London: It was an escape from a Prisoner of War (PoW) camp as daring and fraught with danger as any immortalized by Hollywood.
Oberleutnant Gunther Pluschow enjoyed amazing good fortune as he made it out of a POW camp in Donington Hall, Derbyshire, in 1915 and returned back to Germany.
According to the Daily Mail, Pluschow was placed in the camp in the month of May of that year after being caught in Gibraltar during an earlier attempt to return to his homeland.
After escaping from Donington Hall, changing his appearance and blending in among London crowds, Pluschow stowed away on a Dutch steamer ship at Tilbury docks.
He talked his way past a policeman in Holland before travelling to Germany by train.
Upon his return home he received a hero’s welcome and was presented with the Iron Cross First Class.
His astonishing story has now fully emerged after British author Anton Rippon spent seven years researching German archives to uncover details of the escape before publishing Pluschow’s new biography ``Gunther Pluschow:- Airman, Escaper and Explorer``.
Common belief has it that airman Franz Von Werra was the only German to make it back to the Fatherland after escaping from a British PoW camp. His story was immortalised in the 1957 film The One That Got Away starring Hardy Kruger.
But, although Von Werra escaped, he was recaptured in Britain and flown to a POW camp in Canada from where he broke out again and travelled back to Germany.
After the war ended, Pluschow was a lost soul. He went from being a hero to yesterday’s man as the rest of Germany was too busy trying to survive after being defeated.
Pluschow was 28 when the First World War broke out. At the time he was part of the German flying corps stationed in a German colony in China.
After the war Pluschow married and worked for the German air postal service before he became an aerial explorer and wrote books on his expeditions in South America.
He died aged 44 in 1931 in a plane crash while exploring a glacier over southern Chile.