Jump to content

Sad loss - obit for "the cooler king"


sburke
 Share

Recommended Posts

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/11068888/Wing-Commander-Ken-Rees-obituary.html

Wing Commander Ken Rees, who has died aged 93, was the last surviving member of the digging team that constructed the tunnel used during the “Great Escape” from Stalag Luft III in March 1944.

Rees was the pilot of a Wellington bomber shot down in flames over Norway during a mine-laying operation in October 1942. He managed to crash-land into a lake and scramble ashore where he and two of his colleagues were soon captured — the other two members of his crew lost their lives. After interrogation, Rees soon found himself at Stalag Luft III at Sagan in Silesia, a camp specially built for captured airmen.

A gregarious, high-spirited, and at times irreverent young man (he was 21 years old at the time of his capture), Rees was a restless and troublesome prisoner, always baiting his captors and he regularly found himself in the “cooler” — the punishment block. When Hollywood filmed the escape from Stalag Luft III many drew parallels between Rees and the character of Hilts, the “Cooler King” played by Steve McQueen. “It’s always said that he was based on me,” said Rees late in life, “apart from him being a 6ft tall American and me a Welshman of about 4ft 3in who can’t ride a motorbike.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Unfortunately, your content contains terms that we do not allow. Please edit your content to remove the highlighted words below.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...