Coming Up Short As the first POWs break through to the surface from the tunnel Harry on the night of March 24/25th 1944, the dreadful realization is made that the exit has come up 10 feet short of the woods surrounding Stalag Luft III.
The Railway A tiny wooden railway, operated with rope-pulled trolleys, was constructed along the entire length of the tunnel Harry to carry men and equipment, and remove earth. On the night of March 24/25th 1994, it ferried the escaping POWs rapidly through the tunnel to the exit shaft.
The Tribute Proof With all the signatures of the Escapers’ Edition, the Tribute Proofs are conservation matted to include the additional ORIGINAL signatures of three famous officers who also took part in ‘The Great Escape’
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“Everyone in this room is living on borrowed time. By rights we should all be dead! The only reason that God allowed us this extra ration of life is so we can make life hell for the Hun… three bloody deep, bloody long tunnels will be dug – Tom, Dick, and Harry. One will succeed!”
With those words the chief escape officer in Stalag Luft III, Squadron Leader Roger Bushell RAF, announced his plan for perhaps the most daring escape attempt of the war – the mass breakout of 200 men through the digging of three long tunnels (nicknamed Tom, Dick, and Harry), an audacious feat of tunnelling that would be long and dangerous.
Just after 22.00hrs on the night of 24/25 March 1944, the first escapee broke through to the surface – only to find it well short of the surrounding trees. The escapees would have to crawl to the cover of the trees under the noses of the patrolling sentries.
Richard Taylor’s masterful new piece captures the scene as POWs escape into the cool night air and realize, to their dawning horror, that their planned exit has fallen short of the woods.
Signatures: Joining the artist, every print in this exclusive edition has been individually signed by the following veterans from Stalag Luft III who were involved in The Great Escape.
Flight Lieutenant WILLIAM “TEX” ASH - American Bill Ash volunteered for the RCAF, flying Spitfires and earned 3 victories before being shot down and becoming a POW. He took part in “The Great Escape” and later became involved in a dozen more escape attempts from camps through Europe.
The Escaper's Edition:
Flight Lieutenant WILLIAM “TEX” ASH
Squadron Leader DICK CHURCHILL - Number 63 out of the tunnel, he was recaptured.
Flight Lieutenant JACK LYON - Lyon was Stooge and was waiting as number 88 and ready to escape.
Wing Commander KEN REES - One of the team tunnel diggers, he was caught inside Harry after the escape was discovered.
Warrant Officer RON WADE - Contributed to the tunnel digging but was moved out before the escape.
Tribute Proof Edition (matted) All of the above plus:
Wing Commander PADDY BARTHROPP DFC AFC - Bathropp was waiting in the tunnel when the escape was discovered
Squadron Leader “JIMMY” JAMES - Escaped number 39 out of the tunnel, but was recaptured some time later.
Squadron Leader LEONARD TRENT VC DFC - Was captured just as he emerged from the tunnel outside the perimeter.