On the night of March 24, 1944, Bram Vanderstok was number eighteen of seventy-six men who crawled beyond the barbed wire fence of Stalag Luft III in Zagan, Poland. The 1963 film The Great Escape, was largely based on this autobiography but-with Vanderstok's agreement-filmmakers chose to turn his story into an Australian character named Sedgwick.
His memoir sets down his wartime adventures before being incarcerated in Stalag Luft III and then in extraordinary detail describes various escape attempts which culminated with the famous March breakout. After escaping, Vanderstok roamed Europe for weeks, passing through Leipzig, Utrecht, Brussels, Paris, Dijon, and Madrid, before making it back to England.
He reported to the Air Ministry and two months after escaping returned to the British No. 91 Squadron. In the following months he flew almost every day to France escorting bombers and knocking down V1 rockets.
In August 1944 he finally returned to his home. He learned that his two brothers had been killed in concentration camps after being arrested for resistance work. His father had been tortured and blinded by the Gestapo during interrogation. He had never betrayed his son.
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