Father’s WW1 escape featured on TV show

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AN ACCLAIMED poet has visited Emsworth as part of a television special devoted to the First World War.

Simon Armitage has written seven new poems that will feature in a Culture Show special The Great War: An Elegy on Saturday.

He spoke to Laurie Vaughan, whose father, Lieutenant Leonard James Bennett, a navigator, was captured when his plane went down on a reconnaissance mission.

He was imprisoned in Holzminden prison camp in Germany but he and 28 other prisoners managed to tunnel out and he was among 10 who made it home.

Laurie, from Emsworth, reads Simon’s poem Lazarus, which celebrates the great escape from a camp that had been regarded as escape-proof.

He said: ‘A century ago this year, the First World War began. The Great War – but great only in its scale of catastrophe. Well over 700,000 British soldiers died in the bloodbath that followed. I don’t have a head for numbers – that statistic is incomprehensible. It’s about human beings.’

The show is on BBC2 at 8pm.