Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Jack Lyon, "The Great Escape" and Bexhill-On-Sea



Saw this on the BBC...Jack Lyon, the last veteran of World War II's Great Escape has died at the age of 101. (He was a look-out and when he heard a gunshot, knew that he could not enter the tunnel...this most likely saved his life. 76 men escaped but 73 were recaptured and of those, 50 were executed.)  You must know the story of the Great Escape, if not you can read about it here.  It is an extraordinary story...600 men working at night for a year to dig tunnels at a prisoner of war camp, right under the noses of the guards.  "The Great Escape" is a book written by Paul Bricknell, an Australian who was also an inmate there.  Although he wrote this as a novel, the basic story is true.  If you only know the film "The Great Escape " with Steve McQueen... Well, let me just tell you what Jack Lyon had to say about it!   He called it, "absolute rubbish" and "not one American took part in it and as for the motorbike, it never existed."!

Of course, we all know how Hollywood likes to change things, so I always say, try to read as much as you can about something to get to the truth of it.


Jack Lyon died at his home in Bexhill-on-Sea in East Sussex this past Friday.  Glad to know that he liked to spend time at the RAF branch in Bexhill and that he was given much honor and respect. They had a 100th birthday party for him in 2017.  You may read about it just here!  The photo of the sunset is from 2015 when we visited Bexhill and I do believe that the RAF branch that I am telling you about is just behind that white building! The Albatross Club, I think it is called. (I am so thrilled when I read about something and it is somewhere that I visited in England!)  Richard and I have some very dear friends who live very close to Bexhill...Henry and Joy! (Here I am posing with them, in my best Darth Vader haircut.)




If you were able to go to that link that I gave you...I was also very pleased to learn that Jack Lyon was friends with Doug Bader!
"Reach For The Sky" is another book that you must know.
If not, then please look it up! (Another film was made from that  book too!)

 I found a clip from YouTube of Jack Lyon reading the emotional letter that he sent home when he knew the war was finally over.

All respect and honor to you, sir. Thank you for your service.

32 comments:

  1. Steve McQueen was in the film because US money was helping pay for it and they demanded a US actor involved. Americans had been in the Stalag but were moved to one of their own some time before the escape was planned.
    Nice to know how long he lived, RAF clubs do look after their own well, my brother had been a member of one.

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    1. Of course you know I have read all about the background of the film! I am sure Americans would have involved in the escape IF they had been there! It does give me pause to think of what Jack Lyon thought about when he saw that film in the 1960's. And then, to see it on TV for the years afterward. To know those men who died and then, to see Steve McQueen on a motorbike! You can't blame him for calling it rubbish.
      The RAF, much honor to them!

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  2. Your photo was taken a few steps from my door and yes, the Albatross Club is still going strong - its annual beer festival is one of the highlights of my year! A lovely tribute to Jack Lyon.

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    1. Hello Keith! Thanks for your comment. I am happy that the Albatross Club is there for the RAF members and that Jack Lyon enjoyed it so much.
      I wish I could have done a better tribute to Jack Lyon but thank you.

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  3. I've always found books to be much better than the movies that come from them. I love the picture of the view there. How stunning!

    Love and hugs,
    'ma'

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    1. Hey Ma!
      Bexhill-on-sea was lovely and that sunset was stunning! Of course, Richard takes good photos too!

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  4. beautiful scenery...
    have a great day

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    1. Thanks. Hope you are having a great week.

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  5. Awww! Hate to hear of his passing...God Bless them all.
    Hi Kay! Donna from Texas here. Made the trip back over and have hit the Followers button and loaded your blog onto my Friends Blogroll.
    Can't wait to get to know you!
    Have a super day!
    hughugs

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    1. Thanks very much Donna for becoming a follower, I can't tell you how much I appreciate it!
      I have great respect for veterans. I hope that comes across on my blog.

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  6. I often wonder why they feel the need to "make a story more exciting" when the real story is more interesting.

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    1. You know I agree! I know that Hollywood likes to change things but what disturbs me is that hardly anyone takes the trouble to find the real story.

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  7. Emma says it - why "they" need to change things for dramatic effect is beyond me. Nothing beats real life when it comes to dramatic effects!

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    1. Like Ad-man said in that first comment, it almost always comes down to money. It does in the USA anyway!

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  8. I read and heard about the passing of Jack Lyon...very sad...but a life well lived...experiencing the good and the bad tossed at him. He beat the odds by living to the grand age of 101 years. So many stories to tell and told...

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    1. A life very well lived, and I only hope that someone could do a story of his life, you know that is one that I will tell you about!

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  9. I am always fascinated by the books you find, the ones about true experiences. This sounds like no exception. All these men were the heroes of my childhood.

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    1. You know how much I like non fiction! It is not popular, I know, but I don't care! I think that true stories are fascinating and I try my best to make folks come around to my way of looking at the world! LOL!

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  10. Have to admit even though it was not accurate it was a classic film and good entertainment. Very hard to get the balance right sometimes between historical accuracy and screen excitement.

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    1. I think that I read that it was Steve McQueen who insisted on the motorbike in the film because he loved them so much. I have such strong opinions on films! I fancy myself a director, if only I had vast amounts of money! Still, my son is a film major...maybe he could make a movie for his old MA! :-)

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  11. I've only seen the movie. Of course Hollywood couldn't be satisfied with the real story. I hope Mr. Lyon had a very happy life after the war.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Oh I sincerely hope that he did too! The elderly seem to be given more respect in the UK than what they receive in America. That is my observation anyway. What an interesting life! I wish someone would make a movie about him. Thanks for your comment, Janie. Just lost my Dad last month, and his family called him "Junebug". I miss him. x

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    2. I'm so very sorry about your dad. Do you know why he was nicknamed Junebug?

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    3. He was Junior and his family always called him that, but would say Junebug as a sweet nickname. When our little sister was born, my sister and I wanted her middle name to be June. We got our way!

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  12. What a lovely post this is, and yes "All respect and honor to you, sir. Thank you for your service."

    All the best Jan

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    1. I only wish my post could convey how much I truly respect Jack Lyon! Wish I could have met him but I am thankful that he received the support from that local RAF centre, they sound wonderful.

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  13. PS Sorry to read you lost your Dad last month … not easy to lose our parents.
    My condolences and good wishes.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Bless you, Jan. I spoke to my Dad every night on the phone. I looked forward to telling him about my day. I hope I am like my father, finding something to laugh about or marvel over. I miss him.

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  14. Oh Kay, I’m so sorry for your loss too. I’ve been sort of preoccupied lately and missed your post. Thank you for letting us know about Jack Lyon as well. Yes, Hollywood does change things to make it more marketable.

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    1. Thanks, my fellow Kay! I am missing my Dad very much indeed. Wish I could call and tell him of this post, how I recognized that I knew where Jack Lyon lived. "Why, you might have walked right beside him" he would have said. We had similar ways of looking at the world, just loved his joyful ways.xx

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  15. Hi Kay - I heard about Jack Lyon - but have been away. It seemed he was a very humble man; married for 60 years but recently living on his own - did he have help ... no he did everything himself ... he must have been brilliant - the stuff legends are made of. Lovely post and nice to see my coast in sun ... it's full on cloud just now! Cheers Hilary

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    1. What an extraordinary man! I just wish I could have met him and shaken his hand! Thanks very much for your comment, so happy to know more about him. Your coast is lovely in all weathers but I must admit to loving the sunshine the best! 🌞

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