On Tuesday 6 September 2005, at RAF Henlow, 18 members of the Association

and their partners etc, joined in the commemoration of the start of the

investigation into the "Great Escape" murders, in September 1945.


The AO RAF Police, the RAF PM and some 30 Officers, WOs, SNCOs, JNCOs and

some wives were there with the Army and RN PMs.


After coffee and a good look at the papers on the SIB case against the SS

and Gestapo, we heard a summary of the case. Then Air Cdre Peter Drissell

presented the Bowes family with a replacement OBE for the Wing Commanders'

stolen one.


Also present were two of the RAF Aircrew Officers who were prisoners and who

took part in the Great Escape. Both in their mid to late 80's; both about

five feet tall and both unbelievably modest about their exploits. One was

caught in the tunnel by the Germans. The other got away but was caught

later, however he was one of the fortunate ones who was not shot. We had

some photos taken and when I see them I will ensure one gets to the Griff



It was a great privilege to meet these two brave men. It was also good to

see Bill (Brian) Bowes after 35 years. (1968 Bahrain). Sadly his older

brother Bill (John) Bowes is extremely ill, but we passed on to him, the

kind regards of all those who knew him rather than the younger brother. We

also met sister Joan and the Wg Cdr's granddaughter, Sgt Kate Russell, now

in the SIB at Halton. As the Wg Cdr joined the RAF in 1919 and Kate is

still serving, it will be continuous service in the Bowes family, of 87



Herewith the photograph of the Association members who attended the 60th

Anniversary Commeration of the Great Escape SIB investigation at RAF Henlow

recently. We are with the Air Cdre, the PM, the Air Cdre i/c POW Assc, and

the two little fellows are two of the tunnellers. More photographs to




John Walton

Vice Chairman