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.