I know that a number of history and military buffs access No Minister. This is for you.
Many of you will have seen the film or read the book 'The One That Got Away' detailing the exploits of Franz 'Baron' von Werra including his attempt to commandeer an Hawker Hurricane fighter from RAF Hucknall and fly it back to France and his eventual escape from a prison train in Canada and his return to German via South America. Von Werra never made it past getting into the cockpit.
Twelve months later two German airmen actually managed to make away with a trainer aircraft and only failed to complete their escape when it was discovered the aircraft was low on fuel forcing them to turn back from over the
Leutnant Heinz Schnabel was a fighter pilot while his partner Oberleutnant Harry Wappler flew bombers. In November 1941 they escaped from their prison camp wearing pilot uniforms and in possession of forged papers identifying them as Pilot Officer George David and Flight Lieutenant Harry Graven. They made their way to
At the end of the show they mingled with the airmen and, using their false papers, bluffed their way into the Base where they spent the night hiding in a hanger.
Next morning they bullied a RAF 'erk' apprentice to start up a Miles Magister training aircraft for them pictured below ... open cockpit, max speed 228 kph.
They took off with the intention of flying to the
but were prevented
from that by bad weather. They then attempted to fly over the Irish Republic North Sea to but turned back when
they discovered the aircraft was low on fuel. They landed the aircraft
in a field where they tried to persuade the local police to get them fuel ...
that's where their luck ran out, By now the whole country was on alert
for the hijacked aircraft. Germany
Both pilots were sentenced to 29 days solitary confinement for their escape. They were later transferred to
The mind boggles that they got so far especially after von Werra's attempt. Seems that no lessons were learned from that. This story intrigues me much more than von Werra's escapades.