Paul Brickhill was born in Melbourne, Australia and began his career as a journalist at the Sydney Sun. He joined the war effort, trained as a pilot, was shot down in March 1943 and sent to Stalag Luft III. In addition to helping plan the famous escape, he put his writing skills to good use.
His famous book came next
(Source: a reprint of the April 1991 obituary in The Guardian: "Inescapable fears of the wartime hero".)
The Great Escape was published in 1950 or 1951, and was the primary source for the 1963 movie of the same name.
Two of his later books were also made into movies: