Skip to comments.Jack Harrison, the last survivor of The Great Escape, dies at 97
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 ...
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.
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.
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.
God bless this man!
I watched it at the US embassy theater in Islamabad when I was 8. Stuck with me from then till now.
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
Its a shame the current occupant in the WH does share the same appreciation.
The low life is totally clueless of such things. TOTALLY!
Great flick, plus I really dug Steve McQueen.
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.
It certainly had an affect on me and started my life long love affair with WW2 history.
The movie has certainly stood the test of time has it not?We will never forget those great men.
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.
Rest In Peace
Our White House has been soiled and is disgraced.
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.
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...
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.