On September the 5th, 1940, a ME109 was in a dive over England, with a Spitfire behind it. The ME109 pilots name was Franz Von Werra, and things were going badly. Just a week earlier he had returned from a sortie and claimed 9 RAF kills in that single mission, even though he hadn't a shred of proof. He'd been lauded across the German press for this feat. The fame had been welcome for Von Werra, who had been born in Switzerland to an impoverished noble family. Now he was about to start a true adventure which would rightfully make him famous, not the imaginary one which he had relied upon until then.
Meanwhile in the UK Von Werra was now at Camp No1 near Grizedale Hall in the Lake District. Where he hatched the first of many escape plans. The POW's were exercised outside the camp each day, and at the same point in the route the excursion party would pause to allow the POW's to rest. Von Werra proposed to simply slip over the wall at that location and escape. With the support of the camp he started making plans. First the senior German officer in the camp asked the British to change the time of the exercise period. With the excuse it was interfering with the German's educational activities the walk was dropped from the morning to the mid afternoon. This would mean Von Werra would only have to avoid capture for a few hours before night. Secondly a German was appointed to cause a small distraction amongst the guards.
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.
Von Werra returned to flying, and was lost over the North sea to mechanical failure on a training flight.