Flight Lieutenant Leslie George Bull, DFC RAF 109 Bomber Squadron

Leslie BullLeslie was escapee no 1. However, when the moment to break through to freedom arrived the boards sealing the exit of the tunnel had swollen due to the wet snow causing a nerve wracking delay, a moment made famous worldwide by the Hollywood “Great Escape” film. And when Leslie did finally push the hatch open there was another shock, the tunnel was short of cover of the woods. Leslie was the one who came up with the solution – a signal rope from the trees to indicate no guards were looking that way. He stayed on the rope until Willy’s group emerged, and became no 12 in their party.  Leslie had known the escape leader, Roger Bushell in Stalag Luft I, and was an experienced tunneller. When he was moved to Stalag Luft III with Bushell he became an escape committee member and tunnel “shift boss”.  He had served with the 109 Bomber Squadron RAF, flying his last mission in November 1941 when he and his crew were forced to bail out over occupied France due to mechanical problems, and were taken prisoner. Leslie, born in London in 1916, joined the RAF in 1936 and was attached to 9 Bomber Squadron with the outbreak of war, earning a DFC after completing a tour of operations. He then joined the 109s, flying special operations testing communication equipment. Leslie left a wife and son.