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Herbert Massey

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United Kingdom

Air commodore

Royal Air Force

Herbert Massey

Herbert Massey aircrewrememberedcomeditorialresourcesgpcaptn

World War I, Arab Revolt, World War II

1976, Barnstaple, United Kingdom

Order of the British Empire, Distinguished Service Order, Military Cross

Battles and wars
World War I, 1936–39 Arab revolt in Palestine, World War II

Years of service
1915 – 22 June 1950

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Air Commodore Herbert Martin Massey, (19 January 1898 – c. 1976) was a senior officer in the Royal Air Force. He is best known as the Senior British Officer at Stalag Luft III who authorised the "Great Escape".


Herbert Massey Private Herbert Massey Ainsworth Great War Frodsham

Flying career

Herbert Massey Oscar Herbert Massey Jul 18 1922 Feb 18 2016

Massey entered the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst in 1915, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment in April 1916. He soon after underwent flying training, and was posted as a pilot to No. 16 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps from July. He was promoted temporary captain and made a flight commander in December 1916. On 4 February 1917, Massey was wounded and his observer killed after their aircraft was shot down by German ace Werner Voss.

Transferring to the newly created Royal Air Force in 1918, Massey continued his military career through the interwar period. He commanded No. 6 Squadron in operations during the Arab Revolt in Palestine, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order, and was a station commander during the early years of the Second World War. He was shot down during a raid in June 1942, and was captured by the Germans. Massey then became the Senior British Officer at Stalag Luft III, and authorised the "Great Escape".

Death and legacy

After Massey's death in 1976, a memorial service in his honour was held on 22 May 1976 at St Clement Danes Church.

Massey was the basis for the character Group Captain Ramsey in the film The Great Escape (who also walks with a stick), played by actor James Donald.

In 2016 a Blue Plaque was unveiled at the Hilton House Hotel where Massey was born, the first Blue Plaque in the village of Hilton.


Herbert Massey Wikipedia

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