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Stolen Aircraft Prints

by actiondesksheffield

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Donald J.R.Wilson, Charlie Saunter, Emil Glaiser,
Location of story: 
Stalag Luft 111 in Sagan, Silesia.
Background to story: 
Royal Air Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
19 May 2005

Stolen Aircraft Prints

Donald J.R.Wilson
Renewed interest in the "Great Escape" has been generated by the showing of a documentary on the History Channel, of Sky Television, of Stalag Luft 111 in Sagan, Silesia.
I had the misfortune to be in the first batch of Air Force prisoners to occupy this prison camp, and was one of the last to be evacuated in February 1945. Naturally I was resident during the preparations of the tunnel and the final escape.
I only played a very minor part in one of the many tasks undertaken before the event. Anyone travelling through Germany in Wartime had to carry identity papers, travel warrants etc., so it was necessary for potential escapees to have the essential papers. The only means of supply was to steal wallets from German staff entering the compounds on camp business. My friend and colleague, Charlie Saunter had been interested, and was involved in a small way with some members of the Escape Committee, so he asked me if I would assist him in stealing papers from the German Sergeant who was in charge of the prison cook house in North Camp.
We noted Emil Glaiser's routine behaviour on entering the cook house, and established that he removed his uniform tunic and carefully hung it on the back of his chair. We also discovered that he left the button of his pocket open, presumably after showing his pass to the guards at the entrance to our Compound. It was therefore relatively easy to "pick pocket".
We agreed that I should engage Glaiser in conversation and show him some family photographs to distract him, while Charlie moved behind his chair, relieving him of his wallet. He then took it quickly to the "X" Committee, where an excellent forger photographed it. I have since learned that Sgt. Glaiser brought in this camera and film after being successfully blackmailed by members of the organisation. Charlie returned the wallet to me and I in turn replaced it in Glaiser's uniform. Having completed the task, I noticed two prints of German aircraft decorating the office wall, so promptly stole them and secreted them inside my own jacket. I am pleased to say that I brought them home with me as Souvenirs at the end of the War.
580878. W/O Air/Obs. D.J.R.Wilson,
Prisoner Number 13042, Stalag VIII B, Lamsdorf, Breslau.
May, 1940 Dulag Luft, Frankfurt-on-Maine - June, 1940 Stalag Xll/A, Limberg
July 1940 Stalag Luft I-II.
April 1942 Stalag Luft III, Sagan, Silesia.
Feb 1945 Malag & Milag Nord, Tarmstadt, Bremen.


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