For details on how to contact our editorial and commercial departments, click here
'The Great Escaper' tells all for charity
A NORTH-East war hero dubbed The Great Escaper for his repeated attempts to flee Nazi prison camps has shared his memories to raise money for charity.
Having been captured in December 1943, Jimmy Mulhall ran the Germans ragged, refusing to let solitary confinement, considerable pain or severe warnings deter him from persistently trying to regain his freedom.
After five failed escape attempts, he finally succeeded in February 1945, escaping through a window and hiding out near an SS base in Austria before reaching American forces and being repatriated to Durham City.
Now aged 94, Mr Mulhall has written of his wartime adventures to benefit the British Red Cross.
His story is one of 14 in War Memories, the fourth book from the Elderly Widowers writers’ club.
Mr Mulhall’s first escape attempt came in January 1944, under the cover of an RAF train bombing. He fled barefoot, having had his boots seized for insulting a Nazi officer. He was recaptured the next day, hiding in an outhouse.
That August, he escaped from lumberjacking in the Bavarian Alps and travelled through Austria posing as a French worker, before being captured a week later.
In October, he slipped through a hole in a wire fence and boarded a train, but was re-arrested.
It was February 1945 when he really got going, escaping from Stalag XVIIC twice. The first time, he was caught by a sentry.
The second time, he escaped under a wooden cinema floor and hid in a silt trench during a football match, only to be discovered by officers looking for their lost ball.
Mr Mulhall is the oldest survivor of the book’s 14 authors, Dr Wilf Chapman having passed away last year after penning his chapter.
The 13 survivors are aged 76 to 94 and all from County Durham.
They include Sir Arnold Wolfendale, the former Astronomer Royal, who was a child evacuee to a farm near Macclesfield.
War Memories: Elderly Widowers Look Back is edited by John I Clarke, one of the authors, and published by The Coronation Press, Coxhoe. It is available now, priced £5.50, with proceeds going to the British Red Cross.
It was launched today (Friday, August 30) at the Durham Light Infantry Museum, in Durham City.
Comments are closed on this article.