wallet, as used to contain forged documents carried by Oliver Philpot during his escape from Stalag Luft III

Catalogue number
  • EPH 6371
Department
Exhibits
Materials
  • Wallet: plastic
  • Wallet: card
Dimensions
  • whole: 22.5x17 cm
Alternative names
  • full name: wallet, as used to contain forged documents carried by Oliver Philpot during his escape from Stalag Luft III
  • simple name: CLA
Category
souvenirs and ephemera

© IWM (EPH 6371)

Purchase & License
Physical description

Wallet, made by forgers to contain forged papers used by Oliver Philpot during his escape from Stalag Luft III. The wallet is black with a leather-like texture, is lined with red paper and contains one large transparent pocket and two other pockets.

History note

The documents contained in this forged wallet were Oliver Philpot's identity papers and train tickets, identifying him as Norwegian businessman Jon Jorgensen, as required during his three express and one local train journey to Danzig. Oliver Philpot, Canadian by birth, first came to the UK to study at Oxford. He joined the RAFVR, and was a pilot in 42 Torpedo/Bomber Squadron. He was assigned to RAF Coastal Command in 1940. He was shot down off the coast of Norway in 1941, and taken prisoner. He was subsequently imprisoned in prisoner of war camps in both Germany and Poland. He was one of three men to make successful escape from Stalag Luft III in 1943. Philpot, together with Eric Williams and Michael Codner, used a wooden vaulting horse positioned close to the perimeter fence as a disguise for a tunnel which they were constructing from underneath the horse. Gradually, he collected together an escape kit, including adapted clothes, forged papers and a compass and maps made in the camp. After escaping through the tunnel on 29 October, Philpot travelled by train from Sagan to Danzig where he quickly found a ship to take him to neutral Sweden. He arrived in Stockholm on 4 November. His memoir, _Stolen Journey_, was published in 1953.

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