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Walter Purdy: The Traitor of Colditz

In the Second World War, the Germans liked to boast that there was 'no escape' from the infamous fortress and POW camp Colditz. However, the elite British officers imprisoned there were determined to prove the Nazis wrong and get back into the war; since then the fortress became just as famous for its escape attempts. As the officers dug tunnels, removed bricks and got lines of communication to the outside world the Gestapo were determined to uncover their secrets and planted a double agent- Walter Purdy in their midst. It was a race against time for the British officers to expose Purdy for the traitor he was.


Drawn from unseen records, Robert Verkaik tells Dan this extraordinary never-before-told story and tries to make sense of why, despite committing treason, Purdy was able to escape the gallows, not once but twice.


Robert's book is called 'The Traitor of Colditz'.


The producer was Mariana Des Forges and the audio editor was Dougal Patmore


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More Episodes

2/1/2023

Normans, Romans and Victorians: History of England's New Forest 

Where can you find an Iron Age fort, Roman kilns, trees built for Nelson's navy and the hunting lodge of William the Conqueror? In the place that Dan calls home: the New Forest in the South of England. In this special episode of the podcast sponsored by BMW and National Park's Recharge in Nature project, Dan joins his good friend and local archaeologist Richard Reeves for an afternoon under the canopy and over the heathland to dig into the deep history of this ancient woodland so named at the Norman Conquest.  Among the gently falling rain, crunchy leaves and chirping birds, Dan and Richard retrace the many civilisations who have utilised the forest over the centuries for commoning, building ships, serving armies, hiding out and most of all, relaxing. Right through from the Norman gentry hunting deer to the Victorians who planted giant redwoods for scenic driveways, the New Forest has been a place of play and leisure for rich and poor, old and young.  The Recharge in Nature project is a new 3-year partnership between BMW and National Parks UK with a shared aim and commitment to enhance the electric car charging network and support vital nature restoration, biodiversity and sustainability initiatives across all 15 National Parks. Produced by Mariana Des Forges and edited by Dougal Patmore.If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe to History Hit today!Download the History Hit app from the Google Play store.Download the History Hit app from the Apple Store.