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Jack Harrison, the last survivor of The Great Escape, dies at 97
Daily Mail (UK) ^ | 8th June 2010 | Jim McBeth

Posted on 06/07/2010 8:28:33 PM PDT by naturalman1975

In the end, it was only time from which he could not escape. Jack Harrison, the last of those involved in the 'Great Escape', has passed away, peacefully and quietly, at the age of 97.

It has been 66 years since the dark night when he waited with bated breath, preparing to crawl through ‘Harry’ and under the wire of Stalag Luft III.

Many years after the war the former RAF pilot, and his brave and resourceful comrades, would be immortalised by the iconic 1963 film - starring Richard Attenborough and Steve McQueen - which remains the staple fare of every Christmas Day celebration.

But, by then, the most audacious - and tragic - prisoner-of-war break out of the Second World War was only a memory to the Scots veteran, who had long since returned to his ‘real life’ as a husband, father and classics teacher.

Mr Harrison would go on to live a long and fruitful life, spending the last two-and-a-half years of it in the veterans' hospital at Erskine, in Bishopton, Renfrewshire.

Yesterday a spokesman for the charity that runs the hospital said: ‘It is with the greatest of sadness that we announce the passing of Great Escape veteran Jack Harrison.

‘Mr Harrison, thought to be the last survivor of the escape, passed away with his son, Chris, and daughter, Jane, by his side.’

The success of the film The Great Escape may have elevated the humble Latin teacher to the status of a war hero. But to his family, he will forever be ‘dad’. In a joint statement yesterday, his two children paid tribute to him.

(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: escape; greatescape; obituary; pow; secondworldwar; veteran; worldwar2; worldwarii

1 posted on 06/07/2010 8:28:34 PM PDT by naturalman1975
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To: naturalman1975

It’s men like Mr. Harrison that fought for the freedom that my family and I enjoy. It’s a shame the current occupant in the WH does share the same appreciation.


2 posted on 06/07/2010 8:38:26 PM PDT by Son-Joshua (son-joshua)
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To: naturalman1975

I just watched this with my ten year old son and he really liked it.Then I gave him the history behind the movie.I’m setting the hook.I saw it at the Fox when it premiered in 64.Never gets old.


3 posted on 06/07/2010 8:38:39 PM PDT by HANG THE EXPENSE (Life is tough.It's tougher when you're stupid.)
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To: naturalman1975

My ex-wife’s uncle, Micheal Ormond, was one of the three caught in the tunnel. He never got out, which basically saved his life.


4 posted on 06/07/2010 8:39:43 PM PDT by U S Army EOD
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To: naturalman1975

God bless this man!


5 posted on 06/07/2010 8:42:00 PM PDT by microgood
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To: imahawk

I watched it at the US embassy theater in Islamabad when I was 8. Stuck with me from then till now.

Colonel, USAFR


6 posted on 06/07/2010 8:42:36 PM PDT by jagusafr (Don't make deals with pirates)
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To: imahawk
I just watched this with my ten year old son and he really liked it.Then I gave him the history behind the movie.I’m setting the hook.I saw it at the Fox when it premiered in 64.Never gets old.

Besides Rob Roy, The Great Escape was my grandfather's favorite movie. It's definitely one of my top ten.

A timeless classic that all generations can appreciate.

RIP Jack Harrison

7 posted on 06/07/2010 8:46:42 PM PDT by Zeppelin (Keep on FReepin' on...)
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To: Son-Joshua

It’s a shame the current occupant in the WH does share the same appreciation.


The low life is totally clueless of such things. TOTALLY!


8 posted on 06/07/2010 8:49:36 PM PDT by unkus
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To: naturalman1975
One of my all-time favorite movies. I think I saw it about 30 times.

Great flick, plus I really dug Steve McQueen.

9 posted on 06/07/2010 9:01:17 PM PDT by truthkeeper ( Remember in November: VOTE THE BUMS OUT!)
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To: imahawk

It’s one of those movies that when I see it playing on TV, I stop what I’m doing and sit down and watch.


10 posted on 06/07/2010 9:02:52 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: jagusafr

It certainly had an affect on me and started my life long love affair with WW2 history.


11 posted on 06/07/2010 9:09:47 PM PDT by HANG THE EXPENSE (Life is tough.It's tougher when you're stupid.)
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To: Zeppelin

The movie has certainly stood the test of time has it not?We will never forget those great men.


12 posted on 06/07/2010 9:11:25 PM PDT by HANG THE EXPENSE (Life is tough.It's tougher when you're stupid.)
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To: dfwgator

YUP.


13 posted on 06/07/2010 9:12:46 PM PDT by HANG THE EXPENSE (Life is tough.It's tougher when you're stupid.)
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To: naturalman1975

RIP Jack Harrison. You’re finally going to be reunited with the rest of your hero colleagues, in a place with no wire and no guards.

I remember reading The Great Escape and being utterly fascinated by it. When I told my Dad about it, he said, “Oh, they made a movie of that - you’ll love it.” I have, all the many times that I’ve seen it. Thanks for all that you gentlemen did for us.


14 posted on 06/07/2010 9:25:26 PM PDT by Ancesthntr (Tyrant: "Spartans, lay down your weapons." Free man: "Persian, come and get them!")
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Rest In Peace


15 posted on 06/07/2010 9:35:07 PM PDT by NonValueAdded ("The real death threat is their legislation" Rush Limbaugh, 3/25/10)
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To: Son-Joshua

...current occupant...

Our White House has been soiled and is disgraced.


16 posted on 06/07/2010 9:41:22 PM PDT by ExTexasRedhead (Clean the RAT/RINO Sewer in 2010 and 2012)
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To: naturalman1975

My dad was a POW in Stalag Luft III, arriving in July, 1944, after the Great Escape try in the early spring that year. My dad was a B-24 pilot who was shot down over Romania. He said when he arrived, there was a memorial that just said ‘to the 50’. My husband was in Germany on business a few years ago and toured the grounds of the former Prisoner of War Camp. The memorial is still there. RIP all those who lost their lives in their try for freedom. You won the respect of countless people and the admiration of generations.


17 posted on 06/07/2010 9:52:39 PM PDT by originalbuckeye
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To: imahawk

In Chicago media Ray Raynor had a kid’s show and played on Bozo’s circus on WGN during the 1960’s and 70’s.
He was self effacing, humble and funny.
But it was little known that he was a POW in that camp!
He never spoke of his war history. That was very common among those heroic men not to brag or boast of their war times adventures.
But with friends and a few brews...


18 posted on 06/07/2010 10:37:19 PM PDT by ChiMark
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To: originalbuckeye

The camp commandant allowed the memorial to be built - he, as a professional officer of the Luftwaffe serving his country who understand the laws and conventions of war, as opposed to the Nazi thugs - was appalled at the fact that prisoners had been executed.

The bravery of the POWs was astonishing enough, but his own courage in allowing the memorial in spite of the fact that the murders were at the direct order of Hitler, has always inspired me as well.

19 posted on 06/07/2010 10:43:25 PM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: ChiMark
I lived north of Chicago in the early 70s. I used to watch Ray Raynor. I remember he wore orange coveralls. I had to google him and see him again.
20 posted on 06/07/2010 11:21:23 PM PDT by Daaave ( "Where it all ends I can't fathom my friends")
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To: Daaave

Watching Steve McQueen on the motorcycle jumping the fences and avoiding the Nazis started my love for motorcycles. Today I am a vets biker club President and ride every day.


21 posted on 06/08/2010 12:38:38 AM PDT by Outrance
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To: naturalman1975

“...the 1963 film... remains the staple fare of every Christmas Day celebration.”

I saw this movie years ago, I really don’t remember much about it, besides Steve McQueen and the motorcycle, lol, and that it is a great movie.

Why is it a Christmas day tradition to watch it in England?


22 posted on 06/08/2010 4:20:45 AM PDT by jocon307 (It's the spending, stupid.)
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To: naturalman1975

RIP.


23 posted on 06/08/2010 4:22:03 AM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (~"This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Amber Lamps !"~~)
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To: jocon307
A lot of people like to watch a good movie to wind down at the end of Christmas Day with their family. This has become a traditional part of Christmas in England. The Great Escape came to be one of the films that often turned up in that role (James Bond films are another common choice. The idea is a classic film that everybody remembers and enjoys.

A few years ago, one the British TV companies did a poll to find out what movie most people would like to see on Christmas Day. The Great Escape came very high, and every year since then it's been broadcast on Christmas Day. It has become a tradition itself.

24 posted on 06/08/2010 4:37:54 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: ExTexasRedhead

Ditto. What an embarrassment. Even worse than Clinton.


25 posted on 06/08/2010 5:34:01 AM PDT by originalbuckeye
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To: naturalman1975

Thanks, that’s interesting. Here in the US I think Christmas day is one of the very few days we don’t watch much TV.

In fact, one of the more popular “programs” (at least here in the NYC metro area-I don’t know if they have it in other places) was The Yule Log. It wasn’t a show at all, just a loop of a fire burning and the station would play Christmas music.

It used to be on overnight on one of the local stations, then it went away, but lately it’s been back (in High Definition, lol!) on Christmas morning.


26 posted on 06/08/2010 7:14:04 AM PDT by jocon307 (It's the spending, stupid.)
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Rest in peace!


27 posted on 06/08/2010 7:15:50 AM PDT by Constitution Day
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To: naturalman1975
Thansk for the post naturalman1975

Best Regards to Mr. Harrison's family

alfa6 ;>}

28 posted on 06/08/2010 7:19:55 AM PDT by alfa6
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To: naturalman1975
On the right:


29 posted on 06/08/2010 1:54:47 PM PDT by Ready4Freddy ("It's not the number of burnt cars that worries me. It's the fact that everyone finds this normal..")
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To: imahawk

Me too, I saw this film with my brother when it first came out. My Mother would use the movies as her favorite babysitter and I guess my brother and I saw that film at least 3 times before she came and picked us up.
Never get tired of watching that movie.


30 posted on 06/09/2010 7:43:49 AM PDT by Captain Peter Blood
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To: originalbuckeye; naturalman1975
My brother was shot down over Wiesbaden Gr on Aug 15th 1944 and spent the rest of the war in Stalag III until the forced march in the worst cold weather in Jan 45 about 35 miles or more to get put on a cattle train and moved to another camp. He passed away late last year. There is a huge Keith Ferris mural on a wall of the Air and Space museum depicting the Wiesbaden raid...


31 posted on 06/10/2010 8:00:49 AM PDT by tubebender (Life is short so drink the good wine first...)
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To: Ready4Freddy

Was that at the camp?


32 posted on 06/10/2010 8:01:53 AM PDT by tubebender (Life is short so drink the good wine first...)
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To: samiam1972

Ping


33 posted on 06/10/2010 8:03:01 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: tubebender
Hi tubebender, it's not stated where the pic was taken.

The caption of the pic is:

Jack Harrison, at right, the veteran thought to be the last survivor
of the World War II prisoner-of-war breakout from Stalag Luft III,
is seen with other prisoners-of-war in this undated file photo
.

From this article: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37573325/ns/world_news-europe/

Unless he was moved to a different camp after the escape, I'd guess this was taken at Stalag Luft III.

34 posted on 06/10/2010 8:15:00 AM PDT by Ready4Freddy ("It's not the number of burnt cars that worries me. It's the fact that everyone finds this normal..")
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To: Ancesthntr
I remember reading The Great Escape and being utterly fascinated by it. When I told my Dad about it, he said, “Oh, they made a movie of that - you’ll love it.” I have, all the many times that I’ve seen it. Thanks for all that you gentlemen did for us.

If you liked the book about the Great Escape try reading Escape from Colditz. Castle Colditz was where the Germans sent you if you had caused trouble or escaped from another POW camp. While it did make it easier to guard, putting that much escape obsessed talent in one place probably wasn't a good Idea. They had one Dutch guy, who because he spoke German without an accent, kept walking out the front door. The French POWs started a tunnel from the top of a bell tower (you have to admit you wouldn't look for a tunnel entrance there). The Brits built a glider and at one point had guys dressed as guards with fake guns relieve the Germans on the wire.

The book is also interesting as it has two authors, with rather different styles. The first author carries the story from capture in the battle to France until he breaks out and gets back to England. The second author picks up the story of the camp after his escape and carries the story through to the castle's relief by the Americans.

The Colditz author's comments on the great escape are telling. They were quite harsh as their goal was to maximize the home runs. So they did a smaller number of escapes, but with phenomenal prep work and documentation. They also took great pains to ensure that the Germans wouldn't miss the escaped prisoners for as long as possible. This included "Fake" escapes where they just hid guys for use later after a real escape, and manikins to throw off the German's prisoner counts. If the Germans didn't know somebody had escaped they didn't alert internal authorities and didn't watch train stations. Unless you had bad luck, if you got past the wire you could almost always make it to the frontier. In contrast in the Great Escape they put so many guys under the wire that it couldn't be hidden. And it alerted the Gestapo resulting in the capture of all but 3 POWs and the shooting of 50 POWs.
35 posted on 06/10/2010 8:33:46 AM PDT by GonzoGOP (There are millions of paranoid people in the world and they are all out to get me.)
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To: naturalman1975

I saw this and Longest Day as a lad when they came out.

Steve McQueen was always so cool.

God bless. RIP to the last one.


36 posted on 06/10/2010 8:35:49 AM PDT by wardaddy (I am not in favor of practical endorsements in primaries, endorse the conservative please)
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To: Ready4Freddy; naturalman1975

I have the worlds worst memory as my brother told me many stories of his interment there, the forced march and their short stay in Stalag VII-A where Patton himself rode a tank through the gate to liberate them. My brother remembered all of that right down to the Pearl Handled Pistols on his hip. Patton’s son in law was a POW of Stalag III and the march. Bro still had his hand written notes and our sister transcribed them and scanned them into his iMac. His daughter has the original scribbles...


37 posted on 06/10/2010 9:22:52 AM PDT by tubebender (Life is short so drink the good wine first...)
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To: wagglebee

Aww. Thanks for the ping.


38 posted on 06/10/2010 11:58:00 AM PDT by samiam1972 ("It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish."-Mother Teresa)
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To: tubebender
I remember that story! My dad said that Patton on the tank was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen until he married and had children. And the forced march was the source of nightmares for my dad for the rest of his life. I have a book of remembrance of the POW camp called Clipped Wings. I don't know if it's available anywhere now. It belonged to my dad who passed away in 1996. Miss him every day.
39 posted on 06/10/2010 4:58:34 PM PDT by originalbuckeye
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To: originalbuckeye

What color is the cover and who is the author?


40 posted on 06/10/2010 6:06:06 PM PDT by tubebender (Life is short so drink the good wine first...)
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To: tubebender

It’s dark blue and I am not sure about the author. We moved recently and I’ll have to find the book. But I will get back to you!


41 posted on 06/10/2010 6:57:21 PM PDT by originalbuckeye
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To: originalbuckeye

I did a search and it looks like it’s about the Women’s Air Force. They were the pilots who ferried the planes from factories to military air fields during WWII. I know one of them but she has recently moved to Medford Oregon...


42 posted on 06/10/2010 7:45:12 PM PDT by tubebender (Life is short so drink the good wine first...)
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To: tubebender

The book I have was probably from a POW Convention. My dad used to attend these functions in the 60-70’s. I remember one of the meetings in Dayton, Ohio, that the ‘ferret’ attended. I will find the book and let you know the details.


43 posted on 06/10/2010 10:03:48 PM PDT by originalbuckeye
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To: GonzoGOP

Thanks, that’s now on my list of books to read, and above a lot of less interesting things.


44 posted on 06/11/2010 2:42:39 PM PDT by Ancesthntr (Tyrant: "Spartans, lay down your weapons." Free man: "Persian, come and get them!")
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