Tag Archives: La Grande Vadrouille

A Steve McQueen of our own.

Before I begin, I apologize for the unusual amount of old movie references that found a
way into this post. I am such a nerd…:-)
Because it is autumn already and because there is going to be a grand campaign for the
remembrance week, I got my hands on some stories about Marjon’s students that fought in the war. Some I already told, like that of George Hart, other were told by my fellow volunteers, like that of John Colston Babbage.

Ernest Rutherford Little,as he stands in the records of St Mark's. Beware of the quiet ones!

Ernest Rutherford Little,as he stands in the records of St Mark’s. Beware of the quiet ones!

However, I didn’t know the story of Ernest Rutherford Little, who turned out to be a regular Steve McQueen with The Great Escape of his own. As a student, Ernest had an opinion as quiet, maybe a bit dull person. His teachers thought he was kind of slow even though he could work very hard. Little did they know that he is capable of great courage and ingenuity.
During the WW1 he was captured and put in Grafteniederung Prisoner of War camp. He escaped in April 1918 and for 5 days eluded the enemy. He was captured, only to escape again in October. It was near dawn, the 10th of October. Ernest and a buddy of his were working as helpers in the camp’s kitchen. Somehow they managed to outwit the guards, and with the help of their fellow prisoners, they escaped. Their absence was only discovered three days later.
After that bold move they acted out La Grande Vadrouille. They walked cross-country,
by night and using only a compass and a map. For six days they walked hard and slept
rough, until finally they crossed into Holland. Later, this escapade was reported as the
only successful escape from the Grafteniederung.
So beware of the quiet ones, because very often those have inner resources you might
not be aware of.:-)
St Johns College: magazine 1920


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