Tributes paid to 'longest serving' British prisoner of war, Alfie Fripp

Bournemouth Echo: HERO: Alfie Fripp, 98 HERO: Alfie Fripp, 98

SECOND World War veteran Alfie Fripp – who spent almost all the conflict in a prison camp – has died aged 98.

Alfie was believed to be the oldest and one of the longest serving prisoners of war and was detained at the Stalag Luft III camp where his comrades’ escape attempts inspired the film The Great Escape.

The Southbourne resident was photographing the movements of the German military from a Mk1 Blenheim plane when it was shot down and he was taken prisoner with the words “For you the war is over.”

The war was only three weeks old and he was kept prisoner for the rest of it. Alfie was held at 12 different PoW camps during his five years and seven months’ captivity.

Stalag Luft III became the scene of two daring escapes, later immortalised in hit films The Wooden Horse and The Great Escape.

Alfie used his job of picking up parcels from the railway station to procure items to help with escape efforts. He was transferred to another camp six months before the Great Escape when 76 of his allied comrades made it out of the tunnel in March 1944.

All but three were recaptured and Hitler ordered 50 of them to be shot, including Alfie’s pilot and friend, Mike Casey.

Alfie was originally from Wimborne and ran the science laboratory at Brockenhurst College after leaving the RAF.

He and his late wife Vera had two daughters, Sue Dorrell and Anne Gibbs, and he became a grandfather and great-grandfather.

He died in Bournemouth hospital yesterday surrounded by family following an ear infection, heart attack and treatment for water on the lungs.

Anne praised the “wonderful” nurses at the hospital and said her dad was still in high spirits the day before he died. She said: “He will be very sadly missed.

“What a great man he was, always smiling and always positive.”

Comments (5)

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11:16am Fri 4 Jan 13

stormcreator says...

We had the privilege of meeting Alfie in the summer at the unveiling of Jon Egging's memorial, Absolutely lovely and fascinating man.Having seen his medals etc I approached him and asked how many missions he completed, his answer with a twinkle in his eye was "half a mission" he then went on to explain what had happened,as with all veterans he made light of it and neglected to tell that he,d been on the "long March" at the end of the war, a truly horrific act of atrocity carried out by the Nazis in their final days.
Rest in Peace Alfie, Gone but never forgotten.
We had the privilege of meeting Alfie in the summer at the unveiling of Jon Egging's memorial, Absolutely lovely and fascinating man.Having seen his medals etc I approached him and asked how many missions he completed, his answer with a twinkle in his eye was "half a mission" he then went on to explain what had happened,as with all veterans he made light of it and neglected to tell that he,d been on the "long March" at the end of the war, a truly horrific act of atrocity carried out by the Nazis in their final days. Rest in Peace Alfie, Gone but never forgotten. stormcreator

12:38pm Fri 4 Jan 13

elite50 says...

This bloke was the stuff that heroes are made out of.
Ordinary bloke, unassuming, an inspiration.
Some of our polliticians need to take note!
This bloke was the stuff that heroes are made out of. Ordinary bloke, unassuming, an inspiration. Some of our polliticians need to take note! elite50

12:55pm Fri 4 Jan 13

iliverighthere says...

What a honour it is to have you as my grandad.you touched so many people in so many ways,you kept laughing and joking no matter how bad things could get.
A true gentleman to the end.
Im going to miss you so deeply. rest now grandad,nans waiting for you. you will always be in my heart, and never forgotten. xxxxxxxxxx.
What a honour it is to have you as my grandad.you touched so many people in so many ways,you kept laughing and joking no matter how bad things could get. A true gentleman to the end. Im going to miss you so deeply. rest now grandad,nans waiting for you. you will always be in my heart, and never forgotten. xxxxxxxxxx. iliverighthere

1:47pm Fri 4 Jan 13

elite50 says...

iliverighthere wrote:
What a honour it is to have you as my grandad.you touched so many people in so many ways,you kept laughing and joking no matter how bad things could get.
A true gentleman to the end.
Im going to miss you so deeply. rest now grandad,nans waiting for you. you will always be in my heart, and never forgotten. xxxxxxxxxx.
WOW!
You made a 70 year old "hard man" cry!
Well said!
[quote][p][bold]iliverighthere[/bold] wrote: What a honour it is to have you as my grandad.you touched so many people in so many ways,you kept laughing and joking no matter how bad things could get. A true gentleman to the end. Im going to miss you so deeply. rest now grandad,nans waiting for you. you will always be in my heart, and never forgotten. xxxxxxxxxx.[/p][/quote]WOW! You made a 70 year old "hard man" cry! Well said! elite50

11:32am Sun 6 Jan 13

Deejaycee says...

Just found out the sad news about Alfie, I actually live next door to him
in the same block of flats.
I'm totally gutted. Never known a nicer man. Really going to miss you Alfie.
Just found out the sad news about Alfie, I actually live next door to him in the same block of flats. I'm totally gutted. Never known a nicer man. Really going to miss you Alfie. Deejaycee

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