of the Great War, their derring-do became military legend and the inspiration for the subsequent great escapes of the Second World War.

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Absorbing * Choice Magazine * It's riveting reading, but more than that, it's inspiring * Candice Millard, author of Hero of the Empire * A remarkable piece of hidden history, told perfectly . . . Read more...

 
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