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George William Wiley


Son of Morley Riley and Ethel May (nee Root) Wiley of Windsor, Ontario and brother of Marjorie Rhea, George enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1940. He flew a Kittyhawk for the 112th Squadron (RAF), and while supporting the British 8th Army in Tunisia his plane crashed. Flight Lieutenant Wiley was taken Prisoner of War in March 1943 and was sent to Stalag Luft 3. On the night of March 24th, 1944, he and seventy-nine other prisoners escaped from the prison camp through a 400 foot long tunnel. This would become known as “The Great Escape”. He was one of six Canadian airmen shot after being recaptured during escape from Stalag Luft 3.

In 1963, this true escape incident from World War II inspired a movie. The film was called The Great Escape, and starred Steve McQueen, James Garner and Charles Bronson. The movie was directed by John Sturges.

Born: January 24, 1922 London, Ontario
Enlistment: December 4, 1940, Windsor, Ontario
Military Service Number: J/7234
Age: 22
Force: Air Force
Unit: Royal Canadian Air Force
Division: 112 (R.A.F.) Squadron
Citation(s): 1939-45 Star, Africa Star with North Africa 1942-43 Clasp, Defence Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp, War Medal 1939-45, Mentioned in despatches.
Burial Information: POZNAN OLD GARRISON CEMETERY , Poland



Barris, Ted. The Great Escape: a Canadian story. Toronto, Ont: Thomas Allen Publishers, 2013.

Great Escape (DVD documentary)

"George William Wiley"

Vinyl and Acrylic on  1/2" Plexiglass

24" Diameter

Christy Litster, 2017

Poster for the movie, "The Great Escape", released in 1963 starring Steve McQueen 

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