News

Keith's Great Escape

World War II veteran Keith Thiele is humble about his adventure escaping from a prisoner of war camp.
World War II veteran Keith Thiele is humble about his adventure escaping from a prisoner of war camp.

By PATRICIA COATS

KEITH Thiele laughes at the idea he could be compared to Steve McQueen in the classic movie The Great Escape.

But the New Zealand pilot's story of escaping from a German prisoner of war (POW) camp during World War II is far more fascinating than fiction.

Mr Thiele, who settled in Bundaberg a few years ago, was bombing trains and transport vehicles in Germany for the Royal Air Force when he was shot down in 1945.

"I landed about 200 yards away from 200 Germans waiting for a train - you could wait for a train for 10 days to two weeks in Germany at that time,'' Mr Thiele said.

"Theirs had just come into view and I'd clobbered it.''

But this unfortunate turn of events did not cause Mr Thiele major concern - two months later he was back in England after having sneaked out of his POW camp, stolen a motorbike and ridden into Allied territory.

MR Thiele was 18 when he joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1939, and after training in England he was seconded to the RAF.

By 24 he had received the Distinguished Service Order once and the Distinguished Flying Cross with two bars.

Although the POW camp was manned by a couple of German guards Mr Thiele and friend Terry Spencer had no problems escaping.

"We were worried about the retreating SS troops, we'd heard they were killing all the prisoners they found,'' he said.

So they sneaked out of the compound and down to the local village, where they took a motorbike and headed west.

"I had this little compass that fit just right between my toes and I had managed to keep it through all the searches,'' Mr Thiele said.

Mr Thiele eventually made it back to his base in Holland, surprising his mates.

"It was about six o'clock and I walked into the bar and slapped my CO on the back and said 'how 'bout you buy me a drink','' he said.

As one of New Zealand's most highly decorated airmen Mr Thiele received the salute of the Anzac parade in Bundaberg yesterday.



Don’t go chasing waterfalls…find them on these drives!

BRISBANE isn’t all bright lights and city slickers.

Science Festival seriously awesome

Don't miss the World Science Festival Brisbane!

CALLING everyone who wants to see something totally cool.

Drink where the cool kids do this summer

There are a bunch of new bars open in Brisbane, make sure you're there!

CHECK out these new funky bars.

Discover Brisbane’s laneway gems

Brisbane's laneways will surprise you.

NOT all of Brisbane City is as it seems…

Top five things to experience this summer in Brisbane

Tangalooma is amazing if you're keen for a dive, kayak or swim.

THIS summer get out and explore your capital city.

Your boots are made for walking these tours

Brisbane Greeters tours are a great way to learn the local history of the city.

YOU don’t need a bike or bus for a seriously good tour of Brisbane.

Is Brisbane the new arts and culture capital?

Check out GOMA's latest exhibition - it's all about hair! GOMA 10 Ambassador Patience Hodgson visits Nervescape V 2016 by Icelandic artist Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir (aka Shoplifter), commissioned for ‘Sugar Spin: you, me, art and everything’ at the Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane. 
Photograph: Natasha Harth, QAGOMA

THE rest of the world should be envious of this line-up!

Small slices of Bargara set to hit the market

PROGRESS: Operational works for a 30-lot subdivision along Bargara Rd have been lodged with the council.

Some blocks will have direct golf course access

Government makes it easier to apply for bill help

SIMPLIFYING APPLICATION: Mark Henley, the CEO of QCOSS, saysd the changes will reduce barriers for people applying for help.

QCOSS welcomes simplified application process

Bryce says goodbye to Bundy and Trace

SPLITTING UP: Bryce Ruthven is Sydney-bound after two years of presenting Hitz939's breakfast show with Tracey Sergiacomi.

Host leaving breakfast show for job in Sydney

Local Partners

Furious Price wants to quit I'm a Celeb after clash with Keira

AN IRATE Steve Price has threatened to quit I'm A Celebrity after a series of drama-filled clashes with Keira Maguire.

Novel with lots of heart

The romance in A Quiet Kind of Thunder was only one of the joys of the book.

Book proves to be a gem with layers

Bryce says goodbye to Bundy and Trace

SPLITTING UP: Bryce Ruthven is Sydney-bound after two years of presenting Hitz939's breakfast show with Tracey Sergiacomi.

Host leaving breakfast show for job in Sydney

Bliss N Eso announce tribute show for stuntman

Bliss N Eso will play a tribute show at Coolangatta in honour of Johann Ofner. The stuntman died during the filming of the group's Friend Like You film clip earlier this year.

BLISS N Eso to play tribute show to raise funds for killed stuntman

MOVIE REVIEW: Trainspotting sequel as good as original

Ewen Bremner in a scene from the movie T2: Trainspotting.

Director Danny Boyle proves sequels can be done well.

How Karl Stefanovic's wife, kids found out about girlfriend

Karl Stefanovic and Jasmine Yarbrough after their day on Sydney Harbour. Picture: Jonathan Ng

Pictures splashed across tabloid were shock to family

WATCH: Toowoomba opera hopeful's incredible voice

Kaitlyn Orange attends Opera Queensland auditions at Empire Theatres for Opera at Jimbour, Saturday, February 18, 2017.

Opera hopefuls vie for parts in performance at Jimbour House

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Popular island resort sells to loaded international investor

OUR PICK: Chris Foey's colourful shot of one of Gladstone's great tourism hot spots, Heron Island.

International investor snaps up piece of Gladstone paradise.

Expert: Why renters, home buyers may struggle

Matusik Property Insights director Michael Matusik.

What's next for the city's housing market

Massive seaside development of 3200 lots

DESIRABLE LIFESTYLE: The masterplan for the proposed Elliott Heads Estate.

"There's nothing else left along the coastline of Queensland now"

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!