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Donald Pleasence was initially a conscientious objector, but later changed his stance and was commissioned into the Royal Air Force, serving with 166 Squadron, RAF Bomber Command. His Avro Lancaster was shot down on 31 August 1944, during a raid on Agenville. He was taken prisoner and placed in a German prisoner-of-war camp, where he produced and acted in plays. -- He later played Flight Lt. Colin Blythe in The Great Escape .