• Stalagluft III, Sagan, was located between Berlin and Breslau.
  • Initially, the East Compound housed RAF Officers and the Center Compound housed RAF Senior NCOs.
  • Controlled by the SBO (Senior British Officer) the camp was organised into five main sections. These consisted of Intelligence; a 200 strong Security section; Escape; Entertainment; and Food & Clothing.
  • In late 1942, 400 RAF Officers were purged to Szubin in Poland and all other RAF Senior NCOs were moved to other camps.
  • In early 1943 a new North Compound was built, comprising of 15 wooden barack blocks with kitchen and canteen, housing 1500 men. Later a small theatre was built. About 800 of us were relocated from the East Compound and Szubin.
  • In 1943 we also heard that "The Wooden Horse" escape had been successful with three officers getting home via Sweden.

    (If the Great Escape, made from the camp’s north wing, is the most celebrated of the escapes, another, in the east wing, is almost as well known.
    This was the Wooden Horse escape, in October 1943 – also made into a film in which one Donald MacDonell features briefly. By this stage, he had become camp adjutant, liaising between the Germans and the prisoners, and so was ineligible to escape himself. (“Actually, he was claustrophobic anyway,” remembers his wife, Lois, “so he wouldn’t have been any good in a tunnel!”)
    But he took a major part, on the escape committee, in putting the elaborate plan together. For this scheme, the prisoners concocted a passion for gymnastics, and convinced the Germans to permit them to construct a vaulting horse out of old Red Cross crates.
    Taken into the exercise yard each day, and dutifully vaulted over by the PoWs, the horse concealed one of a team of three diggers, who day by day over the course of a year eked out a passage under the fence.
    The sand from the digging was transferred to the trousers of helpers, who dribbled it out over the prison yard. The Germans knew from the soil being deposited that something was up, but were unable to find out what.
    When the bid for freedom came, all three of the diggers escaped and, remarkably, made it back to Britain.)

  • German Security was divided into two main groups.
    Outside the Compound and Barbed Wire - armed guards patrolling between machine gun Posten Boxes.
    Inside the Compound and "safety" barrier Armed searchers (known as "ferrets" with spikes. Daily and random parade counts and searches. At night, searchlights and dogs.