Alex Lees

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For the cricketer, see Alex Lees (cricketer).

Alex Lees (11 July 1911 – 22 April 2009) was a British World War II veteran, who, as a POW, took part in planning the Great Escape.[1]


He was one of the "gardeners" at Stalag Luft III who disposed of earth from the three tunnels by mixing it with the dirt outside. Lees told a newspaper: "It was just like the way it was portrayed in The Great Escape movie. I had been given the job of looking after the garden and I would take the dirt out to the vegetable patch, rake away the top soil, dump the earth and then cover it back up. The German guards never suspected a thing." [2]

However, as he was not an officer, he was not given the opportunity of joining those who escaped from the camp and so remained in the prison until it was liberated at the end of the war.[3]


Prior to his capture he had served as a driver with the Royal Army Service Corps in Greece. After the war he worked as an insurance underwriter and started a family.


He died on 22 April 2009, aged 97, in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland, UK.


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