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Alexander (Alex) Lees


1911 - 2009

War veteran, who as a prisoner in Germany took part in the events which inspired the film The Great Escape. Born in Manchester, his family returned to Scotland when he was eleven and Lees was educated at Camphill High School in Paisley. He went on to work in the insurance industry in Glasgow.

Lees joined the Royal Army Service Corps in 1940 and was captured in Greece the following year. Sent to the prisoner-of-war camp Stalag Luft III in Silesia, he was given responsibility for the camp garden and was able to dispose of soil taken from tunnelling activities. It was through one of these tunnels - code-named "Harry" - that the legendary Great Escape took place on the 24th March, 1944. This was featured in the 1963 film with a cast including Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough and Gordon Jackson.

After the war he returned to the insurance industry, retiring in 1969. He spent his final years in the Erskine Hospital becoming one of the last survivors of Stalag Luft III.


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