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    Understanding escape: the development of the British-led escape organisation, the Pat Line, 1940-1942

    Bergin, Catherine Theresa (2015) Understanding escape: the development of the British-led escape organisation, the Pat Line, 1940-1942. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    This thesis seeks to identify and examine the dynamics and processes underpinning the emergence and protraction of British-led escape activities in France during the period 1940-42. From the outset of this research, it quickly became clear that Second World War escape histories had, rather ironically, captured popular imagination. For five years, when explaining the research to those curious enough to ask, quips about movies such as The Great Escape and Von Ryan’s Express or long- running sitcoms such as ’Allo ’Allo quickly worked their way into the conversation. Admittedly, this had one advantage; it provided a discussion point and frame of reference for the topic and piqued general interest. Yet such popular impressions of escape activities during the war had a number of downfalls; the subject of escape was not considered ‘real’ or ‘serious’ history. One local journalist ventured to describe the study of such history as ‘barmy’. In a way, this response is understandable particularly considering that researchers in the field have done little to correct this interpretation. This problem is further compounded by the lack of academic research on the topic, as will be discussed later. Much of the written popular histories on British escape activities and civilian efforts to help these men retain an element of a Hollywood-meets-history appeal. This is not to argue that the facts of these popular histories are necessarily inaccurate but the aim is often related to glorifying the individuals involved rather than understanding why and how such organisations developed.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Understanding escape; development; British-led escape organisation; Pat Line; 1940-1942;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > History
    Item ID: 13835
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2021 10:59
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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