Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Britain is country which says "Goodbye" Colonel Peter Storie-Pugh, the once and last surviving prisoner of Colditz Castle

The last surviving Second World War 'Colditz Castle' prisoner, Colonel Peter Storie-Pugh, who was involved in 21 escape attempts has died at the age of 91.

Things you possible didn't know about Peter, that he :

* was sent to the high security German prison in 1940 as a 21 year old lieutenant who was classified as 'a prisoner who would persistently try to escape' and the last of British servicemen which included legendary figures such as Pat Reid, author of the book that was the basis for the 1955 film 'The Colditz Story.'

The acrobatic escape :

* was captured in May 1940 during the withdrawal to Dunkirk, escaped from prison camp, was re-captured on November 1, 1940 his 21st birthday, imprisoned in Spangenberg Castle, escaped again and later said "I stayed outside when everybody else went in after roll call, I got into a drain, crawled around and cut through the wire."

* was again captured, then transferred under heavy guard to Colditz and later said : "I’d never heard of it before,but it was daunting, a whopping great castle. I remember the smell of disinfectant struck me. The Germans had a thing about lice."

* had his first involvement in an escape in the ‘Canteen Tunnel’ which involved 13 men making an unsuccessful attempt to escape through the sewer system to a lawn near a wall that was only 12ft high.

* said: "The Germans knew about some of the tunnels, I think, they let it go on and timed the moment of discovery to dent morale."

* in 1942, attempted another escape by tunnel with two Dutch prisoners who were discovered by the guards and he was quick-witted enough to use the confusion to save a valuable bag of escape tools from being found by throwing it over the Germans’ heads to waiting comrades.

* never gave up trying to escape and also helped others to break out of the castle and finally tasted freedom when Colditz was liberated by the Americans at the end of the War.

* after the War, felt no bitterness towards his former guards and even invited Hauptmann Reinhold Eggers, the Colditz 'Chief of Security', to his second wedding in 1971.

Peter,in the photo, on the far right with 5 other erstwhile prisoners who returned to Colditz.

Prisoner reminiscences of life in Coldittz from men who have all now gone :

Peter himself on a visit to Colditz :

I wonder what, at the end of his days, Peter thought of Britain ? Did he recognise the country he once 'fought for' and attempted to 'escape for' when he was a young man all those years ago ?


  1. A very interesting blog JB. Will we ever see the like of those chaps agin?

  2. Staff Sergeant Teresa Reynolds19 May 2012 at 15:41

    Yes in the Father - there is his legacy to the nation in not only his example but his Son - Col Peter's Son - Col Piers Storie-Pugh - a man I was privileged to serve with in the Army - who has more than served his country too - Piers Storie–Pugh set up Remembrance Travel for The Royal British Legion in 1985 to enable War Widows and Family to visit their loved one's graves around the world, & ran it until 2007. Piers is one of the few worldwide generalist guides On Battlefields & is possibly the recognised expert on War Cemeteries and War Memorials on the battlefields abroad and has guided over 400 groups worldwide.

    He served in The Regular Army and the Territorial Army for over 30 years. He commanded the 6/7 Bn The Queen's Regiment, the 6/7 Bn The Princess of Wales's Regiment and was Deputy Commander 2nd Infantry Brigade in the rank of full Colonel. He was ADC to HM The Queen from 1997–2000. He was awarded the MBE (mil). in 1987 for services to the Army and is currently one of the Deputy Lieutenants for Greater London, and an OBE (civ). in 2009 for his services to Royal British Legion. He is now the Chief Executive of the "Not Forgotten Association" www.nfassociation.org

    I just know him as the BOSS - A Commanding Officer I am so proud to have served with, and someone who gave me SUCH a big hug today at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Armed Forces Parade & Muster that he knocked my Posh Hat off - Today was amazing - Meeting my old CO was just amazing - especially because when I was injured during service with the Army - HE was the one that ensured I got a daily visit in hospital & during rehab in RAF Headley Court from his Adjutant, Himself, His Driver, His PSAO, PSI, (They wouldn't let the Dog into Intensive Care) BUT he is part of MY Family - He was there & MY Regiment (Queens/PWRR) were there then to help me & are still there now - SO PROUD!!

  3. Christopher Nash1 August 2013 at 04:23

    By chance opened this web site. In The Times today in Obituaries the death of Sqn Ldr Peter Tunstall was announced (died 27 July 2013. He was in Colditz from March 43 until April 45. No matter they all deserve our thanks and admiration.