Escape Lines Memorial Society – News Updates

Escape Lines Memorial Society – What’s New

  1. General Round-up
  2. ELMS Commemorative Journal
  3. A Fund Raising Challenge on behalf of ELMS
  4. Remember the film The Great Escape
  5. New Book
  6. Fundraising and Donations
  7. Escapers, Evaders and Helpers Personal Stories

Sad News
We are very sad to announce that David Sharpe, our President, died on Sunday 13 November.  David had been attending a Remembrance Day service at RAF St Mawgan where he was a regular visitor.  If you would like to read David’s obituary then please click on the ‘Learn More’ button on his photo at the top of the page..  The funeral service for David Sharpe will take place at 14.00 on Friday 16th December at Charing Crematorium, Ashford, Kent.

London Lunch  Saturday 10th December 2016 Update!

John Clinch is organising a lunch for both ELMS members and the wider Escape and Evasion Community.  It will take place on Saturday 10th December in the RAF Club in Piccadilly at 1.00pm.  The cost of the lunch will be £44 per head and there will be a cash bar to allow individuals to purchase whatever drinks they wish. As a result of increased demand John has been able to move to a larger room at the RAF Club, so there are still places available.  So if you would like to come then you will need to let John Clinch know as soon as possible  .   Places for the lunch will not be confirmed until you have paid so to confirm your place please make a cheque made payable to J A Clinch and then email John at clinch.John for his home address.  (Just click on the link and an email box will open for you.)  Alternatively if you wish to pay by bank transfer then email John at the same address and he will provide you with the necessary bank details.  It is planned to lay a wreath at the Bomber Command Memorial at 12.00.  Please ensure you have confirmed and paid by the 24th October as John will be going to Australia for a month.  Places can be cancelled up until the 2nd December with a refund of the money paid.  After the 2nd December there will be no refunds as we will have to pay the Club for the places booked.  Look forward to seeing you there!

Contacting ELMS

We welcome contact from anyone interested in the Society and its ‘raison d’etre’.  However, we have recently been receiving a number of ‘spam’ emails, sent via our contact form.  To avoid this we have added a small validation box to our form, which requires the sender to input a short series of letters/numbers in a box.  We hope that this will not prove difficult for users.


We will shortly be updating our diary of events for 2017.  If any of the events listed on our calendar are of interest to you then please  do get in touch for more information.  At present only the ELMS reunion weekend, 27- 30 April 2017 and the Tenna Valley Trail, 18 – 21 May are confirmed.

2016 Bidasoa/Basque Freedom Trail Report
We have now uploaded a report about this year’s Bidasoa/Basque Freedom Trail event, which can be accessed either via the photo in the scrolling banner at the top of the page or via this link.  We will publish dates etc for next year’s event as soon as they become available.

Escape Lines Material for Schools.

We have a section specifically for schools (under Young ELMS) and will be continuing to develop that section this year and we have produced a school’s pack (created by teachers) which is free of charge.  Just contact us for your copy.


We are always looking for accounts of escapers/evaders and helpers. If a member of your family has a story to relate then do let us know, and we will publish it here.  It does help if you have a photo, at least of the individual concerned so if you think you have an item that may be of interest then please do contact us using the contact form available on the main menu.

ELMS  Forum

We have received recently several enquiries from individuals seeking information about either WW2 contacts that involved their relatives, or decorations and awards that their relatives might have received.  Although we do hold a significant quantity of archive material there are often occasions when we can provide little in the way of help.  We do have a Forum, where visitors can post queries which can broadcast their question to a much wider audience.  To post on the forum you do need to register, but this is free and does not require any further commitment.  The forum is available through the link on the main menu bar at the top of this page.  We look forward to having you join us.

Escape Lines Photograph Album

The is a considerable collection of photos covering many of the events and occasions attended by ELMS members.  Please click on this ELMS link

A Commemorative Journal


Did you attend any of the Escape Line Reunions at Eden Camp and/or the Talbot Hotel in Malton, in the early days of the Society, but in particular between 1989 and 1995, or do you know someone who did?  The Director is putting together a pictorial record to celebrate the twenty fifth anniversary of our reunion at the Eden Camp Museum, 1990 -2015. The volume will be A4 size, printed on high quality paper and filled largely with photos.

We would be grateful for ANY photos which record events covering that 25 year period, but in particular we are looking for photos of reunions during the early years.  The majority of our members in those early years were Army Escapers, together with some from SOE and also MGB crews of the 15th Flotilla (Shelburn Line) and helpers. A number of RAFES airmen also attended.

If you are willing to lend us the photo’s for copying they will be returned to you as soon as possible. Alternatively if you have electronic copies please email these to  or to

Please include a note explaining who is in the photo, and also include your own name and address so that original photos can be returned to you. We are happy to receive photos in black and white or colour and in any condition.  Although we will use as many pictures as possible we cannot guarantee that they will all be used but we will try our best.

Thank you for your help in this matter.

A Fundraising Challenge on Behalf of ELMS

Staff at S.E.R.E  raised more than £700 and the ELMS share is more than £400, so well done to all those who took part and to those who contributed to the fundraising.  I hope to have some photos to show shortly!

Do You Remember the film The Great Escape

I am sure most of us remember the film, but I am also sure that most of us didn’t realise that the character played by Steve McQueen, Virgil Hilts the ‘Cooler King’ was in fact based on a real airman.  Click on the photo to read the story behind the story!

The Great Escape


And for a short article on one of the last two survivors of that event, Flt Lt Paul Royle who was recaptured about 20 kms from Stalag Luft 111.  He died recently aged 101 and there is a short article on the RAF website. Click on this photo (Royle is back row, right)

The Great Escape 2


(With Thanks to the RAF)

New Books

Our latest selection of books includes a story of a mass escape in Slovenia, an extraordinary tale of one man’s war, a history of the many brave women who were trained by SOE, SIS and the American OSS and who fought in Europe and an amazing compendium of those who fought and died while serving in the SAS from 1941 until 1947.  The book reviews are now collated by year, so if you are interested go to the Research link at the top of the page, and then click on the relevant year.


We are grateful to The Alarm Monitoring Company Ltd for their recent generous donation

As a registered charity we are entirely dependant on the generosity of our members and others whose contributions enable us to fulfill our objectives.  As the number of veterans we support slowly dwindles we are re-focusing our work on educating present and future generations about our particular part of this nation’s military history.  We produce school packs which comply with the requirements of school curriculae, and we support students from countries where civilians provided help and assistance to escapers/evaders by bringing them to the UK to attend events.  We also promote our trails, events where we can retrace the footsteps taken by our fathers and grandfathers, during which local historians deliver informal talks or more formal lectures about events in their particular area.   To enable us to continue to do this we would be grateful for any support you might wish to give us.  We have set up a donation link with BT MyDonate, which operates on a not for profit basis.  If you would like to donate to our charity please go to Donate to ELMS, or if you would like to fund raise for us by participating in or staging an event then please contact us via our website.

Escapers, Evaders and Helpers Personal Stories

Stories of individuals that appear as part of our photo slider at the top of the page are usually removed after a while to make space for new material.  If you are interested in any of the stories of these individuals  then please go the the Escapers and Evaders menu item where you will find stories previously published.

Upcoming Events

  1. ELMS Reunion Week

    April 27, 2017 - April 30, 2017
  2. Italian Freedom Trail, Sulmona 2017

    April 28, 2017 @ 8:00 pm - April 30, 2017 @ 6:00 pm
  3. Tenna Valley Freedom Trail, Italy

    May 17, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - May 22, 2017 @ 10:00 am
  4. Chemin de la Liberte 2017

    July 6, 2017 @ 8:00 am - July 9, 2017 @ 5:00 pm
  5. ELMS Family Day, NMA Saturday 5th August 2017

    August 5, 2017 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm