These are the stories of the ones who got away, of intrepid airmen who eluded the prison camps of an enemy who controlled a continent. These are war stories, not of great armies or even of platoon-sized units. These are stories of men on their own, or of small bands of brothers numbering just two or three – all of them facing the challenges of occupied lands where danger lurked at every turn.
Bill Yenne details how a spider web of escape routes sprang up, created by local resistance groups across the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. Downed airmen were clothed, given false papers, and hidden so they could be smuggled back to England. The first impromptu efforts were later supplemented by Allied intelligence agents. But the risks remained the same. Capture could mean death for both the airman and the civilians who had dared to help him.
Those who were lucky enough to make it back to friendly lines were eventually debriefed and an official Escape and Evasion Report compiled. Decades later, these tales of bravery have been resurrected from the archives, their words still ablaze with adrenalin. Bill Yenne’s The Ones Who Got Away preserves the indomitable spirit of these airmen and the unwavering bonds of those who helped them escape.