Bio / Text:
Couresty of rcafassociation.ca ...
BIRKLAND, F/L Henry (J5233) - Mention in Despatches - No.72 Squadron (deceased) - Award effective 8 June 1944 as per London Gazette of that date and AFRO 1729/44 dated 11 August 1944.
Home in Calgary; enlisted Vancouver. Trained at No.1 ITS (graduated 15 November 1940), No.11 EFTS (graduated 5 January 1941) and No.9 SFTS (graduated 26 April 1941). Missing, POW, 7 November 1941 (Spitfire W3367).
Murdered by Gestapo, as a POW, 25 March 1944 (shot following the Great Escape). No citation in AFRO.
From Wikipedia ...
"For the Great Escape operation Birkland, an experienced former miner, became one of the leading and most energetic of the six hundred officers involved in tunnelling. He was regarded as “the toughest tunneller of them all”. In the escape plan his group of escapers were known as “the hard arsers” for their plan to avoid public transport and travel on foot a considerable distance across country."