UCL News


UCL in the News: A greater escape

9 September 2007

In the film of The Great Escape, the prisoners of war dug just three tunnels with their makeshift tools - but archaeologists at the camp have now discovered that the inmates dug a total of more than 100.

The extraordinary scale of the earthworks are testimony to the audacity of the prisoners, who faced possible execution by firing squad if they were discovered. …

Archaeologists from Keele University and UCL used ground-penetrating radar and equipment to measure magnetic patterns in the soil to find the location of hut 122, containing the entrance shaft. …

Peter Doyle [UCL Earth Sciences] said: "The finds we have made are hugely important because they tell us how young, bright officers with nothing to do turned their minds and hands to tunnelling.

"One-third of the inmates were actively tunnelling and another third were helping. It was a huge operation."

Roger Dobson, 'The Sunday Times'