The Rome Escape Line: The Story of the British Organization in Rome Assisting Escaped Prisoners-of-War in 1943-44 (Paperback)

The Rome Escape Line: The Story of the British Organization in Rome Assisting Escaped Prisoners-of-War in 1943-44 By Sam Derry Cover Image

The Rome Escape Line: The Story of the British Organization in Rome Assisting Escaped Prisoners-of-War in 1943-44 (Paperback)

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"A brave man and a born story-teller, Sam Derry's account of how he set up the Rome Escape Line in WW2 (which smuggled thousands of Allied soldiers to safety) is a riveting read." Gavin Mortimer, author of David Stirling, The Phoney Major: The Life, Times and Truth about the Founder of the SAS.


One of the most extraordinary episodes of the Second World War, this is the story of how a British officer from a quiet market town in Nottinghamshire, and with the assistance of a Vatican-based Irish Monsignor, hid an army of over 4,000 escaped POWs in and around German occupied Rome.


In this authorized edition, told by Lt Col Sam Derry, having made his second getaway of the war by jumping in broad daylight from a prison train taking him from Italy to Germany, was smuggled into Rome in a cabbage cart, and then disguised as a Monsignor, into Vatican City to take command of a cloak and dagger organisation that kept thousands of men from falling into Nazi hands.

Keeping one step ahead of the Gestapo, Derry's organisation survived disasters, tortures and the execution of some of its members to hand over to the Allies an army that had been fed, clothed and housed by priests and brave Italian families in and around Rome under the very noses of the enemy.


When, in June 1944, Rome was about to be liberated by the Americans, Derry was the first 'Brit' to establish direct contact with the spearhead of the Allied advance, and able to radio information to arriving troops advising which route to take to avoid mined bridges.


This extraordinary story is told by an ordinary man from Newark, who before the war was a plumber and who became, by the end of the war, Head of MI9. His meticulous record keeping shows the Rome Escape Line saved the lives of 1695 British, 896 South African, 429 Russian, 425 Greek, 185 American POWs and others from more than 20 countries. Only 122 escapees and evaders were re-captured. Sadly, many Italians assisting were captured and shot.


"Sam Derry was the James Bond of the escape lines in Italy, working in the clandestine shadows of the Vatican to save the lives of Allied airmen and soldiers. The book shines a light on his immense courage, bravery and survival in the face of Nazi evil." Dr Helen Fry, author of MI9: A History of the Secret Service for Escape and Evasion in World War Two.

Product Details ISBN: 9781738422401
ISBN-10: 1738422402
Publisher: Ironmonger Publishing
Publication Date: October 21st, 2023
Pages: 266
Language: English