In Barlinnie's chequered 142 year history only a relatively small number of prisoners have managed to escape.

However like anyone connected with Barlinnie their stories were as dramatic as any told about the prison.

The first recorded escape was in 1934 when there were four separate jail breaks by 12 men.

Eleven were recaptured though one appeared to have drowned during his flight from captivity. However eleven years later it would be a more unusual escape that would grab the headlines.

In August, 1943, convicted housebreaker Leonard Wilson and four other prisoners were given unsupervised painting work to do in the Governor’s house.

The 23-year-old pinched a pair of trousers with braces, a hat, a coat, and a watch - all belonging to the Governor - and made his escape.

Wilson was travelling on a Glasgow tram when he was spotted by an off-duty police officer who made an immediate arrest.

Appearing in court, Wilson admitted to the theft and was sentenced to an extra three months imprisonment.

Read more: The Barlinnie story: From beacon of reform to notorious superjail

The most sensational escape in the history of Barlinnie belongs to Sammy "Dandy" McKay. In the summer of 1959 he had robbed a branch of the Clydesdale Bank in Shettleston, in the east end of Glasgow and escaped with £40,000 - an incredible sum then and the equivalent of almost £800,000 in today's money.

While on remand at Barlinnie Prison he made a daring escape and went on the run for almost a year on the proceeds of his bank robbery living the high life in New York, Miami, London and Ireland.

In fleeing Barlinnie he had sawed through the bars in his cell with a smuggled hacksaw blade. He also used knotted bedsheets to climb down a wall before running off through a turnip field before ensuring his getaway in a waiting car. That was just the start of a period on the run that seldom kept him out of the headlines.

He headed for London, then Southampton, where he booked himself into a luxury suite on the Queen Elizabeth, sailing first class to New York. Before he went to the USA he went down to London where he had plastic surgery to alter his appearance paying almost £90 (£1750 today) for the treatment.

However that Glasgow ailment homesickness soon got the better of him.

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He was not prepared to leave is family behind and his wife Mary didn't want to move to the USA. He finally decided to return home and had a house built in Dublin where he would be reunited with his wife and children.

However within a few months police raided the property after he had been spotted in public.  After 11 months on the run, he was back behind bars and back at Barlinnie prison from where he had escaped.

At his trial in the High Court in Glasgow in early 1961, he was given ten years for the robbery and escape. Before the verdict, McKay spoke to one newspaper about his escape from Barlinnie  McKay added: "The only bit that gave me any real bother was running through the turnip field in my bare feet and pyjamas."

The next recorded escape was by by John Steele in 1980, who would later become a member of the prison’s famous Special Unit. He scaled a shaft then abseiled 90ft to a drying green below. Following his recapture he was given an extra three years. Steele's younger brother was Joe Steele, wrongly convicted in 1983 of the murders of six members of the Doyle family in a fire at their home in Ruchazie, Glasgow.

John would later assist Joe in an escape in 1993 from Saughton Prison in Edinburgh as part of an ongoing protest against his conviction. Joe Steele was recaptured a few days later in London having chained himself to the gates of Buckingham Palace.

Read more: Barlinnie's prison siege of January 1987

In one interview in 2019 John Steele reflected on his spells in Barlinnie where his father had also served time. He added: "There's not a single prisoner who hasn't sat inside Barlinnie and thought about how to escape. It's part of being in there. You are always looking for a way out."

John Steele’s various other escape bids contributed to him being one of the most punished inmates in the Scottish prison system, because of the amount of time added on his sentences and lost remission.

He added: "In my father's day, the attitude was just get through the sentence. But my generation said get us out of here'."

There were two successful escapes in the 1980s - the last experienced by the prison.

One involved 39 year old John Dobbie who had been jailed in 1985 for 15 years for a violent armed raid on a post office in Easterhouse. He was later recaptured.

Around the same time John Duggan escaped by removing the bars from his cell window, climbing on to the roof used the telephone wires to climb on to the gatehouse roof.

He had also arranged for some friends to collect him in a getaway car. However they had failed to show up and he had to further his escape on foot.

After five days on the run the police got a phone call from his wife at their home in the Possilpark area of Glasgow to say that he wanted to give himself up. Life on the run, it appeared, wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

Duggan decided to go back to prison and complete his sentence.

He was later incarcerated in Peterhead Prison where he took part in a rooftop protest. He famously had a banner saying : "f... Nelson Mandela. Free me."

With modern electronic locking systems and 24 hour CCTV surveillance systems, escape from Barlinnie, thankfully from a public perspective, is almost an impossibility. But not so good news for the prisoners.