Paul Brickhill

Name: Paul Brickhill
Born: 20 December 1916
Joined 92: 1943
Shot down: 17 March 1943
Died: 23 April 1991

Paul Chester Jerome Brickhill was born in Melbourne and educated at North Sydney Boys High School. He worked as a journalist on The Sun newspaper in Sydney before joining the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Under the Empire Air Training Scheme, Brickhill undertook advanced training as a
fighter pilot in Canada and the United Kingdom, before being assigned to No. 92 Squadron, flying Spitfires with the Desert Air Force. In 1943, he was shot down over Tunisia and became a prisoner of war.

While imprisoned at Stalag Luft III, in Germany, Brickhill was involved in an elaborate mass escape attempt. He did not take part in tunnelling or the escape itself, due to claustrophobia.

After the war, Brickhill wrote the first major account of the escape in The Great Escape (1950), bringing the incident to a wide public attention. He went on to write two other best-selling war books: The Dam Busters, the story of Operation Chastise and the destruction of dams in the Ruhr valley by No. 617 Squadron RAF, and Reach for the Sky, the story of Battle of Britain ace Douglas Bader.

Brickhill's major books were translated into more than 20 languages and several, including "The Great Escape," were made into films.

After the war, he worked for The Sun in Europe, where he covered the Nuremberg trials, and in New York.


Brickhill died in 1991, aged 74.

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