Marking 75 years since the most daring operation of the Second World War – The Great Escape

On Sunday 24 March the RAF’s leading welfare charity will present The Great Escape with Dan Snow, live from the Eventim Apollo Hammersmith to commemorate the iconic escape – 75 years to the day.

A gala screening of the 1963 cult film The Great Escape will follow an hour-long show, where Dan will reflect on the leader of the operation Squadron Leader Roger ‘Big X’ Bushell’s expert planning and how it led to the making of one of the world’s most famous war movies. Joining him on stage will be the original Triumph TR6 motorcycle made famous by legendary actor Steve McQueen as well as Britain’s Got Talent stars The D-Day Darlings and historian Paul Beaver.

Dan Snow said: “We will remember the extraordinary bravery of the men who participated in the most daring escape of the Second World War and bring back to the big screen one of the greatest films of all time. Thanks to the RAF Benevolent Fund, it’s, going to be a truly momentous occasion.”

Seventy-five years ago today, teams working around the clock, were tunnelling through sand deep below the infamous Stalag Luft III prisoner of war camp near the German town of Sagan (now Poland). Seventy-six Allied airmen escaped – many of whom were members of the RAF – before the alarm was raised. Fifty of those later captured were executed.

The mass breakout from the high security prison camp run by the Luftwaffe is significant for the sheer impact it had on the Nazi leadership and the way in which it embodied the will of Allied prisoners of war to resist Hitler’s tyranny.

The historic event next March will pay tribute to those brave airmen and includes interviews with veterans of the escape while Dr Hugh Hunt of the University of Cambridge will explore the science behind the operation.

Air Vice-Marshal David Murray, Chief Executive of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, said: “The Great Escape mission demonstrates the immense tenacity and bravery of our Armed Forces, a quality which prevails today. The RAF Benevolent Fund is proud to have stood side by side with the Royal Air Force for 100 years to support those who serve and have served.”

The event will be streamed live to hundreds of UK cinemas, before a screening of the The Great Escape in stunning 4K. At the Eventim Apollo Hammersmith the film will be shown on a huge 40ft screen.

Tickets for the live event and cinema screenings are available at www.thegreatescape75.co.uk

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