Days of Remembrance
A crack team of engineers and archaeologists join forces with some of the original survivors to unearth, for the first time, the secrets of the most famous wartime escape in history. On the night of 24th March 1944 76 allied airmen escaped from the North Compound of Stalag Luft III, a supposedly "escape-proof" POW camp in what is now Western Poland.
This was the "Great Escape", one of the most iconic and thrilling stories in military history, immortalized in the Hollywood blockbuster.
The real men behind the escape came from just about every allied country and were among the elite—daring pilots and flight officers trained to take the initiative and use their intelligence and cunning. The tunnel they dug was an engineering marvel nicknamed "Harry". It was 7 metres deep, more than 100 metres long, and took a year to complete.
For nearly 70 years the tunnel has remained undisturbed – and with it the final secrets of the remarkable story of the Great Escape. Until now...
In August 2011 our team of engineers and archaeologists gathered at the site with permission to excavate, for the first time, several key targets at Stalag Luft III – including tunnel "Harry".
Their challenge — to dig 7 metres down into treacherous, unstable sand to reach the tunnel, without destroying the archaeology, or themselves. The process was a roller-coaster of set-backs and triumphs, culminating in some truly breathtaking archaeological discoveries.
Meanwhile, a team of currently serving air force officers took on the challenge of replicating some of the key elements involved in the original escape; using only materials and tools available to the original escapees. Their goal; to build a 10 metre section of tunnel (complete with ventilation, lighting, and trolley system) and then escape down it.
Both teams were watched over and often aided by some of the veterans of the original escape.
Intertwining the thrilling past-tense narrative of the escape itself with the jeopardy-laden present-tense quest to unearth the physical remains left by the escapees, the film offers a dramatic and emotionally charged new take on one of the great adventure stories of our time.