Great Escaper’s Pilot’s Caterpillar Club Pin Sold At Auction In Suffolk

Posted on November 19, 2018

Dutch aviator Bram Van der Stok was one of only three people who successfully escaped from Stalag Luft III – immortalised in the film, The Great Escape. His wartime service earned him the Irvin Golden Caterpillar, which measures 2cm (0.78in) and has amethyst eyes. A private bidder bought it for £3,226. An estimate of £500-600 was originally set. The tiny memento was presented by the Caterpillar Club and is engraved with the Dutchman’s name and rank, ‘F/Lt B. Van der Stok’.  Van der Stok’s story was the inspiration for the World War Two film starring Steve McQueen, where 75 prisoners broke free by crawling through a tunnel codenamed Harry. The Dutchman and two others evaded capture, but the rest were rounded up and returned – with 50 of them executed on Hitler’s orders. He managed to flee to Britain where he continued in the war effort as a pilot.

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