- Roger Bushell
Squadron LeaderRoger Joyce Bushell RAF ( August 30, 1910- March 29, 1944) was a South African born Auxiliary Air Forcepilot in Britain who organized and led the famous escape from the Nazi prisoner of war camp, Stalag Luft III. The escape was later used as the basis for the film "The Great Escape". The character played by Richard Attenborough, Roger Bartlett, is modeled after Roger Bushell.
Birth and early life
Bushell was born in Springs,
Transvaal, South Africaon 30 August 1910to Benjamin Daniel and Dorothy Wingate White. Bushell was educated at home, Park Town School, and then Wellington Collegein England. In 1929, Bushell matriculated to Pembroke College, Cambridgeto read law.
Bushell was keen to pursue non-academic interests from an early age. Roger Bushell excelled in athletics and represented Cambridge in
One of Bushell's passions and talents was skiing: in the early 1930s he was declared the fastest Briton in the Male Downhill category. He even had a
black runnamed after him in Switzerland. This naming was in recognition of the fact that he had set the fastest time to complete the run.
At an event in
CanadaBushell had an accident in which one of his skis narrowly missed his left eye, leaving him with a gash in the corner of it. Although Bushell recovered from this accident he still had a dark drooping in his left eye due to scarring from his stitches.
RAF Auxiliary and Legal Career
Despite his sporting prospects, one of Bushell's primary wishes was to fly, and in 1932 he joined the 601
Auxiliary Air Force, which was often referred to as "The Millionaires' Mob" because of the number of wealthy young men who paid their way solely to learn how to fly during training days (often at weekends).
Although Bushell was pursuing a career with the RAF he wasn't hampered in his attempts to become a
barrister. From the outset of his legal career many commented on his ability as a lawyer, particularly in criminal defense. After a while, Bushell was appointed to militarycases in prosecuting RAF personnel charged with various offenses. These often involved pilots charged with dangerous flying.
Regular Military Career
Roger was the Commanding Officer of 92 Squadron when he was shot down on
23 May, 1940. He became a POWwho eventually ended up at Stalag Luft IIIin (then) Sagan, Germany. He became known as "Big X" of the camp escape committee and was the mastermind behind the mass escape that occurred on the evening of 24 March, 1944. Roger and his partner Bernard Scheidhauer escaped along with 74 other men. He was captured the next day and murdered three days later by Emil Schulz of the Gestapo, helped by others. This was a breach of the Geneva Conventionwhich constituted a war crime. The perpetrators were later tried and executed by the Allies. This wartime atrocity was termed the "Keitel Order", the name given to the shooting of the 50 POWs. Hitler, angered by the escape, had originally demanded that all 76 be killed.
Roger Bushell is buried at the Poznan Old Garrison Cemetery (Coll. grave 9. A.) in
List of German WWII POW camps
Bram van der Stok
"The Great Escape" by Paul Brickhill ISBN 0-304-35687-5
"Stalag Luft III: The Secret Story" by Arthur Durand, Ph.D.
"A Gallant Company" by Jonathan Vance, Ph.D.
"War Pilot of Orange" by
Bram van der Stok
* [http://www.pegasus-one.org/pow/roger_bushell.htm Biography from Pegasus-one.org]
* [http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/greatescape/three.html PBS.org] Story of the Great Escape
* [http://www.rogerbushell.com Roger Bushell website]
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Look at other dictionaries:
Roger Bushell — Roger Bushell, (né le 30 août 1910 – fusillé le 29 mars 1944) était le commandant du Comité X , à l origine de l organisation de l évasion du Stalag Luft III de la nuit du 24 mars 1944. Né en Afrique du Sud, il appartenait au corps des aviateurs… … Wikipédia en Français
Bushell — is a surname of English origin. The name refers to: *Anthony Bushell (1904–1997), English film actor *Browne Bushell (1609–1651), English naval officer executed for treason *Christopher Bushell (1888–1918), English recipient of the Victoria Cross … Wikipedia
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