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A True Story of the Great Escape : A young Australian POW in the most audacious breakout of WWII - Louise Williams

A True Story of the Great Escape

A young Australian POW in the most audacious breakout of WWII


Published: 29th March 2017
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Shot down in 1942, young Australian fighter pilot John Williams DFC became a POW in the notorious Stalag Luft III camp in Germany. John had joined the air force shortly before the outbreak of war and, in the larrikin tradition, led his squadron into air combat over the deserts of Libya and Egypt dressed in sandals and shorts.

John and his best mate Rusty Kierath were among the 76 POWs who tunnelled their way out of the supposedly escape-proof camp under the noses of their German guards in what later became the Hollywood blockbuster, The Great Escape. Their families never learned what really happened once the pair made it out into the forest.

John's niece Louise Williams has pieced together his life, from his upbringing in a tight-knit family hit hard by the Depression, to his exploits in the air, and the many missing details of the tragic escape. It is a powerful and intimate story of one of the most dramatic episodes of World War II.

'A riveting tale, superbly told' -- Peter FitzSimons, author and journalist

'A brilliant achievement. Louise Williams reminds us that the story of the Great Escape should not be owned by Hollywood, but rather by the families of those who made the greatest sacrifice.' -- Guy Walters, author of The Real Great Escape

About the Author

Louise Williams is an award-winning writer, journalist and editor, and niece of John Williams. She has recreated John's story from family memories, letters, declassified documents, oral histories and interviews with survivors of the Great Escape.



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A True Story of the Great Escape

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


Excellent story


from Adelaide Australia

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    Comments about A True Story of the Great Escape:

    Very interesting after seeing the movie version

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    "A riveting tale, superbly told." --Peter FitzSimons, author, Gallipoli


    1 The lost letter

    2 The other side of the wire

    3 How to tell a true war story

    4 Great expectations - the making of a young man

    5 The next leg

    6 Introducing Michal

    7 Paradise on sea

    8 In search of a decent education

    9 The arrest

    10 The rise of an Aussie icon

    11 Choosing the future

    12 The mother country

    13 Ivo Tonder - the last glimpse

    14 In search of the elusive English gentleman

    15 Scotland, and the brave

    16 The first POW

    17 The Australians are coming

    18 Out in Africa

    19 A tale of two men and two messes

    20 To war in the desert

    21 Reunion

    22 Holding your nerve

    23 Flipping the bird

    24 A big flap

    25 While we still have breath in our bodies

    26 Down but not out

    27 The face of the enemy

    28 In the bag

    29 Big X

    30 Second time unlucky

    31 The swimming pool

    32 Another German friend

    33 Cooking and carpentry

    34 A ticket in the lottery

    35 Shuffling the cards

    36 The bereaved mother's badge

    37 In Memoriam

    38 Surfing at Manly

    Postscript - the lost letter, found





    ISBN: 9781760296148
    ISBN-10: 1760296147
    Audience: General
    Format: Paperback
    Language: English
    Number Of Pages: 296
    Published: 29th March 2017
    Publisher: Allen & Unwin
    Country of Publication: AU
    Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.8  x 2.29
    Weight (kg): 0.3