|Von Werra's ME109|
The plan was put into action, as the German selected for the Decoy stepped out of line to talk to the British NCO leading the party, he was immediately yelled at and told to return to his place. Von Werra's plan was failing, as he didn't have distraction, and soon they'd move off again. Then the cart and horse passed by, and Von Werra spotted it would block the British guards line of sight to him and at the right moment he rolled over the stone wall. Lying in the shade of the wall he waited for yells from the guards. None came, eventually the party moved off with him unmissed! He was free!
Von Werra was however free in in the Lake District in Autumn. Three nights later he was sheltering in a small stone shed on the hills when two Shepard's in the Home Guard found him. As he was led away in captivity Von Werra suddenly threw his weight about and knocked the two men over and took off into the darkness. He easily outdistanced the two old Home Guards. With a rough location the net tightened, and eventually on the night of the 12th Von Werra was recaptured by a search party whom had just retired for the night to the local pub. When one man saw a lone figure in the distance, the party turned out and combed the area. Eventually Von Werra was found lying almost totally submerged in some mud.
After a period in solitary confinement Von Werra was transferred to a new camp, Hayes Camp, in Swanwick, Derbyshire. Here he worked with a number of other prisoners to dig an escape tunnel. On the 20th of December Von Werra and his fellow escapee's broke out. A diversion was provided by Germans singing loudly. The song they chose was a German folk song "Muss I denn, muss I denn, zum Stadtele hinaus", which translates as "I must away into the great wide world".
But the engine wouldn't start. The mechanics went away to find a starter trolley to get the Merlin engine to turn over, while Von Werra sat in the cockpit, head down, familiarising himself with the controls. When he looked up he saw the squadron leader with a revolver aimed firmly at his face.
In January 1941 Von Werra was moved to another camp. This one was quite a bit further away, in Canada. The British assumed it would be extremely difficult for a German POW to escape across the Atlantic.
Von Werra turned himself into the US police and was charged with entering the United States illegally. He contacted the German consul in the US, and while the Federal government was deciding what to do with his case, Von Werra had been smuggled out of the country, and through several other neutral countries until he returned to Germany.
|Publicity photograph taken by the Germans of Von Werra and his pet Lion cub Simba|
Von Werra returned to flying, and was lost over the North sea to mechanical failure on a training flight.