Sanke Card No 2

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Gunther Plüschow, he is famed as the only German prisoner of war to escape Britain and return to Germany and that includes both World Wars.

Born in Germany in 1886 he was a German aviator, aerial explorer and authorwas a German aviator, aerial explorer and author, he was the first man to explore and film Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia from the air. He was killed on a second aerial expedition to Patagonia in 1931. As an aviator and explorer, he is honored as a hero by the Argentine Air Force to this day.

On May 1, 1915, Plüschow was sent to a prisoner of war camp in Donington Hall in Leicestershire. On July 4, 1915, he escaped during a storm and headed for London. Scotland Yard issued an alert, asking the public to be on the lookout for a man with a “dragon tattoo” on his arm.

Disguised as a worker, Plüschow felt safe enough to take souvenir photographs of himself at the London docks. He occupied his time by reading books about Patagonia, and at night he hid inside the British Museum.

For security reasons, no notices were published announcing the departure of ships, but a lucky encounter with another of his lady friends allowed him to obtain the information to board the ferry Princess Juliana, sailing for the neutral Netherlands. He arrived safely and finally reached Germany, where he was at first arrested as a spy since no one believed he could have accomplished such a feat. To this date Plütschow is the only German combatant during the two World Wars to escape a prison camp in the British Isles.

Once he was identified, Plüschow was acclaimed as “the hero from Tsingtau”. He was decorated, promoted, and assigned command of the naval base at Libau in occupied Latvian Courland. In June 1916, in an airplane hangar at Libau, Plüschow married. He also wrote his first book, The Adventures of the Aviator from Tsingtau, which sold more than 700,000 copies. In 1918, his son, Guntolf Plüschow, was born.

1918 was a year of profound crisis in Germany. In November, Wilhelm II, German Emperor, was forced to flee to the Netherlands as his nation dissolved into chaos. In 1919, the Treaty of Versailles was imposed on Germany by her victorious enemies, and several military and civil revolts took place. Kapitänleutnant [lieutenant commander] Plüschow refused to participate. Instead, at age 33, he reluctantly resigned from the Reichsmarine.

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