Britain demands facts of prison shootings

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Britain demands facts of prison shootings

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Britain has demanded through the protecting power a full and immediate report on the shooting after a mass escape of 47 British, Dominion and allied air officers in prison camp Stalag Luft 3. 76 officers escaped on March 22. 15 had been recaptured and 14 were still at large. At the top a photograph of huts behind wire with prisoners in grounds. captioned 'This was their prison. A compound at Stalag Luft 3, enclosing one of the prisoners' huts, some of which were built by captured airmen. Washing is hanging on lines strung across the compound. More pictures on back page'.

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One newspaper cutting

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IBCC Digital Archive

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SValentineJRM1251404v10118

Transcription

Britain demands facts of prison shootings

[Photograph of Prisoner of War camp accommodation] THIS WAS THEIR PRISON A compound at Stalag Luft 3, enclosing one of the prisoners’ huts, some of which were built by the captured airmen. Washing is hanging on lines strung across the compound. More pictures on Back Page

BRITAIN, through Switzerland, the Protecting Power, has demanded from the German Government a full and immediate report on the shooting, after a “mass escape” of 47 British Dominion and Allied air officers in prison camp Stalag Luft 3.

The Nazis have also been asked to explain their failure to report the facts at once.

The shooting, Mr. Eden revealed in the House of Commons yesterday, took place on March 22.

It was not until April 17, however, when inspecting officers of the Protecting Power were visiting the camp, that the German authorities disclosed the affair.

Fourteen still free

Mr. Eden told M.P.s:

“According to the information given to a representative of the Protecting Power by the German authorities in the course of a routine visit to this camp on April 17, 76 officers escaped from Stalag Luft 3 on March 22.

“Of these 15 had been recaptured, 14 were still at large and 47 had been shot, some while resisting arrest and some in the course of a new attempt to escape after capture.

“The Government are profoundly shocked by this news and have urgently requested the Protecting Power to demand from the German Government a full and immediate report of the circumstances in which these men met their deaths, and an explanation of its failure to report the facts at once to the Protecting Power.

“The House will wish me to express its deepest sympathy with the relatives and to pay tribute to the courage and high sense of military duty shown by all these gallant officers.”

What law says on captives

By Ronald Walker

News Chronicle Air Correspondent

FINAL judgement on the shooting of the prisoners must wait for full information telling exactly what happened at Stalag Luft 3 on March 22.

The brief details, which were all that Mr. Eden was able to give, suggest that this air force prison camp was the scene of the greatest escape plot in history.

Presumably the plot failed. In any case it ended in tragic circumstances, circumstances which are more shocking than if the 47 men had lost their lives in action.

From Mr. Eden’s statement it is clear that the Germans did not report the escape and the subsequent shootings to the Swiss authorities. They were allowed to discover what had happened.

Citation

“Britain demands facts of prison shootings,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed December 8, 2021, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/22105.

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