Real Great Escape logbook goes for 10 times value


By Rory Reynolds

A PRISONER of war logbook put together by airmen at the famous Great Escape camp has fetched 10 times its estimated value after a heated bidding war yesterday.

The scrapbook, owned by Private William Macdonald, details life in Stalag Luft III, where the famous Tom, Dick and Harry tunnels were dug by the inmates.

It was sold to a private UK bidder for £3,200 after being kept by Macdonald all of his life at his home in Garve, Ross-Shire, until he passed away in 2003.

The book is believed to have been passed around the camp, and contains pictures, drawings, names and verses, from different the airmen.

It includes one short poem by airman Lindsay Greenaway, who drew a sketch of the tunnel and wrote: “Silently below the surface/ twenty five feet below the floor/ thus the Goons have cause to curse us/ and remember – One-o-Four/ 24-3-43”.Hut 104 was the centre of the prisoners tunnelling operation, of which just one was finally finished.


It is also famously featured in the 1963 movie version of the escape starring Richard Attenborough, Steve McQueen and as well as Scots actors David McCallum and Gordon Jackson.

The film was not a big hit at the time, becoming a cult classic years later, but all four actors went on to achieve stardom, including McCallum on The Man From UNCLE and Jackson on the 1970’s cop hit The Persuaders.

The book contains 28 watercolour and pencil drawings, including one of the Harry tunnel, as well as 15 pages of names and addresses and 25 photographs.

Philip Gregory, of Lyon and Turnbull Auctioneers, said: “It’s a really unusual item and a very personal item.


“Because it is unique I think that sparked a lot of people’s enthusiasm.

“It went for £3200 and was valued at £300-£400. It shows there’s a lot of interest in Second World War memorabilia.”

Eventually 76 of the camp’s prisoners escaped, but only a handful were not recaptured.

The logbook also features a sketch of Macdonald cobbling his tartan trews, drawn by an airman named Alex Cassie in October 1944.

Cassie, who forged hundreds of documents for the escapees, was portrayed by Donald Pleasance in the film version.

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