Riding out for Great Escape anniversary

David Bull. 50th anniversary of the Great Escape with a bike from the film.
David Bull. 50th anniversary of the Great Escape with a bike from the film.

A Great Escape enthusiast from Halifax is getting on his bike to Germany for an exhibition to mark the film’s 50th anniversary.

David Bull, a retired electrician who lives in Ripponden, is taking a motorbike from the film to be shown at the event, where he will also give a talk on the wartime classic.

The film is based on the true story of a mass escape from a prisoner of war camp in Nazi Germany.

Mr Bull said: “I just find the film fascinating, and all the stories around it. I must have seen it a dozen times at least.

“Nobody knew how famous the film was going to be at the time.

“I’ve been going to Fussen, where it was mostly filmed, for the last ten years researching the locations and speaking to people who were there during the filming.

“I first went in 2002 and visited the local newspaper to look through the archives.

“They ran a story on me and asked if there was anyone who could help me find the locations.

“The next week I had about a dozen emails, one of which was from the son of the man who owned the land where Steve McQueen did the famous jump.

“He told me McQueen took him round the field on the bike and that his father taught McQueen how to roll cigarettes.

“The bike was used as a back-up during the film - I’ll be driving it over there myself in my van. I’m just delighted to be involved.

“It runs for three months and tells the true story of the film and there will be contributions from people involved.

“There will also be a special tunnel with a trolley for anyone wanting to go through it.”