Beverley Man in ‘The Great Escape’

In the 1960s, few of the workers on the shop floor at Armstrong Patents Co on Eastgate could have had any idea that among them was a hero of one of the most famous events of World War II. Raymond Keen, formerly F/Lt Raymond Keen of the RAF’s 78 Bomber Squadron, had played a part in The Great Escape from Stalag Luft III, the notorious German POW camp. Immortalized in the film of the same name, starring Steve McQueen and Richard Attenborough, F/Lt Keen had actually recorded the entire event in his YMCA Log Book on the very night that it took place. It is believed to be the first ever written account.

Following numerous bombing raids over Nazi Germany, F/Lt Keen’s luck finally ran out on 26th March, 1943, when his aircraft, a Halifax II (W7931), was shot down on a nighttime mission over Duisburg. Although managing to parachute to safety, he was capured and sent to the recently opened North Compound of Stalag Luft III. There he soon became actively involved in what came to be known as the The Great Escape.

great escape beverley man
beverley man great escape