Wing Commander Ken Rees was part of the legendary escape from Stalag Luft III camp during World War 2.
Like the character Hilts in the 1963 film, Mr Rees annoyed the Germans and spent much of the war in solitary confinement. A guard discovered him in the tunnel during the daring escape. As the last man to be pulled safely from the tunnel that night, he was lucky enemy shots didn't kill him.
The humble Mr Rees insisted he had little in common with the man portrayed by McQueen in the movie, apart from the long solitary hours he spend in the cooler. Despite being a short Welshman who couldn't ride a motorbike, and McQueen being a 6 foot tall American, the only thing they had in common was annoying the enemy and spending stretches in the cooler.
After interrogation, Rees was taken to Stalag Luft III at Sagan in Silesia, a camp specially built for captured airmen.
Mr Rees, originally from Wrexham, was determined not to cooperate with his captors. He joined the digging team that burrowed a tunnel, known as Harry out of the camp. The Germans discovered two other tunnels, Tom and Dick. See full Mirror story.
In the Moonstone series, I use news items to write vision scenes. Liliha sees through the eyes of people in trouble and whispers advice like a guardian angel. For Mr. Rees, she would have melded with his crawling body, giving hope and encouragement. When he reached the end of the tunnel, perhaps she would have seen a bullet flashing and advised him to duck.
Of course, not every writer will achieve success with such a great character as Hilts. But my guardian angel is whispering that I should carry on to reach the end of the dark tunnel.
Do you hear a little voice whisper advice?