Armistice 100: Biggest PoW outbreak of the War

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August 6, 1918: On this day, dramatic reports appeared in the pages of the Yorkshire Evening Post of a mass escape by British officers in Germany.

According to the article, around 20 officers managed to break out of Holzminden prisoner-of-war camp. Although the escape took place in July, the first reports of it did not appear until August 6. It turned out to be the largest POW escape of the war, with 29 officers managing to make it out.

They used a tunnel, which took nine months to extend beyond the perimeter. Of the 29, 10 managed to avoid recapture and make it back to Britain. Originally, however, some 86 officers were intended to break out but the 30th man into the tunnel became stuck, making it unnavigable.

Previously, officers had tried to break out by cutting the perimeter fence wire and sneaking out by dressing up as German guards, locals and even as women.

News on that day was predominantly of the war, with reports of more than 123 killed following a torpedo attack in the English Channel, there was also talk of U-boats and ‘Q-boats’, otherwise known as decoy ships - disguised as merchant ships, they were heavily armoured and would return fire on any attack.

In other news, an unusual flock of sheep was drawing attention at Temple Newsam. The urial soay sheep were among the most primitive sheep in the world, from the rarely visited islet of Soay, among the Orkneys. Their wool was said to be of a fine, silky texture, known colloquially as ‘the golden fleece’, which got textile students at Leeds University rather excited.

Meanwhile, at Leeds Grand, American play The Knife opened to plaudits.