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Hey Rob...did you see

by Willy / May 18, 2014 11:09 AM PDT

On NOVA(5/18, tonight) from PBS the Colditz escape by glider of Allied POWs. The show explained several successful escapes and then the planning for the building a glider inside the Colditz castle. It was never launched as it got found out. The show itself used the same plans or thinking and build a similar glider. They did launch it from the castle roof as would have been done. YES, it does fly and it was only build to go a relatively short distance. But, the daring plan would have succeeded is now not in doubt.

I would think you would know about the history of that WWII escape. Next week, is the making of the bouncy dam buster bomb by the Brits. adios -----Willy Happy

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Yes. What a remarkable programme and what a remarkable
by Rob_Boyter / May 21, 2014 12:13 PM PDT
In reply to: Hey Rob...did you see

potential escape. The prisoners made a saw blade from the coiled spring from a broken gramaphone, and carefully sawed the available material very finely. This is the second UK programme on the Colditz glider. both were great. I really liked the way they projected the interviews made in England on either the real or more probably a model Colditz castle.

Bill Goldfinch and ?John Best were the two who did most of the work and would have been the escapees.

I grew up on The Colditz Story and The Latter Days in Colditz Castle both by Pat Reid, the Escape coordinator for the British prisoners, but he bowed out and escaped at the end of the Colditz Story and made it to England. **** Howe took over all the way through to 1945. Besides being a Bad Boys Camp, requiring usually multiple failed escape attempts in order to win admission. The Castle held Poles Dutch French and British prisoners. The French decided to start its escape tunnel at the top of a Clock Tower !! Gotta give them credit, that's not where you'd be likely to look !

I loved the crucial airproofing/tightening goop painted on the glider. Millet porridge. And the damned thing flew exceptionally well too.

I've also seen a programme about the old prisoners visiting the Castle which looked a lot worse in 1997, meeting up with their old captors. What amazing men.

I almost got my last spanking for making a secret hidey hole in my closet at home when I was a Sophomore in High School, in the manner of the prisoners. Guess I made too much noise. That's me caught. 2 weeks in the cooler. I could have done without the tongue lashing though. For heaven's sake I was a kid !

My apologies, Willy, for not catching this post earlier. I've been caught between mooning over a female friend who may actually become a companion if I'm very very fortunate, and sending a large shipment of family Photos to my 87 year old Cousin in Vancouver. It turns out my Mother's family from Macclesfield, Cheshire, England, sent two of their members out to Saskatchewan, Canada. I never knew. Grand Uncle Holmes came out in 1890 and bought a cattle ranch, and another member after whom I'm named (Tristram, imagine the flack I took in High School) settled in the evocatively named Moose Jaw, Sask. It could have been worse. There's actually a town in Saskatchewan called Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump. I'll bet you can figure out why its called that as a translation from the Ojibwa, or Chippewa.

The Bouncing bomb programme is actually a joint Australian Canadian programme which was broadcast here last year. They say really nice things about the American who flew on the raid and was a survivor (almost half didn't). Big Joe McCarthy was a former Coney Island Lifeguard and university student who volunteered for the RAF in 1940 and did his training here in Canada before getting his commission in the RAF. The Dambusters was another of those books from my youth. I used to look through used book stores for Pan Books, the English paperbacks which published most of the famous stories. Lest you think I was one-sided in this, there were damned few American escape books but I read Kriegie (pron Kree-gee) which was about one of the compounds of Stalag III, from another compound of which the Wooden Horse escape occurred and The Great Escape happened.

The Wooden Horse was a vaulting horse which the Brits took out faithfully every decent day with a man inside who first dug a trap to camouflage the entrance, and then dug forward under the compound the warning zone, and under the wire. 3 men got out, all 3 got back to Britain. The two books by Eric Williams, The Tunnel and the Wooden Horse covered the prison experience and the escape, and there's another by Oliver Philpott which covers the third man's escape to Sweden.

Escapers who made it to Sweden were then brought back by BOAC British Overseas Airways, which used military aircraft, particularly the Mosquito. Escapers also headed for Switzerland, with the possibility of being shot dead by the Swiss Border guards, though how they got away from Switzerland I don't know. The rest tried to get across France and then sneak over the Spanish Border, and got to Britain somehow.




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Just saw the dam buster 5/21
by Willy / May 21, 2014 1:25 PM PDT

It was pretty decent. They made a 1/4 size version and all and got a slightly different mechanism to release, etc. the bomb . They even build a practice dam to hit. After much trial and error of all aspects of doing this, they did the actual run. It was amazing that the pilot in a DC-4 hit the target head-on and even had splash wash hit plane(close call) on the bomb release. It flew lower than planned but hit the target, dead center. It was more I expected and the effort to do this was outstanding. Of course they interlaced the real WWII planning and effort done by Wallace the bomb maker, etc.. In the real WWII damage was significant by the dam was back in 4mos. so the war effort was delayed that long. Of the WWII air crews 11 returned of the 19 sent, 35 men lost(if correct). -----Willy Happy

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