No food. No water. Out of ammo. Hunted and on the run. The dreaded certainty of discovery looming between recapture and safe haven. What would you do? Give up? For the seven heroes of Churchill’s Great Escapes the answer was simple: keep moving against all odds. These are the extraordinary stories of the bravery and endurance of the men of SAS, legendary pioneers of escape and evasion who, through the darkest of daysand nights of World War II, endeavored and succeeded in slipping through the clutches of the enemy.
In 2016, war correspondent and author Damien Lewis was approached by an influential m ember of Britain’s Special Air Service regiment, who asked if he would be willing to tell the story of how the SAS had hunted down Hitler’s war criminals in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War.
In researching that story — which became the basis for Lewis’s acclaimed book, Churchill’s Band of Brothers, he learned of a Canadian airman who was shot down over the border between occupied France and German. Flight Officer Ronald Lewis “Lew” Fiddick managed to evade the enemy and with the help of the French resistance, linked up with SAS forces in the Vosges Mountain range of northeastern France. He dramatically slipped the enemy’s clutches after his aircraft was shot down, and his subsequent escape and evasion took him from war-torn Vosges all the way back to friendly lines.
Dedicated to all those who escaped the clutches of the enemy so as to continue the fight against Nazi tyranny, Churchill’s Great Escapes: Seven Incredible Escapes Made by WWII Heroes (Kensington Books; May 2022) are seven stories that represent the spirit, daring, and heroic tales of SAS soldiers. These stories of pioneering escape and evasion techniques span from the earliest years of the Second World War until its final stages. Award-winning author and war reporter Damien Lewis worked with the sons, daughters, and families of these seven heroic men, hearing their stories and having access to family and military documents, diaries, private papers, photographs, and memorabilia.
[Recorded on September 15, 2022 .]