It's unlikely that any of these were more eagerly anticipated than that of Colditz escapee Ronnie Littledale, whose Distinguished Service Order group went under the hammer with a listing of £10,000-£12,000 ($20,000).
Littledale's experience of the Second World War more or less began with his capture at the last stand made at Calais in 1940. He then toured most of Europe either as a prisoner or trying to find safe passage home following an escape. He was finally placed in Colditz, a place where persistent escapees were held.
His escape with three companions from Colditz involved crossing a floodlit area which should have been in clear view of the sentries - but Littledale was keen to try it out, given that they seemed lax.
A signalling system was used by which a 'British orchestra' amongst the prisoners, conducted by Douglas Bader, were to stop playing whenever Bader, who had a clear view of the sentries, felt they were distracted.
This obstacle passed (with difficulty), the men had to escape through a chimney flue, which it was only possible to squeeze through naked "…like toothpaste out of a tube!"
Littledale made it safely back to England and was awarded his DSO, though he sadly died later in the war.
In our article announcing the sale, we described the £10,000-12,000 listing as cautious, and so it proved with bidders eagerly battling over the intriguing set. They were finally sold for an impressive £33,000, and will make the new owner a sound investment.
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