'Great Escape' PoWs' cartoons bring 10 times their estimate

A scrapbook put together by a Scots prisoner of war while he was being held in the German camp Stalag Luft III - made famous by the 1963 film The Great Escape - has sold for more than ten times its guide price at auction.

The PoW logbook, owned by Private William "Mac" Macdonald, was expected to fetch between £300 and £400 when it went on auction in Edinburgh on Wednesday.

But massive interest from collectors sparked a bidding frenzy, with the book finally selling for £3,200.

The book, offered for sale by Private Macdonald's daughter, Doreen Castle, has been kept in the family home in Broughty Ferry since the end of the war.


Private McDonald's book, featuring cartoons
by fellow prisoners sold for £3,200

Macdonald was held in the Stalag Luft III camp; the site of the infamous escape attempt where more than 200 British servicemen planned to escape through tunnels dug by inmates.

His scrapbook features several pages of verses, 15 pages of names and home addresses of other prisoners and 25 photographs.

It also includes 28 pencil drawings and watercolours by various other PoWs - including one showing the famous "Harry" tunnel out of Hut 104 at the camp.

Of particular note among the drawings is a picture of "Mac" in his tartan trousers, sketched by one of the legendary escapees: Alex Cassie, who was portrayed by Donald Pleasance alongside Hollywood legend Steve McQueen.

"Its a really unusual item and a very personal item. Because it is unique I think that sparked a lot of people's enthusiasm," said Philip Gregory, of Lyon and Turnbull Auctioneers.

"It went for £3,200 and was valued at £300-£400.  It shows there's a lot of interest in Second World War memorabilia."

 

Book image: Lyon & Turnbull


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