‘Great Escape’ veteran Eric Dowling dies at 92
Posted by comartslibrarian on August 7, 2008
Eric Dowling, who helped plan the mass wartime breakout from a German prison camp that inspired the movie “The Great Escape,” has died at 92.
Seventy-six Allied prisoners escaped from the Stalag Luft III prison camp on March 24, 1944, in a daring breakout. All but three were recaptured, and 50 were shot on the orders of Adolf Hitler to deter future attempts.
The escape attempt was one of the most celebrated incidents of the war, recounted in a 1963 film starring Steve McQueen and Richard Attenborough.
Dowling played a key role in planning the escape. He forged documents, made maps and was nicknamed “Digger” for his work helping to excavate the three escape tunnels, code-named Tom, Dick and Harry.