"H" for Harry

Ed note: I received this letter from Vern White October, 2008.

Hi Wayne,
Thanks for the schematics showing the routing and features of Harry of Great Escape fame. They are the best and most complete I have seen. Harry, plus two other tunnels, Tom and Dick were under construction at North Compound Stalag Luft 3 (Sagan) from April 43 to March 44. I was a POW part of that time in another Stalag Luft 3 compound nearby:

  • Centre Compound ( about 200 yards west of (North Compound) July 43 to January 44 and then
  • Belaria Compound ( about 3 miles east of North Compound from January 1944 until January 1945) and then other POW camps in the latter stages of the war.

Canadian Wally Floody, George Harsh( an American in the RCAF), Fanshawe and a few other Brits were moved from North Compound to Belaria and I got to know them well.. They were ringleaders in the Great Escape project. In other words, this was about 6 weeks before the breakout. Whether the Germans suspected something - who knows? At any rate they were not in North Compound in March 1944 when the Escape took place. It was only after the war that Wally Floody and the others revealed their major involvement in what later became known as the Great Escape. Of course the rest is history and there have been several books, movies and documentaries produced in subsequent years. George Harsh, a convicted murderer, had a colourful background having served for 12 years on a Georgia Chain Gang prior to enlistment in the RCAF.

I attended Wally Floody's funeral in 1989. George Harsh passed away in the 1970's.

Vern White

To check out the schematics of H for Harry go to -  Harry