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Evacuating Nazi Germany

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'I never thought I would see the end of the war'
Ken Adam Artist
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I never thought I would see, there... I never thought I would see the end of the war because, you know, we were always playing poker and at time I thought... you know, how... how lucky can you be? You know, we had that, tremendous losses in... in '44, you know, in the Beachhead invasion. And, so I felt I'm living on borrowed... borrowed time, so every time and... and you know, since they couldn't get any replacements for us because they had a lot of volunteers at Lasham wanting to fly Typhoons or fighters, but nobody volunteered any longer for the rocket Typhoons because we had big losses. So, the Air Ministry decided that... to give us 48 hours off every four weeks, fly our plane to Gatwick or Northolt and have a 48-hour leave. And, very often, on the day we were supposed to fly, you know, back to England we had to do an operation and one became very superstitious because quite a number of us were shot down, or something, crashed, just on the day they were supposed to fly to London, to England. And, so for me it was just a question of time, you know.

[Q] But, now we know the answer to how lucky you can get, very lucky by the sound of it.

Very lucky, yeah, yeah.

Sir Kenneth Adam (1921-2016), OBE, born Klaus Hugo Adam, was a production designer famous for his set designs for the James Bond films of the 1960s and 1970s. Initially, he trained as an architect in London, but in October 1943, he became one of only two German-born fighter pilots to fly with the RAF in wartime. He joined 609 Squadron where he flew the Hawker Typhoon fighter bomber. After the war, he entered the film industry, initially as a draughtsman on This Was a Woman. His portfolio of work includes Barry Lyndon and The Madness of King George; he won an Oscar for both films. Having a close relationship with Stanley Kubrick, he also designed the set for the iconic war room in Dr Strangelove. Sir Ken Adam was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: WWII, 1944, Lasham, Gatwick, Northolt, England, London

Duration: 2 minutes, 14 seconds

Date story recorded: December 2010 and January 2011

Date story went live: 18 November 2011