"Harry" was finally ready in March 1944, but the American prisoners, some of whom had worked on the tunnel "Tom," had been moved to another compound seven months earlier. Contrary to what is suggested in the Hollywood film of the same name, no American prisoners of war actually participated in the "great escape." Previously, this escape attempt had been planned for the summer as good weather was a large factor of success. However, in early 1944 the Gestapo had visited the camp and ordered increased efforts in detecting possible escape attempts. Bushell ordered the attempt be made as soon as the tunnel was ready.
|Nationalities of the 50 executed prisoners|
|3 South African|
|2 New Zealanders|