The Great Escape II - A charity event in aid of Help For HeroesPosted by daryl
Recently, we came across a forthcoming charity event called The Great Escape 2, which is a two week motorcycle ride honouring the exploits of Squadron Leader Roger Bushell during the Second World War.
Bushell was the inspiration for the character portrayed by Lord Richard Attenborough in the film The Great Escape.
Naturally, being huge fans of both the film, and charity, we wanted to find out more.
Here are a few words from the organisers of this fantastic fund raising event, but please take a moment or two to visit their site to learn a lot more.
“The basis of this ride is the historical fact behind the film classic THE GREAT ESCAPE. Although the characters portrayed in the film were fictional, they are based on real men, who gave their lives during World War II. It was their belief that their actions behind enemy lines, to both harass and necessitate the maximum use of manpower to discover them, was their duty.
One of these men, played by Lord Richard Attenborough in the film was Squadron Leader Roger Bartlett, who, in real life, was based on Squadron Leader Roger Bushell. Roger was a South African national who loved life; an international skier, who rose to become a Squadron Leader of 92 Squadron based at RAF Biggin Hill, Kent. On 23rd MAY 1940 he flew across the Channel to assist with the evacuation of Dunkirk. After downing two Messerschmitt 110’s, he was in turn shot down and landed on a beach in France. Taken prisoner, by the Luftwaffe, he was to become one of their major problems. After various escape attempts, which so nearly succeeded, he was sent to Stalag Luft III, in Sagen, Silesia, Zagen, Poland. Now under the threat of death if he attempted to escape again.
He became “Big X” and was one of the masterminds of The Great Escape.
A team of seven motorcycle riders, including a relative of Roger Bushell, intend to follow his route, from a starting point of former RAF Biggin Hill, to the National Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne, Folkestone before going via Dover to the beaches of Dunkirk. Following the beaches.
They will travel through The Netherlands, following the route of “Operation Market Garden” and meet up with two groups of Second World War enthusiasts. They will guide the team through this area in their genuine WWII vehicles and over the Arnhem Bridge (“A Bridge Too Far”) before the team will stop over night with local residents. This will happen on a very special day ……. wait for it ….. the 5th June.
They will then travel into Germany to visit the site of the former Gestapo Headquarters, Prinz-Albrecht-Street in Berlin where prisoners, including Roger Bushell, were ‘questioned’. They will pay their respected to the single grave here of the fifty prisoners eecuted (the remiaining forty nine graves are located near to Stalag Luft III). The team will be given a guided tour of Berlin by members of the local Blue Knights (a motorcycle club which Cookie, Muddy and Pete belong) before going to the former camp, Stalag Luft I, at Barthe on the North coast.
Travelling to the former Stalag Luft III camp at Sagan in Poland, the team will stay for three nights at Stalag Luft III and visit all the nearby tracks and stations used by the escapees. They will be entertained by the Mayor of Sagan who is looking forward to their visit. During their time, they will visit the remaining forty nine graves of those executed.
They will travel back into Germany via Dresden, where they will pay their respects of reconciliation, as Peter’s father took part in the raids of this city. Peter will not be going to apologise for what happened, but to lay flowers and show what happened, happened, but now we live together and what happened will never happen again.
Then the team will head off to the south and to Hitlers Obersalzburg, Berghoff in the mountains. This is where the order was signed, by Hitler himself, to murder 50 of the escapees. A nearby pass where the most famous bike jump, ever, in the history of filmmaking was made. The great jump of Steve McQueen over the wire (in fact a stunt rider, but don’t mention it) then through Switzerland, where most of the escapees intended to reach.
The team will then return into France and home to England where they will participqate ina reception to celebrate their achievements. Phew!!
The charity ride is planned to begin 4th June 2011 which gives us a while to plan the exact route, but we will be covering 3000 miles in two week.”
The ride is raising money and awarness for the superb Help For Heroes campaugn, as well as The Royal British Legion.