File No.:

Title: Location of the escape hide-out of Colonel Warrack
Investigation made at
: Room 8, Building 24 "Graeme Warrack Gebouw", Royal Netherlands Army Koning Willem III Barracks at Frankenlaan 70, 7312 TG Apeldoorn, The Netherlands
(52°12'07.5"N 5°55'39.0"E)
Period Covered
: 26 SEP- 3 NOV 1944
: SEP2020
Case Classification: Location of Historic Events
Status of Case: Case Closed

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From the 1977 Dutch publication "Zwevend naar de Dood" (to death by glider) by Th. Peelen and A.L.J. van Vliet (ISBN 90 269 4551 5) this agency was familiar with the escape-by-hiding-in-place of Colonel Colonel Graeme Matthew Warrack, Headquarters Royal Army Medical Corps, 1st Airborne Division, British Army No.: 57723. Warrack had been the Chief Medical Officer of the 1st British Airborne Division during the Battle of Arnhem in September 1944. After the battle he had been taken prisoner by the Germans and under their supervision established the Airborne Military Hospital in de German-occupied Dutch Royal Netherlands Army Barracks in Apeldoorn tending to as many as 1750 wounded British and Polish Airborne soldiers. After he learned of the Germans' decision to relocate their prisoners to POW Camps in Germany, Warrack decided to escape to friendly lines. He did this by hiding in an empty space above a cupboard in his office for approximately 12 days and then, at night, walk out the building and the barracks. After several months he was able to rejoin the British Army.
This agency visited Warrack's office and void space above the cupboard where the Colonel had his 'hidey-hole'.


The story of the escape is best described in detail in the recommendation for awarding Warrack as Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

"Colonel Warrack, after remaining behind to care for the wounded at Oosterbeek, was taken prisoner on 26th September 1944, and was the same day transferred to Apeldoorn. As senior medical officer he did everything possible to ameliorate the conditions of the Prisoners of War, and to assist escapers. At the same time he planned his own escape, which he proposed to put into effect immediately prior to the closing of the hospital. During the confusion of the main evacuation of Prisoners of War on 18th October 1944, he climbed into a previous prepared hideout, a hollow space 10 feet x 3 feet x 18 inches, situated above two cupboards in his own room.
A small section of the medical staff were allowed to remain in the hospital for a further 4 days, and at Colonel Warrack's suggestion, his room was used as the Dental Centre. He was thus able to leave his hideout for a few hours each evening until the departure of the rear party on 26th October 1944.
Whilst the Germans were removing all equipment, Colonel Warrack had to remain hidden for a continuous stretch of 48 hours. When he emerged to explore the possibilities of leaving the building he was seen from outside, and, unable to reach his room before the search party arrived, he hid under a bed in one of the wards. He was not discovered and was able to return to the cupboard. Except for half an hour each day, he stayed there until all sounds of activity had ceased on 1st November 1944.
Before he could affect his escape, the building was occupied as a barracks, the Commanding Officer of this unit acquiring the room in which Colonel Warrack was hidden. It was not until the evening of 3rd November 1944 that he was able to move from the cupboard. Although the moon was full and there was a guard on duty below, Colonel Warrack climbed out of the window and crawling beside the perimeter fence, found a break in the wire.
[…]…he finally reached safety on 5th February 1945."

Source: Recommendation for Award for Warrack, Graeme Matthew
Reference: WO 373/64/167
Date of announcement in London Gazette: 20 September 1945

Hiding place rediscovered
In 1946, the training center of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (Military Police) was established at the barracks, and there was nothing to hint at the years that the German military had occupied the building. Just as before the war, Graeme Warrack's room once again served as an office for officers. The fact that buildings 83, 84 and 85 had housed almost two thousand prisoners of war had faded into oblivion. Once again, Graeme Warrack's closet became a place for files and piles of paper. And no-one would ever have known what had happened in that room and in the space above the wall closets. That is until 1969, when one of the contributors to Graeme
Warrack's book ["Travel by Dark"; originally printed by Harvill Press in 1963; for this study the 2014 revised and enlarged edition is used; ISBN 978-90-812703-5-9] was working in Apeldoorn. He wanted to try and find Warrack's hiding place. On the basis of a little sketch that Warrack had made, it was easy for him to find the buildings where the wounded prisoners of war had stayed, as well as Warrack's bedroom. In all those years, nothing had changed. In 1969, these buildings served as accommodation for conscript members of the Marechaussee in training. Graeme Warrack's former bedroom was now the squadron commander's office. The commander immediately gave permission for the office to be investigated. The ceiling board in the closet showed clear signs that it had once been loose.
The two upper planks and the two screws on the right of the plank had been removed. This had to be Warrack's hiding place! On first inspection, there did not seem to be anything in the hiding place, but closer investigation revealed small traces of Warrack's stay twenty-five years earlier: shreds of an English magazine, half-burnt matches that Warrack used as pencils, totally dried out apple cores, pieces of biscuit, toffee wrappers.

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Fig. Toffee wrappers found in the hidey-hole
Photo from the book" Zwevend naar de Dood"

Graeme Warrack Building and Graeme Warrack Room
In 2009, renovations and refurbishment work commenced at the Koning Willem III barracks, including the former Airborne Military Hospital. The buildings were fully adapted to modern accommodation requirements. Because of its historical significance, Graeme Warrack's room was left intact. What was more, the room was even given a special status – the 'exhibition room'. The room was redecorated, and both wall closets were painted in the colors Cambridge Blue and Maroon, the colors of the 1st British Airborne Division. Captain of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee Michiel Tattersall took it upon himself to transform the room into a space that would reflect the period of the Airborne Military Hospital. This was done by displaying many original pieces of British equipment, German and British medical attributes, photos, weapons, household items, etcetera. In the room there is also a list of the names of the around 1800 prisoners of war who stayed at the Airborne Military Hospital at the time. One of the display cases shows Dr. Warrack's decorations.

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Colonel Warrack's former quarters now features a permanent exhibition on the Battle of Arnhem,
the Royal Army Medical Corps and the Colonel in particular.

Weapons and ammunition of the British Army.

 The space above the wall closets where Warrack had hid has of course been kept in its original state.

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The cupboard with Army inventory number "8b" is left intact
and with the aid of a a ladder the room above its ceiling can be viewed.

Impression of the interior of the Colonel's hidey-hole
with the addition of a mannequin dressed as the Colonel, a bed pan and illumination.

After the renovations, the official opening of the former Airborne Military Hospital was held on 19SEP2012. The ceremonial ribbon that was stretched across the entrance to the building was cut by Colonel Warrack’s son, Bill Warrack, who had come from Scotland with his son in law and nephew especially for the occasion. The building has been called the Graeme Warrack building ever since.

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Building 24 on Koning Willem III Kazerne barracks is named
"Graeme Warrack Gebouw".
It features a plaque on the wall with a protective cover when we photographed it.

Source: “Airborne Military Hospital at the ‘Koning Willem III’ barracks in Apeldoorn 25 September 1944 – 26 October 1944 The Graeme Warrack Building”.
Publication by the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (; November 2017

The Greame Warrack Building is on military property. On several occasions, such as Dutch national Museum Weekend and commemorative events, the Greame Warrack Room is open to the general public. Otherwise, appointments have to made with the proper authorities. This agency was allowed to visit the exhibits and hidey-hole several times; courtesy of Captain Michiel Tattersall; Royal Netherlands Marechaussee.

Photos taken on 7 & 23SEP2020

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3) 4)

1) The Koning Willem III Kazerne was officially inaugurated on 10MAY1939,
exactly one year before Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands.
2) Now & Then comparison of a scene from the TV film "Arnhem, the story of an escape"
being filmed on the same location in 1976.
Note that modern cars parked outside the building are merely obscured by 'extras'.
In the "Now" photo Battle Detective Ivo discusses the building's historic role with Captain Tattersall.
3) & 4) The open window in Colonel Warrack's office through which he escaped on 26OCT1944


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