Why is Colditz so famous?
The current situation
Description of the Castle
Getting to Colditz
About this Website
British Declaration of War
Help to support this website
Return to main Index
Views outside the Castle: Northwest
The first picture on this page shows the garden [also known as the Orchard] below the northwestern terrace. The building in the background is the north side of the guardhouse. [Photo credit: Melvyn R. Lawes]
The next two pictures give a close-up of the guardhouse:
...and then three shots depicting the Cellar house, the building that housed the Sickbay, Parcels Office, cellar staircase, Belgian and Polish quarters, and the office of Gephard, the German Regimental Sergeant Major. Also prominent is the Round Tower at the extreme north-western corner of the Castle, on the West Terrace above the garden. Note also the asymmetric pattern of some of the windows.
The roof of the northernmost gable of the Cellar house [on the left in the pictures above] is where the Colditz Glider would have been launched from. The glider was built in the upper attic which is just visible projecting over the Cellar house roof in the left side of the first of the three pictures above.
Don Thom's Escape Attempt
While on exercise on the Western terrace during a bout of Solitary confinement, Flt. Lt. Don Thom, RCAF, made a daring escape attempt. Leaping over the balustrade, he broke his fall by grabbing the bars on the windows of the spiral staircase in the Guardhouse - the 'sloping' windows visible in these pictures are the ones he used - and landed in the garden. He was eventually stopped by barbed wire. These photos show the route from above and below respectively. The green door on the upper terrace is the exit from the solitary cells via the guardhouse.
The route is also visible as part of this video on YouTube - opens in a new tab or window.
The next picture was taken from a small metal gantry directly at the foot of the guardhouse building to the west. The view is of the 'precipice' to the west of the Castle; it is marked as such on the maps in Maj. P. R. Reid's books, but it is not quite as sheer as a 'precipice' would be i.e. a vertical drop. However it's still pretty steep - I wouldn't like to go over there without a rope. In fact I wouldn't like to go over there at all, being terrified of heights...
Here is a view of the Western terrace and Round Tower from the guardhouse:
...and this is the view from the Terrace itself, looking out across the River Mulde to the pasture where the glider would probably have landed.
At the extreme right of the last picture, you can just see, in the grass, some bits of concrete sticking up. Those bits of concrete are the old footings of the 'pagoda' sentry tower that used to be there. They are visible in close-up in my video of the back of the Castle, and in this next picture:
Returning to the terrace for a moment, at the northern end of the terrace is a small round turret known as the Round Tower. During the war, the round tower had a machine gun post in the roof.
To next page: Outside the Castle - North and East
To previous page: Outside the Castle - Southwest
Return to photos index page