Hero: British Soldier Horace Greasley

By | November 18, 2018

[November 18, 2018]  There are many photographs from World War II that tell a story if you look at them and understand a little about the war.  Below is one of my favorites.  It shows British soldier Horace Greasley looking through a barbed-wire defense at Nazi Heinrich Himmler1 (wearing spectacles).

Senior LeadershipHorace Greasley was a Prisoner of War in a prisoner camp and became famous for escaping over 200 times to visit his girlfriend; a local Jewish girl.  Why did he keep going back?  Loyalty.  He returned every time with extra food or other contraband to share with his fellow captives.  Greasley spent five years as a prisoner of war, during which time he served as a camp barber and worked in the marble quarries.

Greasley’s regiment landed in Normandy before the U.S. entered the war.  This invasion of the European mainland failed and it sent the allies reeling back to the coastline.  His unit was ordered to cover the retreat to Dunkirk where most were rescued.  Greasley and his unit were captured.

His ten-week trip to Holland was on foot by forced march in the winter and to Lamsdorf, Poland via train car was there was little food or water.  At Stalag VIIB 344, Greasley met Rosa Rauchbach; the daughter of a local worker.  Besides bringing in food from his “escapes” he also brought back radio parts so that his comrades could listen to news on the BBC. This did a lot to boost morale among the men.

British soldier Horace Greasley is a real hero.  He deserves our respect.2

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  1. The photograph is disputed but generally accepted as showing Horace Greasley.
  2. In 2008, his biography, “Do the Birds Still Sing in Hell?” was published. Two years after its release, he died at age 91.
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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

17 thoughts on “Hero: British Soldier Horace Greasley

  1. Martin Shiell

    Thanks for another thought-provoking article that lays out what it’s like to be a hero. You don’t have to do the greatest of things but you have to stand up against evil (real evil, not imagined evil) and help your fellow soldiers and teammates.

    Reply
    1. Darryl Sitterly

      Yes, but too many folks don’t know what evil really is. Just take a look at college campuses today.

      Reply
  2. Kenny Foster

    Loved you post today, Gen. Satterfield. Maybe you could publish another of your electronic books on this subject. I would like it. To read about heroes and to have references where we could read more is a good idea.

    Reply
  3. Ronny Fisher

    The allies had many heroes that sacrificed all to do, what we would call today, great things. They were dedicated and persistent. These are qualities often undervalued today when we have so much and are more free than ever before. People take these things for granted.

    Reply
  4. Greg Heyman

    Your entire series on heroes is a worthwhile read. I suggest that you send it to some American High Schools so those who are going to college can “see” more about the world than they will find in the ivory towers.

    Reply
  5. Len Jakosky

    I liked you blog post today and the entire heroes’ series. You can do another one anytime and there can never be enough. I enjoy the story. But I also research it a bit more in depth. Your article just whets my appetite. All thumbs up!

    Reply
  6. Doug Smith

    Honor, strength, persistence, belief in God, etc. all made it possible for Horace Greasley to survive the enormous obstacles put in front of him as a POW. He is indeed a hero.

    Reply
  7. Willie Shrumburger

    Yes, Greasely is a hero. What we see is that he spent five years in captivity and despite his enormous number of escapes; he never made it out to freedom. I guess his girlfriend had much to do with that. She was really pretty (just look at photos of her on the web).

    Reply
    1. Danny Burkholder

      Thanks Eric. I’ll go check it out at my local library. They are a pretty good place to get books like this.

      Reply
  8. Army Captain

    Great story. I suggest you read the book. I read it a few years ago. The book does have some drawbacks because Greasley seems to be bragging about what he did instead of telling a story of commitment and strength. He also spends too much time on the sex scenes with his girlfriend.

    Reply
  9. Janna Faulkner

    Wow, what a story? I’m surprised that I never heard of him. Maybe it’s because he’s British and I’m American. Anyway, he is still a hero to those who fought against the Axis of Evil during WWII.

    Reply
    1. Big Al

      Gen. Satterfield has had a long series of these heroes and I think most of them have been from World War 2.

      Reply

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