Herbert Martin Massey was by any measure, a remarkable man. He was wounded three times in three separate conflicts, the first of which, in the First World War, almost killed him. Brought down in flames by one of Germany’s great aces, Werner Voss, he somehow recovered from his horrific, life-threatening injuries to continue his flying career in the Royal Air Force, only to be nearly killed once more in the Palestine Emergency of 1936, when his life was saved by the thin metal of his cigarette case. Then, at the age of 44 and having risen through the ranks to Group Captain, he was shot down over Holland on the second of the Thousand Bomber Raids in June 1942. Massey was taken prisoner by the Germans and sent to Stalag Luft III at Sagan. Respected and admired by his comrades and captors alike, fate handed to him the decision to authorise the Great Escape, the famous breakout from Sagan in March 1944. Too badly wounded to join the escape himself, Martin Massey was the man to whom the Germans first broke the news of the execution of fifty of those who had been recaptured. Repatriated to Britain because of his wounds shortly afterwards, it was Massey who brought home the details of the murders which began the process of bringing the perpetrators to justice post-war. Decorated for his gallantry and leadership six times, men like Martin Massey come along only rarely. This book, using previously unseen documents and photographs, tells his story.
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