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. The Comete Trail 2015 – A Video

Honours and Awards

R StantonWe are absolutely delighted to see the award of an MBE to our Director, Roger Stanton, recognising all the hard work he has done for the Society and the wider escape lines network.  We congratulate Roger and his family and hope that they will enjoy this day, and the day to come at the Palace!  Congratulations from us all.



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.


If any of the events listed on our calendar are of interest to you then please  do get in touch for more information.  We have updated (where possible) information about the various trail events taking place this year.  If you are interested in taking part in any of those listed please contact us for more details/registration information.

We have recently received the latest registration proforma for the  Bidasoa (Basque Country) Freedom Trails Association Commemorative Trail from Urruna to Donastia/San Sebastian 19-20 August 2016.  This is the first year for this event and if you are interested then please check the event on the calendar where you can find the necessary information.  The registration form gives all the information required, including costs, and is in PDF format.

Chemin de La Liberte 2016 – An Evening Talk at The Army and Navy Club in London.  We have just heard that there will be a talk on the Chemin at the Club on the evening of Tuesday 12th July, starting at 1830.  Any ELMS member can attend if they wish, and the cost for a ticket is £30. This includes pre event drinks, the talk and the reception afterwards.  The talk will be given by Col Charles Wilson and his daughter Morag.  If you are interested in attending please contact either Tamzin or Emily in the events department on 0207 8278079.  There may be other similar talks in the future.

The Comete Trail 2016.  Full details of this years event, and the necessary application form are available via the link on our events calendar.  Please note the organisers exhortation to book your hotel as soon as possible as September is still a busy holiday period in the region.  Also note the instructions about where the only coach collection points are!

Crows Flight Event 2016  Details of this year’s Crows Flight Trail event in Slovenia can be found by following the appropriate link under the events section where you will find full details of the event and the necessary application form.  The event is considered a tough walk, so participants MUST be fit!

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

Comete Trail – 2015

Geoff Cooper has produced a video of the first day of last year’s Comete Trail event.  It lasts about 10 minutes and can be found by following this link . The video has a musical soundtrack but no spoken commentary.

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
Following their recent attendance at the Society’s  Annual reunion, staff at S.E.R.E have decided to mount a challenge event to raise funds for us!  This is a very welcome announcement and we hope that it will be well supported.

The challenge will be a 24 event during which staff at S.E.R.E  will attempt to run, cycle and row a distance of  1421 miles, equivalent to the distance from Gibraltar to RAF St Mawgan.  It will take place over the 13th and 14th July and the aim is to raise as much money as possible for ELMS, which will enable us to continue with our very successful educational visit programme by which we support groups of students from Europe (usually in their final year at senior school) who attend our annual reunion in York.  Once we have details of how you can donate we will publish them here.  The S.E.R.E team have also promised to provide us with a follow up report and photos!  If you would like to make a donation you can do so via this link,

All the money raised will be used to help us manage and extend our programme of assisted visits by students from schools in countries where Allied escapers/evaders were given help.

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 an in depth study of the real story of the French Resistance, as opposed to the Gaullist myths; the story of an Australian pilot who was one of the 76 men who took part in the ‘Great Escape’ and finally an account of the those POWs, many from Australia who were held in Camp 78 near Sulmona in Italy.   For a short review of each one have a look here .

And we have a new addition to our Young ELMS book reviews, Run, Spy, Run by Craig Simpson.  Have a look at the Young ELMS section to see a short review


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.

Upcoming Events

  1. Chemin de la Liberte

    July 5 @ 8:00 am - July 12 @ 5:00 pm
  2. ELMS Family Day, NMA

    August 6 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
  3. Basque Freedom Trail 2016

    August 19 @ 8:00 am - August 20 @ 5:00 pm
  4. Allied Air Forces Memorial Day

    September 4 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  5. Comete Trail September 2016

    September 9 @ 8:00 am - September 11 @ 5:00 pm