In The News

Former British prisoner of war passes away

Former British prisoner of war passes away

THE death has taken place of RAF veteran Alfie Fripp who was one the longest-serving British prisoners during the Second World War. He was 98.

Squadron leader Fripp was the last of the ‘39-ers’ — members of the forces who were taken prisoner by the Germans in the early part of the War.

He had joined the RAF in 1930 and at the outbreak of war in 1939 was a crew member on a Blenheim bomber. His squadron was posted to France but within weeks he was taken prisoner after being shot down.

Mr. Fripp was eventually to spend almost six years as a PoW during which time he was held in 12 prisoner of war camps, including Stalag Luft III where ‘the great escape’ took place in 1944.

The escape by 76 Allied POWs was immortalised in the film The Great Escape (1963). However, fifty of the prisoners who were recaptured were executed on the orders of Hitler.

Mr. Fripp was a key member of the backroom team which had helped prepare  the POWs for their bid for freedom. His work had included the preparation of equipment which would be vital in the escape-bid.

During his many years in captivity, Mr. Fripp was said to have helped countless PoWs escape.

As the war drew to a close, Mr. Fripp was to face one of his greatest challenges. He became one of the thousands of prisoners forced to march from Poland to Germany in severe winter conditions. Many men died from cold and starvation during the ordeal.

In 2009, Mr. Fripp, accompanied by several other former PoWs, made an emotional return to the site of Stalag Luft III in Poland.

To view an interview in which Mr. Fripp discussed his Wartime experiences, click here.

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