on 23 January 2010
This book tells the remarkable story of the Great Escape made by British, Commonwealth and Allied prisoners-of-war from Stalag Luft III in March 1944; the brutal murder of 50 of the recaptured RAF officers by the Gestapo on the orders of Hitler; the story of those recaptured and sent to concentration camps; and, the subsequent complex post-war investigation, carried out by the RAF Special Investigation Branch, which identified, from the German High Command, those responsible in the conspiracy to murder the 50 as well as their Gestapo executioners. The wanted Gestapo and Criminal Police who had survivived the war were swiftly hunted down in the chaos of worn-torn Europe and rounded up as war criminals by the small but dedicated RAF Police investigation team and brought to justice in Hamburg. 16 of those found guilty by the International and British War Crimes Tribunal were sentenced to death and were hanged at Nuremburg and Hamburg while a further 4 were hanged by the authorities in Czechoslavkia for a variety of war crimes against humanity; others found guilty by the tribunals of compicity received various terms of imprisonment. Regrettably, a change in British government policy in 1948, prevented others arrested by the RAF Police from being prosecuted by the International War Crimes Tribunal and in most cases they walked away with blood on their hands as free men. This remarkable war crimes investigation, the only one of its kind entrusted to a British military police force, began at the end of hostilies in 1945 and 23 years later in 1968 one of the last suspects in the case was traced and convicted by a West German Court for his part in the mass murder of RAF prisoners-of-war. Lots of new information about this event and not a mention of Steve McQueen and his motorbike anywhere!