Great Escape Prisoner Charles Clarke dies aged 95

Tributes have been paid to former Great Escape prisoner of war and Lancaster crewman Charles Clarke who has died aged 95.

Air Commodore Charles Clarke OBE, became a teenage prisoner of war in 1944 when his plane was shot down and he was captured by the Nazis.

He was held at the Stalag Luft 3 prisoner camp at the time of The Great Escape.

Cdr Clarke was described as a “giant of our nation” by John Nichol, the former RAF navigator who was himself taken prisoner during the first Gulf War.

He tweeted: “V sad to say Air Cdre Charles Clarke has died aged 95. Shot down in 1944, 3 of his crew perished & he ended up in Stalag Luft 3 just before the Great Escape.

“He was a wonderful man, a great friend, a supporter of countless charities & a giant of our nation. Blue skies Sir. RIP”

RAF Cosford in Shropshire also paid tribute to Cdr Clarke, who visited the training station in 2018 with fellow POWs.

“Devastated to hear this evening that Air Commodore Charles Clarke OBE has died. Lancaster bomb aimer and POW, he continued to inspire us all to the last,” the station tweeted.