Former marine Monty Halls retraces the routes of great escapes from Nazi territory, meeting surviving escapees and locals who risked their lives to help them. Monty treks one of the toughest freedom trail routes in Europe, through the dramatic landscape of the jagged dragon’s back ridges of the French Pyrenees mountains to the border with Spain.
Monty’s journey traces the epic undertaking that thousands of people under occupation made as they fled for their lives. Contact with the Resistance was crucial to a successful escape, and Monty meets a remarkable woman in Paris who sheltered many airmen who were on the run, at huge risk to herself and her family, under the noses of the ever-vigilant enemy. And she shows Monty how she taught her ‘boys’ to keep undercover.
The programme also hears from surviving Allied servicemen, including former RAF gunner Bob Frost, who was shot down over Belgium when he was 19. Bob describes his extraordinary, gripping experience of getting to the Pyrenees and over on the Comet Line. These escape routes over the Pyrenees were part of a wide network and, at every stage, were fraught with danger, from German soldiers, from the Vichy police, from local informers and from the mountains themselves.
Executive Producer: Monty Halls
Producer: Liberty Smith
Production Company: Seadog TV & Film Productions Ltd
WWII’s Great Escapes: The Freedom Trails Episode 3 airs Saturday 7 October 2017 from 9.00pm-10.00pm on Channel 4.