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The Wooden Horse by Eric Williams

The Wooden Horse by Eric Williams
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The Wooden Horse by Eric Williams


Published 1950: Hardcover / Very Good Condition

Original brown cloth with gilt titles on the spine and original pictorial dust jacket. 256 clean and bright pages, mild speckled foxing on the end papers and edges. Boards slightly rubbed and faded with time consistent with age. Dust jacket slightly rubbed with time and chipped along the edges but remains intact.

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Based on true events in which the author, calling himself Peter, was involved, this is the story of a successful escape from Stalag Luft III in German-occupied Poland, by British prisoners of war, during WWII.
The title is well chose, for it was by means of a wooden vaulting-horse that Eric Williams and his two companions made their way out of the captivity of a German prison camp, into freedom.
This vaulting-horse was four feet six inches high and its base covered an area of five feet by three feet. When it was carried into the courtyard the German guards thought it was simply a vaulting-horse, similar to that used in any gymnasium.
It is true that the prisoners vaulted over it. But unknown to the German guards, two men were always concealed within the horse and while the prisoners vaulted, these two men were busy underground burrowing a tunnel.
When's the day's work was over the hole was boarded up, earth placed over the boards, and the horse with the two men inside taken back into the camp. This work of tunnelling went on for several months, until the tunnel was over 120 feet long and extended beyond the barbed wire which bounded the camp.

Eric Williams, MC was a former Second World War RAF pilot and prisoner of war who wrote several books dealing with his escapes from prisoner-of-war camps.
At the end of the war, on the long sea voyage home, Williams wrote Goon In The Block, a short book based on his experiences. Four years later, in 1949, he rewrote it as a much longer third-person narrative under the title The Wooden Horse. He included many details omitted in his previous book, but changed his name to 'Peter Howard'.

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