Scottish vicar was the inspiration behind The Great Escape, according to historian and author
It is often heralded as a great English military victory but the inspiration behind ‘The Great Escape’ was actually a Scottish minister, according to historian Dr Linda Parker.
Dr Parker, a client of book PR agency Palamedes, says that Reverend Murdo Ewen Macdonald was, in fact, the driving force behind the men in their famous bid for freedom from the POW camp.
Rev Macdonald has been given credit for a minor role in hiding tunnel sand in the famous 1944 break-out – but Dr Parker claims his role was possibly far more significant.
The Rev Macdonald, known as “Padre Mac”, was a chaplain for the men of Stalag Luft III including RAF Squadron Leader Roger Bushell – always known as the ‘mastermind’ of Great Escape.
The vicar, a boxer and parachutist, had also previously made his own escape – going on the run for three days while in transit to a POW camp.
Dr Parker, a specialist on Army chaplaincy in both world wars and the author of ‘Nearer My God to Thee: Airborne Chaplains in the Second World War’, says his daily ”fiery sermons” and his experiences meant he would have been integral to motivating ‘The Great Escape’.
She said: “As a chaplain, he would have had access to all the troops and would have been able to speak with them, in confidence, to motivate them with the story of his own escape attempt.”
Our news story about Dr Parker’s claims has generated significant national exposure. There has been coverage in the Daily Star, Daily Express, Daily Mirror, and The Times, as well as Scottish coverage with the Daily Record, The Scotsman and the Herald Scotland.