Dave is in his mid 30s and fast approaching 40, not something that he’s really looking forward to. Instead of having a mid-life crisis he does what any normal Kiwi would do: he plans to get a sweet as tattoo. Not wanting a dragon, koi carp or any of the usual bullshit tattoos on offer he looks to his family’s past for inspiration and comes across a picture of the plane that his grandfather piloted during World War II.
We follow Dave as he forgets all about his tattoo and instead begins to unravel his grandfather's World War II exploits.
Fred McKay was a RAF Mosquito pilot whose plane developed a fuel block whilst on a surveillance mission over Nazi occupied Belgium.
With his plane destroyed he is left deep behind enemy lines and with no other options Fred borrows clothes from the locals and makes a daring dash cross country and over the border to the relative safety of France.
What could have gone down as a heroic trek to freedom is spoiled by a bunch of Jerries who capture Dave's grandfather boarding a train in Paris.
He's quickly transported to Stalag Luft III, the infamous POW camp, featured in the Great Escape, he is heavily involved in The Wooden Horse escape, one of the most audacious in history but becomes captured after the first two men escape. After surviving interrogation from machinegun-toting guards, Fred remains a POW until the end of the war.
An amazing story for sure, but that's just the beginning. What Dave discovers next is startling, unexpected and poignant.
Almost to Freedom asks the difficult question of what happens to those that don't have great escapes?