THE GREAT ESCAPE - THE ENTRANCE by LEY KENYON

THE GREAT ESCAPE - THE ENTRANCE by LEY KENYON



The night of 24 March 1944 has gone down in history as one of the bravest and most daring escape attempts of the entire war This was the night of ‘The Great Escape’. Over 200 inmates of the Prisoner of War camp Stalag Luft III in Zagan, Poland were ready and prepared with forged papers, maps, civilian clothes and an indomitable desire to be free.

The build-up to this audacious feat was long and arduous, the digging of the 3 escape tunnels — ‘Tom’, ‘Dick’ and ‘Harry’— being just one of many features needed to bring the project into fruition. Another was forgery; the painstaking and minutely detailed work in creating the passes, train tickets, and identity papers that would enable travel following the escape.

Needed for this were camera and film, both luxuries that could not be squandered on posterity; thus the senior British officer asked fellow prisoner and artist Ley Kenyon to make a visual record of ‘Harry’ — the tunnel that would ultimately be used for the escape. Kenyon completed six drawings, all of which were sealed in a watertight container fashioned from old milk tins, and stored in the abandoned tunnel ‘Dick’.
With the imminent arrival of the Russians in January 1945, the Germans hastily organised an evacuation of the POWs, prompting the prisoners to flood Dick’ and prevent the Germans from conducting a search if the tunnel was discovered. It was left alone and a British officer unable to be evacuated with the others due to illness, was on hand to retrieve the drawings upon Russian seizure of the camp.

All these historic drawings are now in the RAF Museum in Hendon, London. In conjunction with the museum the publishers are extremely proud to offer a very limited edition print of one of those six immortal images created by Ley Kenyon. ‘The Entrance’ shows the opening of tunnel ‘Harry’, hidden beneath the stove in Hut 104, one officer helping another into the 30-foot vertical shaft, as a ‘stooge’ keeps an eye out for patrolling German guards.

What makes this release so special is its exceptional link to the past, a drawing, made at the time by a POW right under the guards’ noses, showing the epitome of determination, the desire to overcome oppression and the relentless drive towards freedom.


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LIMITED EDITION - each print is signed by Flt Lt Alan Bryett, POW in Stalag Luft III, and involved in the escape as ‘stooge’ and ‘penguin’ – those that carried the ‘sausage bags’ filled with tunnel-earth down their trousers and dispersed it around the compound.
15" wide x 14" high
Edition Size – 150 Limited Edition -

ESCAPERS EDITION - just 76 copies of the ‘Escapers Edition’ – representing the 76 men who managed to escape the camp – are signed by Flt Lt Alan Bryett and Sqn Ldr Dick Churchill, ‘penguin’ and number 63 out of the tunnel. Each print is conservation matted to include a button found in the area of Hut 104, issued with a full certificate of authenticity from the Great Escape Museum in Zagan, Poland.
Matted size - 19" wide x 18½" high
Edition Size – 76 ESCAPERS EDITION