A True Story of the Great Escape

A young Australian POW in the most audacious breakout of WWII

Louise Williams
AUD $29.99
Availability: Out of print

The first book to tell the story of an Australian POW in the famous Great Escape from Stalag Luft III in World War II, this is a moving account of the far too short life of a talented young man and a family hit hard by the Depression and war.

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

Author bio:

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.

Category: Biography & Autobiography
ISBN: 9781743313893
Table Of Contents: Introduction

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




Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Imprint: Allen & Unwin
Pub Date: August 2015
Page Extent: 296
Format: Paperback - C format
Subject: Biography: general