Bushell, Roger, born on 30-08-1910, in Springs Transvaal, Africa. Squadron Leader Bushell was a South African born British Auxiliary Air Force pilot, who organized and led the famous escape from the Nazi prisoner of war camp, Stalag Luft III. His father, a mining engineer, had emigrated to the country from England and he used his wealth to ensure that Roger received a first class education. Bushell became fluent in French and German, with good accents, which became extremely useful during his time as a prisoner of war. In 1932 he joined 601 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force, nicknamed ” The Millionaires’ Squadron” which was also often referred too as “The Millionaires’ Mob” because of the number of wealthy young men who paid their way solely to learn how to fly during training days. Bushell was given command of 92 Squadron in October 1939 and his promotion to Squadron Leader was confirmed on 01-01-1940. During the squadron’s first engagement with enemy aircraft on 23-05-1940, whilst on a patrol near Calais, Bushell was credited with damaging two Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighter aircraft of ZG 26, before being shot down himself, probably by future ace Oberleutnant Günther Specht. Bernard Scheidhauer.
Specht, age 30, was shot down over Maastricht Holland, on 01-01-1945, but his body never found. Busnell crash landed his Spitfire on German occupied ground and was captured before he had a chance to hide. He became a POW and was sent to the Dulag luft transit camp near Frankfurt with all other captured aircrew. In the spring of 1943, Bushell masterminded a plot for a major escape from the camp, his third, now from Stalag Luft III. Roger and his partner the Frenchman Bernard Scheidhauer, who had left France in 1940 and had joined the RAF,
were among the first few to leave the tunnel and successfully boarded a train at Sagan railway station. They were caught the next day at Saarbrücken station awaiting a train to Alsace in France. Bushell by accident had talked in English
Death and burial ground of Bushell, Roger Joyce.
Bushell and Scheidhauer were murdered three days later, on 29-03-1945, by Emil Schulz of the Gestapo and his boss Police leader Dr. Leopold Spann.
After their capture, it transpired, the two PoWs had been handed over to Dr Spann. And when orders for their execution arrived from Gestapo headquarters in Berlin, the prisoners were driven out of town and told they were being returned to Stalag Luft III. Instead, just outside Saarbrucken, they were ordered to stretch their legs and relieve themselves. At this point, both were shot in the back by Spann. Scheidhauer died immediately, but Bushell was only injured and lay writhing on the ground. Spann ordered Schulz to ‘finish him off’. Schulz drew his pistol and hesitated – he had never shot a man before – but Spann insisted, shouting: ‘Just do as I tell you. Remember this man is a terror-flier, in fact, Bushell had been a fighter pilot. ‘Schulz said he finally closed his eyes and pulled the trigger.
Fifty of the other 76 escapees were killed in the Stalag Luft III murders.
Kriminalsekretar Schulz was hanged on 27-02-1948, by hangman Albert Pierrepoint in Hameln Prison. Dr. Leopold Spann escaped court as he was killed in a air attack by the US Eight Air Force at Linz in Austria, on 25-04-1945. The Gestapo headquarters there got a direct hit and took 50 death.
Roger Joyce Bushell is buried, age 33, on the war cemetery of Poznan, Old Garrison Cemetery.