Back in 1963, a film was released called The Great Escape. It was an American-made film about an escape by Allied prisoners of war from a German PoW camp during World War II, and starred Steve McQueen, James Garner and Richard Attenborough. The characters are composites of real men and the events in the film are based around real events – with the usual Hollywood spin – and based on the book The Great Escape by Paul Brickhill.
It’s become one of the most famous films in history with many classic scenes, including Steve McQueen’s motorbike jump, and is seemingly a staple of the Christmas TV schedule in the UK.
As good as it is, the film doesn’t tell the real story of the camp, Stalag Luft III, or the true heroism of the Allied prisoners held there and their attempts to escape.
In 2011, one of the last survivors of Stalag Luft III – Alfie Fripp – opened his treasure trove of photographs and memorabilia to his family. This unique record of life in the camp is now available for the world to view and is the inspiration for this site. We want to thank Alfie for allowing us to use his very personal memories of his time as a PoW to create this site. We hope you find it as fascinating and inspiring as so many already have.
You can also read the full story of Alfie’s life as the last of the 39ers in this great book by Sean Feast, The Last of the 39ers available on Amazon and in all good bookshops.