27 December 2007

RIP: Flt Lt Michael M Shand DFC, RNZAF

Flt Lt Michael Moray Shand DFC
20 Feb 1915 - 27 Dec 2007

ZUI this article from The Telegraph:
Flight Lieutenant Mick Shand, who died on Thursday aged 92, was a fighter pilot interned at Stalag Luft III at Sagan and survived "the Great Escape" [in March, 1944] - the last to emerge from the tunnel before it was discovered, he was recaptured after four days on the run.


Finding himself alone, Shand began to walk and was on the run for almost four days, travelling at night and resting by day. The weather conditions were harsh, and he was finally caught by two railway workers as he was waiting to jump on a freight train.

He was taken to Gorlitz Prison, where he found himself amongst a group of fellow escapers.

Over the next two days the Gestapo took most of the recaptured RAF prisoners away. Shand was one of a group of four who were collected by the Luftwaffe and returned to Sagan, where he was horrified to learn that most of his colleagues had been shot by the Gestapo.

The final total of those murdered was 50. Some time later the PoWs learned that three men - two Norwegians and a Dutchman - had successfully made it back to Britain.


On November 28 [1942] Shand led a formation of six Spitfires on a low-level sweep off the Dutch coast seeking targets of opportunity. They successfully attacked a tanker-barge on a canal and, as they returned, Shand and his wingman went down to shoot up a train.

Two Focke Wulf 190s attacked them. Shand was shot down and quickly captured. Within a few weeks he arrived at Stalag Luft III, 100 miles south-east of Berlin. It was Goering's "show camp", administered and guarded by the Luftwaffe.

After the Great Escape, Shand remained at Stalag Luft III until the camp was evacuated in January 1945, the PoWs being forced to march westwards in the harshest winter for many years.

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