Wrexham hero of the real Great Escape Ken Rees dies


A former prisoner of war who took part in the real-life Great Escape on which the blockbuster movie was based has died aged 93.

Flight Lieutenant Ken Rees spent much of World War II as a prisoner, and was part of the legendary escape from Stalag Luft III camp. He was the last man pulled from the tunnel when it was discovered by a German guard.

Mr Rees was credited as the inspiration for Steve McQueen’s character in the film, although he always denied this.

Henry Kenneth Rees was born on February 2 1921 in Wrexham and was educated at Ruabon Grammar School.

He worked for two years in a draper’s shop before joining the RAF aged 18.

He flew Wellington bombers during the war, before being shot down in flames over Norway in 1942 and being taken prisoner.

He eventually found himself in the Luftwaffe run camp, where it was considered a duty to escape.

In 1944 he was among a group of airmen who attempted to flee from the prison – a plan immortalised in the 1963 film.

He was lucky to escape with his life when he was pulled from the tunnel as German shots rang out in the darkness.

Mr Rees had maintained he had nothing to do with the story that McQueen’s character was loosely based on him.



DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.