2803 Royal Air Forces aircrew who were shot down during WWII either escaped from captivity or, in the vast majority of cases, evaded capture.
For many their eventual return to Allied territory was by clandestine means.
In evading or escaping they forced the enemy to devote scarce resources to finding them. They also gave heart to the Allied Forces operating over enemy territory - aircrew knew it was possible to get back.
Thousands of brave, ordinary people in the Occupied countries took extraordinary risks at huge cost to help these airmen.
MI 9 was set up to provide training in escape and evasion, coordinate escape lines and provide and devise materials - such as escape kits - to help valuable aircrew to get back.
Escapers and evaders were almost always reliant on the goodwill of ordinary people - extraordinarily brave people - in the countries under Fascist control.
These helpers risked torture and death for the help they gave and their families faced deportation to concentration camps. Many thousands suffered because they aided Allied aircrew. A number of organisations operated to guide and shelter evaders and escapers on their journeys to freedom.
On behalf of our American friends we hosted an Air Forces Escape & Evasion Society page
launched in 2004. This has been succeeded by the latest version of their own website http://airforceescape.org/