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Channel 4 – WWII’s Great Escapes: The Freedom Trails (2017) 3of4

Ch4 WWIIs Great Escapes The Freedom Trails 3of4

Monty Halls tells incredible stories of Second World War escapes from Nazi-occupied territory by prisoners of war and Allied soldiers. Retracing their routes, Monty discovers what it took to survive on the run, and celebrates the extraordinary bravery of the escapees and the locals who risked their lives to help them.

Part 1: Slovenia
Monty tells the dramatic story of the most successful mass escape of Allied prisoners of war of the Second World War.


Part 2: Sulmona Italy
Monty follows the dramatic escape route of British prisoner of war Len Harley from Nazi-occupied Italy. As German soldiers hunted for him, Len hid wherever he could: in caves, and in the cellars and attics of sympathetic locals who risked their own lives to save Len’s. Finally, Len made it to freedom by climbing the perilous Majella mountain range in deep winter.


Part 3: Rossano Italy
Monty recounts one of the most successful missions ever carried out by the SAS, and their daring escape from behind enemy lines in northern Italy. A small SAS group were dropped by parachute deep in Nazi-occupied territory to create chaos in the fascist ranks with unpredictable lightning attacks. Monty meets local Italian survivors who courageously helped to protect the SAS troops, and tells the extraordinary story of how just 33 SAS soldiers outwitted several thousand enemy troops.


Part 4: Pyrenees
Monty treks one of the toughest freedom trail routes in Europe, through the dramatic landscape of the jagged dragon’s back ridges of the French Pyrenees mountains to the border with Spain. Monty’s journey traces the epic undertaking that thousands of people under occupation made as they fled for their lives. Contact with the Resistance was crucial to a successful escape, and Monty meets a remarkable woman in Paris who sheltered many airmen who were on the run, at huge risk to herself and her family, under the noses of the ever-vigilant enemy. And she shows Monty how she taught her ‘boys’ to keep undercover. The programme also hears from surviving Allied servicemen, including former RAF gunner Bob Frost, who was shot down over Belgium when he was 19.

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