Flight Lieutenant Carrington is hunted down in some German woods, captured and beaten by the Gestapo.
Lieutenant Colonel John Preston arrives at Colditz Castle. The first thing he sees is a ludicrous and futile attempt at escape by Simon Carter, who gets thirty days in solitary confinement for this attempt.
The German Kommandant at Colditz farewells his son Erich who has just joined the Luftwaffe.
The Kommandant and Lieutenant Colonel Preston have the first of many interviews together. Both had served in the First World War, and both are gentlemen. Lieutenant Colonel Preston agrees that the British will stop mixing with the Poles in the castle if in return his men receive their Red Cross parcels. He also quotes from the Geneva Convention, which he knows by heart, and by this means is allowed to visit Carter in solitary, where he learns about Carter's family. We learn that Colonel Preston is married to a girl called Caroline, who is driving an ambulance in the Blitz, and that the couple have two young children.
Colonel Preston then turns his attention to the men, and points out that their childish antics have done nothing except to put the Germans on their guard. He is a pragmatic man who points out that any escape attempt should be entered into with a great deal of thought and planning; he is also acutely aware that the Germans have every right to shoot anybody who is caught attempting to escape and he is genuinely concerned about the welfare of the men under his command.
The Red Cross parcels arrive, but shortly afterwards Lieutenant Colonel Preston is made to look dishonourable by the actions of one of his men, who had actively assisted one of the Poles to escape through the British quarters. Rather than give the man away, Preston does fourteen days' solitary in his place, but not before he has torn a strip off the men, telling them that they have all behaved like a lot of undisciplined schoolboys. Feeling very chastened indeed, the men watch as the American Officer Carrington is brought into the prison by Gestapo officers. Share this article with your friends