Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Last veteran of The Great Escape

Jack Harrison, thought to be the last survivor of Stalag Luft III, the home of one of the most audacious, ambitious P.O.W. escapes of World War II, has died at the age of 97. The Great Escape was immortalized in the book by Paul Brickhill and the movie starring Steve McQueen, James Garner, James Coburn, Charles Bronson, John Leyton, David McCallum, Richard Attenborough, Gordon Jackson, Donald Pleasance--and those are just the names I remember off the top of my head. Both the book and the movie made a huge impression on my young self. Although the accounts of forging papers and turning uniforms into civilian clothing were of great interest, I was most impressed with the manufacture of the tunnels and their infrastructure--the shoring up, the surveying, the trolley system, and the air circulating system. In hindsight I wonder if that's why I went to engineering school.

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