John Bigelow Dodge
Information by Tim Caroll, English author (
(Tim Caroll wrote a book on The Great Escape which has recently been published )

John Bigleow Dodge, born New York May 15, 1894, was the great, great, grandson of William Earl Dodge, whose statue stands outside the New York Public Library. He also was the grandson of John Bigelow, Abraham Lincoln's ambassador to France. John Bigelow, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentary Appointment 15 Mar 1865.

John Bigelow Dodge was an adventurer born in New York May 15, 1894 and educated St Mark's School in the US and McGill University in Canada. He became a naturalized British Citizen in 1915. He was vaguely related on his mother's side to Winston Churchill and fought for Britain in the two world wars eventually becoming a prisoner of the Luftwaffe.

He was given a commission in the Royal Navy's Hood Battalion in the Great War and served at Antwerp and then Gallipoli where he won the Distinguished Service Cross.
In 1916, he transferred to the British Army and was wounded twice in France. In 1918 he was commanding the 16th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment, and won two mentions- in-despatches and the Distinguished Service Order.

In the Second World War he won the MC before being captured. He was in the Army but the Kommandant of Dulag Luft where Air Force prisoners were taken, quite liked the idea of having a cousin of Winston Churchill's in his jail, and so bagged him for himself.

He served on London County Council as member for Mile End (east London) from 1925-31. Failed in his bid to get into Parliament, but became a member of the London Stock Exchange and took up the directorship of a New York bank.

He joined the Middlesex Regiment in the Second World War, was wounded in France, and taken into Luftwaffe custody. He was one of the 'Great Escapers' immortalised by the Hollywood movie starring Dick Attenborough and Steve McQueen.

There was a huge controversy over the escape from Stalag Luft III, as the Germans murdered 50 of the men. John Bigelow Dodge was one of the lucky ones. He was sent to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp as a 'prominenten' - a VIP to be used as a hostage in bargaining with the Allies. Because of his close connection to the British Prime Minister, the Germans took him out of Sachsenhausen and sent him home via Switzerland to try and do a deal with Winston Churchill. To no avail of course. His experience would indicate that he would be of value to the Allies after the war in interrogating potential German war criminals.

He tried to stand for Parliament twice but failed, and had instead a successful career on the London Stock Exchange. He was married to Minerva Arrington Sherman and had two sons. He died in 1960.