UNITED KINGDOM

World War II

Escape & Evasion

 

Included here:

1. United Kingdom

2. United States

 

1. United Kingdom: MI9

Caskie, Donald C. The Tartan Pimpernel. London: Oldbourne, 1957.

Constantinides: Although he was an early member of the Garrow escape and evasion network in France, Caskie did not know at the time he wrote this book the full story behind the rolling up of the group by the German and Vichy authorities.

Crawley, Aiden Merivale. Escape from Germany: A History of R.A.F. Escapes During the War. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1956. Escape from Germany: The Methods of Escape Used by R.A.F.Airmen During the 2nd World War. London: HMSO, 1985. [pb] Escape from Germany.:New York: Dorset,1987.

According to Pforzheimer, Escape from Germany "describes the British escape intelligence organizations (one of which the author headed) in German POW camps." It is a "major work in the literature of evasion and escape." The full text of this official history was published by HMSO in 1985. Constantinides notes that the "focus is on escape from camps, with evasion getting only secondary treatment.... Though interesting, the book fails to tell the full story of the combined effort that went into the planning, preparation, and support for escape and evasion."

Darling, Donald.

1. Secret Sunday. London: William Kimber, 1975.

According to Constantinides, Darling headed MI9's Gibralter operations 1940-1944. He "is good at describing how an E&E operation was conducted and is quite informative on embassy-intelligence relations."

2. Sunday at Large. London: William Kimber, 1977.

Constantinides finds this to be a "pleasant collection of anecdotes from Darling's days on Gibralter." Darling's stories show "the big and little events in an intelligence officer's life."

Dear, Ian. Escape and Evasion, Prisoner of War Breakouts and the Routes to Safety in World War Two. London: Cassell, 1997. Escape and Evasion, Prisoner of War Breakouts in World War Two. London: Rigel, 2004. Escape and Evasion: POW Breakouts and Other Great Escapes in World War II. Stroud: History Press, 2010. [pb]

From publisher: "In a journey from the streets of Rome to the jungles of Malaya, Ian Dear explores the extensive planning behind and daring execution of eighteen great escapes made by Allied, German and Japanese troops during the Second World War."

Dovey, H.O. "The House Near Paris." Intelligence and National Security 11, no. 2 (Apr. 1996): 264-278.

The title refers to the name of the book Drue Tartière published in 1947. In the book, she describes her work as part of the "Burgundy" escape and evasion network in wartime France. The article relates stories from some of the beneficiaries of Tartière's efforts, as well as other E&E stories.

Foot, M.R.D., and James M. Langley. MI9: The British Secret Service that Fostered Escape and Evasion, 1939-1945, and Its American Counterpart. London: Bodley Head, 1979. Boston: Little, Brown, 1980.

Pforzheimer notes that the U.S. edition is slightly expanded from the 1979 original "to give some material on the American MIS-X, the counterpart of the British escape and evasion organization, MI 9." Constantinides calls MI9 "the best and most detailed picture of the organization and staff aspects of Allied E&E."

Hutton, Clayton. Official Secret: The Remarkable Story of Escape Aids -- Their Invention, Production and the Sequel. London: Parrish, 1960. New York: Crown, 1961.

Constantinides: The author was in charge of the production of escape aids for the British escape and evasion organization, MI9, during World War II. Official Secret "should be basic reading in escape and evasion training."

Langley, James Maydon. Fight Another Day. London: Collins, 1974.

Pforzheimer notes that Fight Another Day concerns the work of MI 9, Britain's escape-and-evasion organization, but finds that it "lacks sufficient detail for other than the casual reader." To Constantinides, this book is little more than a way station on the way to Foot and Langley's "more thorough" MI9. Langley headed a section of MI 9, but actually worked for MI 6 for most of the war.

Long, Helen. Safe Houses Are Dangerous. [UK]: Abson Books, 1989.

Surveillant 1.1: This is the "story of the evasion line; a web of safe houses spread out over occupied France, its heart in Marseille, which sheltered servicemen on the run."

Neave, Airey Middleton Sheffield.

Neave, who had first-hand experience at escaping from German prisons, for a time headed MI9's Room 900, the escape and evasion section for Western Europe.

1. Little Cyclone. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1954.

Royal Historical Society Database: "An account of the 'Comete' or 'Comet Line', an organization which arranged the escape of Allied airmen and others from occupied Europe, with special reference to the principal organizer, Andrée de Jongh."

2. The Escape Room. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1970. New York: Tower Publications, 1972. [pb]

Pforzheimer notes that this "is a slightly abridged edition of ... Saturday at M.I.9." See below.

3. Saturday at M.I.9: A History of Underground Escape Lines in North-West Europe in 1940-5 by a Leading Organiser at M.I.9. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1969. London: Grafton, 1989. [pb] Saturday at M.I.9: The Classic Account of the WW2 Allied Escape Organisation. Barnsley, UK: Pen & Sword/Leo Cooper, 2004.

According to Surveillant 1.1, this work is the "story of the men and women who set up and ran the escape routes of occupied north west Europe in WWII. No official history of MI9, or its top secret Room 900 at the War Office, has been written yet, but this personal account ... is the first to be written by someone on the inside." Constantinides comments that Neave had no access to classified material when he wrote this book. Foot and Langley's MI9 is more comprehensive.

4. They Have Their Exits. Boston: Little, Brown, 1953.

This is the story of Neave's escape from the German prison at Colditz Castle. Neave went on to become a pivotal figure in MI9, the British intelligence organization which handled escape and evasion operations.

Shuff, Derek. Evader: The Epic Story of the First British Airman to Be Rescued by the Com'ete Escape Line in World War II. Stroud, UK: Spellmount, 2003.

According to Kern, Air & Space Power Journal 23.4 (Winter 2009), this book takes Flight Sgt Jack Newman's story from his shootdown over Belgium in August 1941 to his return to England in January 1942. The reviewer finds that "[c]hanges in font size [can] prove somewhat distracting but not as much as the constant shifts in point of view -- sometimes more than five times in a three-page span." Nevertheless, the book is recommended for its demonstration of "how a person can survive a harrowing wartime situation through perseverance, training, luck, and the generosity of others."

Thrower, Derek. The Lonely Path to Freedom. London: Hale, 1980.

The author was a British airman shot down, captured, and imprisoned at Stalag Luft III.

 

2. United States: MIS-X

Caine, Philip D. Aircraft Down! Evading Capture in World War II Europe. Washington, DC: Brassey's, 1997.

According to Seamon, Proceedings 124.11 (Nov. 1998), the author records six successful escapes that are "as suspenseful as most wartime fiction."

Foot, M.R.D., and James M. Langley. MI9: The British Secret Service that Fostered Escape and Evasion, 1939-1945, and Its American Counterpart. London: Bodley Head, 1979. Boston: Little, Brown, 1980.

Pforzheimer notes that the U.S. edition is slightly expanded from the 1979 original "to give some material on the American MIS-X, the counterpart of the British escape and evasion organization, MI 9." Constantinides calls MI9 "the best and most detailed picture of the organization and staff aspects of Allied E&E."

Shoemaker, Lloyd R. The Escape Factory: The Story of MIS-X, the Super-Secret U.S. Agency behind World War II's Greatest Escapes. New York: St. Martin's, 1990.

Surveillant 1.1: This book is about the "organization responsible for supervising [escape] attempts by American POWs in Nazi prison camps."

 

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