Jack Lyon 2.9.1917 – 8.3.2019

Jack Lyon

The RAF Benevolent Fund is saddened to hear of the loss of 101-year-old RAF veteran Jack Lyon, who passed away on Friday.

Jack joined the RAF aged 23 and flew with Bomber Command during the Second World War. In 1941 the former RAF navigator’s Whitley Mk5 struck flak just outside of Dusseldorf and the aircraft crash landed nearby. All the crew survived and were taken prisoner to Dulag Luft. Flight Lieutenant Jack Lyon was transferred to Stalag Luft III in September of that year where he was recruited as a ‘stooge’ or lookout for the Great Escape breakout bid. Jack was one of 200 prisoners who were lined up waiting to get out of the tunnel but the escape attempt was uncovered before he had chance to get away.

The RAF Benevolent Fund spoke to Jack in what could be his last interview as part of its commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Great Escape. The Fund will present The Great Escape with Dan Snow at the Hammersmith Apollo on 24 March to pay tribute to all the brave men who took part in the escape attempt. 

Image: Jack Lyon in his RAF uniform.

Air Vice-Marshal David Murray, Chief Executive of the RAF Benevolent Fund, said:

“Our condolences go to Jack Lyon’s family and friends at this sad time. Jack belonged to a generation of servicemen we are sadly losing as time goes on. His legacy and those of his brave comrades who planned and took part in the audacious Great Escape breakout, are the freedoms we enjoy today.

“Their tenacity and determination spoke volumes about the values and bravery of the entire RAF, in helping to win the fight against the Nazis. To truly pay tribute to his memory and all this who have gone before him, we must never forget. 

“Jack’s death is especially poignant as it comes just two weeks before the 75th anniversary of the Great Escape, on March 24.”

Download Jack Lyon’s interview, which we believe to be his last recorded. Find out more about the Great Escape 75th anniversary commemorations.

Top image: Jack Lyon, pictured in October.

Images: RAF Benevolent Fund

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