Being there . . . with Allied airmen who not only thumbed their noses at Hitler, the SS and
Gestapo searchers, and ordinary city folk and country farmers who, if spotted, would jubilantly
turn them in, but insinuated indirectly via artful escape tactics, “Look, Nazi, I’m having nothing
to do with your stinking barrack blocks, thick barbed wire, intense bright searchlights and
deadly sentry towers . . . no camp scenes or escape stories for me when your POW facilities are
crammed with upwards to 15 million. Nope, I’ll use my own ingenuity to get by as I make it back
to the Channel. I’m going home my way, so excuse me because as I’m a bit in a hurry for both a
fresh, hot chicken pot pie, followed by fish and chips . . .”
A RICH, NOBLE, SPELLBING COLLECTION OF CHOICE ESCAPE PASSAGES ON THE EUROPEAN
FRONT – WHETHER REFLECTING BRILLIANT GENIUS AND THE HIGHEST STANDARD OF COURAGE
OR STRANGE, RECKLESS LAPSES OF JUDGMENT, ALL THE 15 ESCAPE ACCOUNTS ARE VIVIDLY
Reviewed and Highly Recommended by Don DeNevi
The most significant thing to be said about this superb volume is that it is unique and
continually rewarding with hitherto ignored or forgotten information about escaping while
being chased and shot at to kill. No book is remotely comparable.
“CHEATING HITLER – – Allied Airmen Who Evaded Capture in WW2”, by Martin W. Bowman.
Air World, Pen & Sword Books Ltd: 2023, 212 pages, 6 ½” x 9 ½”, illustrated b & w photos,
hardbound, $49.95. Visit, www.pen-and-sword.co.uk, and E-mail, Uspen-and-
For most, and particularly the injured and the wounded, being shot down over Occupied
Europe meant that capture was imminent, that imprisonment was almost inevitable. For some,
evasion was possible, but rarely for long. For a relative handful, however, their evasion saw
them eventually reach home.
In this fascinating insight into how some Allied aircrew achieved the almost impossible and
evaded capture, the renowned aviation historian Martin W. Bowman has drawn together a set
of tales of only a handful of personalities who told the Germans to “buzz off”, they would sleep
in their own beds that night. Their stories illustrate the bravery and resourcefulness that
characterized their experiences. British, American, Canadian and other Allied testimonies
provide an authentic sense of the times at hand and the reality of life as an evader during
World War II’s tumultuous and incredibly dangerous time.
Imagine being faced with a sudden leap into a dangerous unknown and, if surviving, having
to evade German troops and farmers with pitchforks. So, you will read here, account after
account. You might be lucky in making it back to England “free to fight again”, or better than
POW camp life, remain in hiding with assistance of the French Resistance, or the patriots of the
Comere Line, a few of many who risked their lives helping Allied airmen to get back to London
or remain hidden until liberation. Of course, if turned in by an informant neighbor, it meant
either the pain of imprisonment, torture, and death. The best estimate as to how many may
have assisted the evading Allied airmen is 100,000.
There is no question as to how important, and enjoyable, “CHEATING HITLER” is.
The reader anxious or merely curious to know what it was like to flee under the threat of being
shot or capture will experience it all here. Then, he or she, will know the utter joy of sitting
down to a tasty chicken pot pie and fish and chips. Also, note that it is Martin W. Bowman,
Britain’s best aviation historian, who collected, then selected, the 15 stories that make up the
anthology. When an author can smile, “Yes, it is true. I have been fortunate in having had
published over 100 of my World War II manuscripts published”, you know you’re sitting next to
one of the great literary minds of this century. Thank you, Martin, and Air World, Pen & Sword,
and Casemate has added it as a classic to its fabulous aviation offerings.