Escape From Germany

Title:                      Escape From Germany

Author:                Aidan Crawley

Crawley, Aidan (1956). Escape From Germany: A History of RAF Escapes During The War. New York: Simon and Schuster

LCCN:    56009912

D805.G3 C74 1956


Date Updated:  June 16, 2016

Reviewed by George C. Constantinides[1]

Crawley was asked by the British Air Ministry to write a history of RAF escapes from German POW camps in World War II. This is an abbreviated version of that history. Its focus is on escape from camps, with evasion getting only secondary treatment. Crawley, a POW himself, admits this is in no way a complete record. Part 4, which recounts the saga of the freedom and evacuation of POWs, is not really connected with the subject of the book but is more a part of the general history of RAF POWs.

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, which can be learned from other works. Among them is Hutton’s Official Secret[2], published five years after this book, which revealed the existence of escape aids and told how they were produced and made available to POWs. More recently, there has been the excellent MI 9 by Foot and Langley. These works impart a fuller picture of the outside aid that went into escape efforts, though some secrets were still withheld as late as 1979. Intelligence officers will applaud Crawley’s rule that “the basis of escape is intelligence.” They may not agree that escape is a military operation.

This is a review by the Defense Intelligence School.[3]

This is a sanitized version of an official history prepared by Crawley for the British Air Ministry. The book describes the British escape intelligence organizations (one of which the author headed) in German POW camps and the R.A.F. prisoners’ continual efforts, successful and unsuccessful, to escape from these camps within Germany itself during World War II. A major work in the literature of evasion and escape.

Reviewed by Paul W. Blackstock and Frank L. Schaf[4]

A version of the official history of evasion and escape during World War II, written for use by the Air Ministry and edited for security purposes. Fully describes how captured airmen organized and planned for escape from Luftstalags in Germany in accordance with their training and code of conduct. The author was himself a prisoner and headed an escape committee.

[1] Constantinides, George C. (1983). Intelligence and Espionage: An Analytical Bibliography. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, p. 140

[2] Hutton, Clayton (1961). Official Secret: The Remarkable Story of Escape Aids—Their Invention, Production And The Sequel. New York: Crown [London: M. Parrish, 1960]

[3] Defense Intelligence School (1981). Bibliography of Intelligence Literature (7th ed Rev.). Washington, DD: Defense Intelligence School, p. 18

[4] Blackstock, Paul W. (1978) and Frank L. Schaf, Jr. Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage, And Covert Operations: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research Co., pp. 131-132


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One Response to Escape From Germany

  1. Pingback: Escape and Evasion, Chapter 12 | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

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