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Subdeacon Joe

The Last In Line

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Marcel Zillessen was last in the queue of 200 men waiting to crawl through a tunnel at Stalag Luft III, but the alarm was raised before his turn came.

His diary describes how he later escaped the deadly Long March in 1945 by fleeing into a forest and hiding.

He died in 1999 aged 81.

Born in 1917 to a German father and Irish mother, Flying Officer Zillessen spent his early life in Bradford, West Yorkshire, working in the family textile business until the war broke out.

TelegramImage copyrightZILLESSEN FAMILY Image captionMarcel Zillessen's family was sent a telegram warning it was likely their son had been captured as a prisoner of war

Shot down while flying a Hurricane in north Africa in 1943, he was taken to the Luftwaffe-run prisoner of war camp holding Allied air force personnel, 100 miles south east of Berlin.

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