My Escape from Donington Hall

B2243

The author holds the distinction that he was the only German POW in either WWI or WWII to make a successful home run escape from the British Isles. As such, this is a unique story and he tells his tale well. The only complaint might be a low level of illustration but as the publisher has a solid reputation for including appropriate illustration in their books, it has to be assumed that there was a lack of suitable material. Most of the illustration included is in the form of clippings from newspapers of the time. A very interesting read and an ideal addition to any library of military history.

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NAME: My Escape from Donington Hall
FILE: R2243
AUTHOR: Gunther Pluschow
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back
PAGES: 150
PRICE: £19.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: The Great War, WWI, World War One, First World War, POW, British Isles, home run, POW escape, pilot
ISBN: 1-47382-705-1
IMAGE: B2243.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/gq9hu3w
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: The author holds the distinction that he was the only German POW in either WWI or WWII to make a successful home run escape from the British Isles. As such, this is a unique story and he tells his tale well. The only complaint might be a low level of illustration but as the publisher has a solid reputation for including appropriate illustration in their books, it has to be assumed that there was a lack of suitable material. Most of the illustration included is in the form of clippings from newspapers of the time. A very interesting read and an ideal addition to any library of military history.

Pluschow made an unsuccessful escape and then, after relocation to Donington Hall, made a unique home run. It is very easy to assume that German POWs failed to show the same determination as British POWs and were content to sit out the war. That is unfair. There were a number of attempts to tunnel out or escape over the wire in a similar style to British POWs, but a lack of success meant that this story went largely unreported at the time, or in the period since.

German POWs did face extra challenges and some have speculated that the British public school (the British description of private schools) helped British POWs to adapt quickly to their imprisonment and then to exploit every vulnerability. There may be some truth in this and it may also be true that German POWs had a different attitude to surrender and imprisonment. However, they were held at British Isles POW camps where the surrounding population were homogeneous and there were no land borders over which to escape. A German POW therefore had to make his way through a hostile population that was on the lookout for escaping POWs and German spies. The only way out was to find a boat to sail away on or, as Pluschow did, stow away on a neutral ship to leave the British Isles.

What is perhaps harder to explain is why German POWs held in Canada failed to escape via the US and Mexico.

British POWs however had some help from the Germans and some help from the many land borders into neutral or friendly countries. The Germans helped by including the people of conquered lands as workers in Germany, especially during WWII. This allowed British POWs to disguise themselves as people from countries that were part of the German scene and was much easier than disguise as a member of the hostile nation. The many land borders were generally easier to cross than finding a route out from a hostile coastline.

The reader will find this book fascinating as a war story, but also is a comparison with the many tales of escapes by British POWs.

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