At seventeen Ken Rees craved danger and excitement; fast planes and cars; rugby, speed and women. Then war came and by the age of twenty-one he had already trained to be a pilot officer; flown fifty-six hair-raising bomber missions by night over Germany; taken part in the siege of Malta; got married; been shot down into a remote Norwegian lake; been captured, questioned by the Gestapo, then sent to Stalag Luft III, where he participated in and survived the Great Escape and terrible forced march to Bremen.
Sadly he recently passed away after many years living (relatively) peacefully on Anglesey, North Wales. He found time to research and write his memoirs with Karen Arrandale, and has vividly recreated what it was like to be in charge of an air crew at such a tender age with responsibility for a large and expensive aircraft going 300 miles behind enemy lines, at the same time avoiding flak and enemy fighters and witnessing other comrades being shot down out of the sky. Moreover, he writes movingly about his experiences after capture in the prisoner of war camp, about the build-up to the Escape and the aftermath of it.
Ken’s story has it all, excitement, accuracy, pace and drama and he describes events which have become legendary as the former Kriegies – his friends and colleagues – pass out of this world.
Wing Commander Ken Rees has
been interviewed extensively for newspapers, radio and television, not
least during his appearances on programmes like ‘Behind the Wire’.
He was an excellent raconteur with many contacts in the RAF, PoW groups and the rugby world, having in the past captained London Welsh and trialled for Wales.