Copyright 2015 by Katie Kirtley, All Rights Reserved.
Attorney and Spitfire pilot, 1LT Alvin W. Vogtle, was THE American Great Escaper. Captured in North Africa in January 1943, he spent 21 days at Dulag Luft and 2 months at Oflag XXI-B before entering Stalag Luft III in April 1943. He lived in the North Compound until September ’43 when the Americans were moved to the South Compound. He was a Code User and head of the procurement committee (scrounging escape materials) for the X Committee and an avid escaper himself.
Squadron Leader Roger Bushell helped Vogtle plan one of his escapes from Stalag Luft III (July 2, 1943) in which he left camp buried in a trash truck and made it to Czechoslovakia in search of the underground network. He was at large for 10 days and then recaptured. He spent 23 days in a Czech prison before being returned to Stalag Luft III. He ultimately made it to Switzerland (after a number of escape attempts/recaptures) after escaping from Stalag VII-A with Harold “Shorty” Spire in February 1945.
For his heroism, 1LT Alvin Vogtle was awarded the Purple Heart and the Silver Star.
After the war, Alvin Vogtle practiced law and became CEO of Southern Company from 1970-1983 in Atlanta,Georgia. His bio is here:
Squadron Leader Roger J. Bushell personally selected Paul Royle for the Great Escape in March, 1944.
Here is the link to the November 2015 Article on the murder site, from the base historian, Dr. Silvano Wueschner.
Submitted on 2014/08/08 at 8:57 pm
I just found this blog yesterday, when I did one of my occasional searches on Roger Bushell. I am thrilled to read it, and very happy to find that there are now two books about RB!
I’m an American, a homemaker and sometime teacher who has been interested in Roger Bushell and the Great Escape since 1972. That year, my parents and I made a visit to London and parts of southern England, which were the most exotic and far away places I had ever been. I happened to bring with me a paperback book titled “The Great Escape” to be my reading material on the plane and in the hotel. As I read I became utterly fascinated, and the fact that I was actually in Britain while reading it greatly enhanced the experience!
To me at that time, the story of the Great Escape had everything. Inventiveness on a mass scale – all the clothing, compasses, papers etc. that the men hand-produced under nearly impossible circumstances; engaging characters, portrayed as unique individuals yet all united in their common goal; the wry wit of author Brickhill; danger and disappointment , and most of all, Roger. He seemed the epitome of dash and charisma, and I also felt on some level that he must have been every inch a British gentleman, examples of whom I certainly noticed on the visit to England!
Occasionally over the years I daydreamed about visiting important sites related to the escape and the life of Roger Bushell. I was actually not far from Kaiserslautern in ’96 but wouldn’t have known where to look and husband would not have been interested in trying. I’m really happy to find that someone else has actually tracked down and visited those places, and has not only written about his successful quests but posted photos as well! Amazing! Thanks so much, J.D. Carr. Nice to know that RB has gotten under the skin of others, I too always thought he should have been more appreciated.
And thanks very much for your service!