Up For Auction: Journal Of Great Escape

Posted on March 11, 2019

His journal includes black and white photos of men held in the Stalag Luft III prisoner of war camp in Poland. Mr Phillips helped inmates escape in tunnels dug in secret.
Such was the impact of the dramatic escape from a site selected because its sandy soil made it difficult for POWs to tunnel out, the story was immortalised in 1963 Hollywood film The Great Escape starring Steve McQueen, James Garner and Richard Attenborough.
In the journal, Mr Phillips described how prisoners smuggled sand from the tunnel in their trousers and how he was in charge of men discreetly dispersing it. He later became a tunnel carpenter.

“My role in the tunnel was varied. I began as a member of a group of fellows who played for hours and hours with a medicine ball. We formed a circle and threw the darned thing around until I hated the sight of it,” he wrote.

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