Polish Air Force, RAF to mark Great Escape anniversary

The Polish Air Force and Britain's Royal Air Force (RAF) in Żagań, west Poland, will mark the March 24-falling 75th anniversary of the World War II mass escape of Allied pilots from a German POW camp in the area.

Marek Łazarz from Żagań's Prisoner of War Camp Museum told PAP that the celebrations will include a fly-by by four Polish Air Force F-16 fighters and an RAF Airbus A400 transporter.

The main observances are planned at a memorial on the actual escape site in the one-time camp. A special roll-call in memory of the escapees will be attended by diplomatic delegates from their mother countries, military delegates, and family members.

The celebrations are co-organised by the British Embassy in Warsaw.

The escape from the German Stalag Luft 3 POW camp in Żagań took place in the night from March 24 to 25 1944, among the 76 escapees were airmen from Britain, Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Lithuania, Belgium, Holland, France, Czechoslovakia and Greece. Only three of them managed to evade recapture, 50 of the 73 men subsequently seized by the Germans, including six Poles, were executed upon Third Reich leader Adolf Hitler's personal order.