Uncle played role in great escape legend

He didn’t escape but Margaret Brickhill’s relative wrote the book
FAMILY LINK TO THE GREAT ESCAPE: Wangaratta resident Margaret Brickhill will be among those at the Wangaratta Cenotaph this morning to commemorate the 70th anniversary of The Great Escape. Her uncle, Paul Brickhill, was a prisoner of war at the camp in Poland who helped concoct the escape, and his book, The Great Escape, told the world of the event. PHOTO: Luke Plummer

AS the world today celebrates the 70th anniversary of World War 2’s great escape, Wangaratta woman Margaret Brickhill will be recalling her own family link to the 1944 event.

The escape from Stalag Luft III in Sagan (now Zagan), Poland, and the 50 prisoners of war killed as a result, will be commemorated in an 11am service at the Wangaratta Cenotaph today.

That service has been organised by Wangaratta woman Rosemary Williams, who discovered she was a distant cousin of one of the men killed following the escape, John Gifford Stower.

Ms Brickhill’s link comes through her uncle Paul, who was a prisoner of war at Stalag Luft III, and also the author of the book ‘The Great Escape’, which has been central to many people’s knowledge of the World War 2 event.

“Certainly as I was growing up (I was born in 1948), very many people knew our surname from Paul’s writing,” Ms Brickhill said.

“People of the baby boomer generation still sometimes ask me if I am related to him.”

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