Jens Müller


Jens Müller

Jens Einar Müller was a Norwegian pilot trained in Little Norway in Canada and POW in the German POW camp called Stalag Luft III.In 1942 he was an officer in the Norwegian 331 Squadron at North Weald in England.

On June 19, 1942, after completing a so called "Roadsted" mission, his Spitfire Mark V (tail number AR298) was shot down by a German Focke-Wulf Fw 190 just off the Belgian coast after running out of ammunition. He escaped the plane by parachute and in his inflatable dinghy managed to paddle unseen to shore after 66 hours. However, he was caught by a German sentry almost immediately.

In what later became known as the "Great Escape", he was among the 76 prisoners of war that managed to escape from the camp.

Accompanied by Per Bergsland, he caught a train to Stettin in Germany (now called Szczecin and in Poland), where they intended to meet one of Roger Bushell's contacts in a local brothel. While there, however, they got in contact with a Swede who offered to aid their escape, telling them to wait down at the pier. After some time they realized the ship had left. They spent half the night in a boxcar, slept the next at an inn, and the next evening on returning to the harbour met two Swedish sailors who helped smuggle them past harbour authorities.

The ship arrived in Gothenburg, where the two Norwegian pilots quickly sought out the British consulate. They were sent by train to Stockholm and were flown to Scotland from Bromma airport. From there they were sent by train to London and shortly afterwards to Little Norway in Canada.

Out of the 76 POWs who escaped, only three made it to neutral countries and freedom. The third successful escapee was the Dutchman Bram van der Stok, who escaped to Spain with the help of the Dutch resistance.

The remaining 73 escapees were recaptured. Hitler wanted to have them all shot, but Himmler (or possibly Göring) persuaded him not to do this. Instead, fifty of the escapees were shot dead to make an example. This was a serious breach of the Geneva Convention which constituted a war crime. The remaining 23 recaptured prisoners were held in the custody of the Gestapo before being sent off to other camps. Of these, 17 were returned to "Stalag Luft III", four were sent to Sachsenhausen, and two to Colditz Castle.

Jens Müller wrote a book in Norwegian about his experiences titled "Tre kom tilbake" ("Three returned") (Gyldendal, 1946).

See also

* "The Great Escape"

External links

* [http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/greatescape/three.html NOVA about The Three That Got Away.]
* [http://www.ukcoldwar.org.uk/raf-north-weald.htm UK Cold war about North Weald airbase]
* [http://www.raf.mod.uk/history/h331.html RAF 331 squadron history]


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