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Rolex watch of WW2 ‘Great Escape’ hero executed by the Gestapo sells for £165,000 at auction

| December 3, 2015

A rare Rolex watch that once belonged to Flt/Lt Jack Williams, who was executed by the Gestapo after taking part in the ‘Great Escape’, has been sold for £165,000 by auction on Wednesday 2nd December 2015 at the Bourne End Auction Rooms in Bourne End.

After the war the watch, a 1940s  black dialled Rolex Oyster Chronograph wristwatch, was returned to Flt/Lt Williams family by a fellow POW.

Flt/Lt John Francis Williams, also known as ‘Jack’ was the 67th Allied Officer to escape through tunnel ‘Harry’ during the Great Escape in March 1944. He was also one of the 50 selected and executed by the Gestapo on the direct orders of Hitler.

The Rolex watch was ordered whilst he was a Prisoner of War in Stalag Luft III and sent to him in the camp.

Also in the sale were other personal effects belonging to Flt/Lt Williams including :

  • His WW2 medals
  • ‘Mentioned in Despatches’ Oak leaf
  • Irvin Gold Caterpillar Club pin
  • RAF brevets
  • Correspondence from Stalag Luft III POW camp
  • Personal, original, wartime photographs
  • Other related MOD and RAFA letters and copies of newspaper cuttings from the time.

Further information on the sale of the Rolex watch and Flt/Lt Williams can be found on the Bourne End Auctions Rooms website.

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