The Great Escape - Tunnel Revealed
on 11/20/2012 (S828d)
Untouched for almost
seven decades, the tunnel used in the Great
Escape has finally
been unearthed. The 111-yard passage nicknamed
'Harry' by Allied
prisoners was sealed by the Germans after the
from the PoW camp Stalag Luft III in western
Despite huge interest
in the subject, encouraged by the film
starring Steve McQueen,
the tunnel remained undisturbed over
the decades because
it was behind the Iron Curtain and the Soviet
authorities had no
interest in its significance.
at last British archaeologists have excavated it, and
its remarkable secrets.
of the bed boards which had been joined together to stop it collapsing
were still in position.
the ventilation shaft, ingeniously crafted from used powdered
containers known as Klim Tins,
in working order. Scattered
the tunnel, which is 30ft
ground, were bits of old metal
hammers and crowbars which
used to hollow out the route.
total of 600 prisoners worked on three tunnels at the same time.
were nicknamed Tom, Dick and Harry and were just 2 ft. square
most of their length.
was on the night of March 24 and 25, 1944, that 76 Allied airmen
through Harry. Barely a third of the 200 prisoners - many
fake German uniforms and civilian outfits and carrying false
papers - who were meant to slip away managed to leave
the alarm was raised when escapee number 77 was spotted.
three made it back to Britain. Another 50 were
by firing squad
the orders of Adolf
who was furious
learning of the
all, 90 boards from bunk
62 tables, 34 chairs
76 benches, as well as
of items including
spoons, forks, towels
blankets, were squir-
away by the Allied
to aid the escape
under the noses of
the Hollywood movie
were involved in
operation. Most were
and the others were
Canada, (all the
mining) Poland, New
tunnel reconstruction showing the trolley system.
site of the tunnel, recently excavated by British archaeologists
latest dig, over three weeks in August, located the entrance
Harry, which was originally concealed under a stove in Hut 104.
team also found another tunnel, called George, whose exact
had not beencharted. It was never used as the 2,000
were forced to march to other camps as the Red Army
in January 1945.