Escape from Stalag Luft III

The True Story of My Successful Great Escape: The Memoir of Bob Vanderstok

Bram Vanderstok

Date Published :
April 2019
Publisher :
Greenhill Books
Contributor(s) :
Simon Pearson
Illustration :
20 black and white illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781784384340
Pages : 256
Dimensions : 9.25 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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"Quickly, I climbed up to the surface and immediately found the rope… I felt no signal, so it was not safe yet. Then I felt three distinct tugs and slowly popped my head up. The nearest 'Goonbox' was at least 200 feet away; but, indeed, I was twenty feet from the edge of the woods.” - Bram Vanderstok

"A born raconteur. His escapes, his operations as a Spitfire pilot, his experiences as a prisoner of war, and his incredible escape crossing the Pyrenees - all are described in a breathtaking manner which made me read his book through in one sitting' - Prof. Dr. L de Jong, Founder/Director of the Dutch Institute for War Documentation

“Such a modest man, such a dramatic story – you’ll be pulled into this absorbing account” - Jonathan Vance, The True Story of the Great Escape

On the night of 24 March 1944, Bram Vanderstok was number 18 of 76 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 name Sedgwick, played by James Coburn.

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, on 30 May 1944 he 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.

About The Author

Bram (Bob) Vanderstok, MBE, was born on 13th October 1915 in Sumatra in the Dutch East Indies. he was a world war ii fighter pilot and still holds the record as the most decorated aviator in Dutch history. after the war he studied and practiced medicine as well as working with the us coast guard auxiliary, participating in 162 rescues. he died in February 1993. Simon Pearson is _The Times_ newspaper obituaries editor and author of TThe Great Escaper: The Life and Death of Roger Bushell 'the mastermind behind the great escape'_ (Hodder).


“Originally published in 1980 in The Netherlands, this new 2019 edition features a foreword by his son Robert and preface by London Times journalist Simon Pearson. It’s written in the style of a fireside chat, almost as if we are hanging out at the pub as our buddy Bram “Bob” Vanderstok captivates us with his incredible war stories. If you’ve seen the classic 1963 movie THE GREAT ESCAPE, then you are somewhat familiar with the story; however, the fictionalized on-screen version is somehow less thrilling than Vanderstok’s own words on the page”


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