This article is based on the 'Mission Shelburne' chapter of Roger Huguen's 1976 book 'Par les nuits les plus longues'. I have translated and simplified the text to make it easier for the casual reader to follow the storyline - serious students should of course refer back to the original. I have retained a few French words (responsable, logeurs and convoyeuse for instance) as I haven't found better English equivalents.
I have added a few details on some of the military evaders. Please note however that because the original is a particularly long and detailed chapter, I have omitted most of the individual evader stories - a list of evaders taken out on the five Bonaparte operations is available elsewhere on this site. Note also that some of the details on this page may be updated as further information becomes available.
Lucian Dumais was a former Platoon Sergeant-Major in the Canadian Army. He was captured on the Dieppe raid of August 1942 but escaped from a train taking him to Germany. He made his way to Marseille where the Pat Line organised his evacuation from Canet Plage to Gibraltar on board the Seawolf. After a year back with the army, Dumais was recruited by MI9 as organiser for the Shelburn mission.
Raymond Labrosse was a twenty-two year old Canadian Army radio operator. Recruited by MI9, he parachuted into France in March 1943 with Val Williams for mission Oaktree. When that operation ultimately failed, Labrosse returned to England via the Pyrenees and promptly volunteered to go back and try again.
Click here to read about the Oaktree Mission of Val Williams and Ray Labrosse
Dumais and Labrosse were landed by Lysander near Selens (Picardy) 16/17 November 1943. They had a contact address in Paris for a Mme Georges of 6 rue des Capucines, a hairdressing salon.
Evasion in Brittany The Shelburn Line
This page updated 15 Apr 2012
Dumais and Labrosse went to Paris to find Mme Georges at rue Capucines, and she sent them to stay with her assistant Suzanne, a nurse in a private clinic at Rueil-Malmaison, on the western outskirts of Paris. Labrosse was unable to radio London from Rueil so they decided to go to Normandy and try to establish contact from there. Before they left, and while they were out having lunch, Mme Georges and Suzanne were arrested and a note left to warn them to leave immediately.
Mme Georges was Lucienne Christine Bodin, who sheltered Sgt Vic Davies RAF (1664) and T/Sgt Walter House USAAF in October/November 43. She lived at 38 rue des Petits Champs, which becomes rue des Capucines, just north of Place Vendome. Suzanne was Suzanne Bosniere of 45 rue Pierre Brossolette in Rueil-Malmaison. Both women were associated with the Samson network they and Marie Bebeder-Matibet were arrested 21 November 1943 in the Pied de Mouton café with US airmen Sgt Frederick Huntzinger and 2/Lt Benjamin Zum betrayed by Belgian V-Mann Adolphe Manet aka Renard. (information from Vic Davies SPG 1664 Appx C courtesy of Fred Greyer, from Mme Bodin file courtesy of Vic Davies' daughter Cheryl Padgham, and from Philippe Connart)
With the loss of their initial contact in Paris, and despite MI9 advising against it, Labrosse suggested they try Paul Campinchi. Dumais knew that most of the people from Val Williams old group had been arrested but not the lawyer Campinchi. Labrosse introduced Dumais and Campinchi explained that he and his family, and Geneviève de Poulpiquet, had been living very quietly the last six months. He also said the arrest of Williams had only been a question of time about the only thing he hadn't done was to advertise for intelligence agents in the newspapers! Campinchi agreed to start again with Dumais and invited the two men to stay a few days as his guests. He arranged for them stay with a woman friend known as Guette rather than an hotel which would be subject to police checks.
In Normandy, Dumais went to visit Mme Francine Bellinger at Bourgthéroulde-Thuit-Hébert, who had helped him in his escape after Dieppe, before going to an hotel where Labrosse contacted London on his radio and told them about the contact with Campinchi. They returned to Paris and had a long talk with Campinchi who agreed to find logeurs and others to support evaders in Paris.
Campinchi suggested they contact Doctor André Le Balc'h at Plouezec. Le Balc'h, who had sheltered Labrosse in his Paris apartment earlier in the year, had replaced his friend Doctor Meynard, who had left Brittany following the arrests at St Quay Portrieux. Le Balc'h suggested they stay at the Hotel du Commerce where he introduced them as two visiting docters. One of the regular visitors to the hotel was Henri Le Blais, a man that Dr Le Balc'h believed to be a patriot. Henri Le Blais had a Renault car and a German ausweis that allowed him to drive day or night on business. Le Blais thought his friend Adolphe Le Trocquer, a teacher at Pludual and fellow member of the Front National, would know of any local resistance members who could help. The local head of the FN was François Le Puluard - he was too old to take an active part but another FN member, François Le Cornec was head of the local resistance cell. Le Cornec ran a café in Plouha that would be an ideal meeting place, as well as a large house that could be used for lodging. Following a visit by Trocquer and Le Puluard, François Le Cornéc was persuaded to join the group.
Le Cornec and Joseph Mainguy (alias Job) a merchant marine captain, inspected the originally suggested landing beach but queried it because of the deep water, the close rocks and lack of beach. There was also a German guard-post nearby. It was Pierre Huet (alias Tarzan) who first suggested the northern end of l'Anse-Cochat, known as Sous-Keruzeau, where there was access from a crumbling, sixty foot cliff.
Dumais (aka Leon in Brittany) appointed François Le Cornec as 'chef de plage' and 'responsable' for the evacuations in Dumais' absence. Henri Le Blais became responsable of the reception centre to be established at St Brieuc for evaders arriving from Paris. Dumais was able to send a message to London that preparations for Bonaparte were complete and requested that a more powerful radio be sent for Labrosse together with money, weapons and ammunition, food etc. Dumais gave Henri Le Blais a complicated procedure for contacting Paris in case of emergency. On 15 January Dumais sent a message to London asking for the first MGB pick-up to take place during the next moonless period.
The procedure in Paris was the same as had been used for Oaktree and became the standard for subsequent trips. The evaders would be brought to Montparnasse station where Geneviève de Poulpiquet arranged to have their tickets for the Paris-Brest train ready. At first, the groups were limited to two or four men, accompanied by two Parisien convoyeurs. The crucial part was getting off the train at St Brieuc where Germans were aided by French policemen, who needed to see special permits to the restricted coastal zone in addition to identity papers. The first two evaders were stopped by French police who handed them over to the Germans because they had no residence permits and their identities were discovered. Subsequent parties had better papers. Convoyeurs on the train handed their parcels over at St Brieuc using a copy of the German magazine Signal as their recognition sign.
The two airmen arrested at St Briec station were F/O Norman W Maybee RCAF and S/Sgt Paul R Saunders USAAF - my thanks to Michael Moores LeBlanc for this information. They were in one of the first groups of evaders brought from Paris by Marie-Rosé Zerling (Claudette) along with T/Sgt Andrew F Hathaway (#346) S/Sgt Walter E Dickerman (#354) and 2/Lt Sydney Casden (#355).
They arranged to arrive at St Brieuc at about four o'clock in the afternoon, when inspections were likely to be the most relaxed. Apart from the first two airmen, none of the evaders were questioned about their papers. It was the responsibility of the St Brieuc group to look after the evaders for an hour or so until the train for Plouha arrived They were taken either to Mme Boschat at her café-tabac, or M Le Ster, who lived nearby. At St Brieuc the new guides were often young girls from the local youth hostel - Henri Le Blais and Adolphe Le Troquer thought they would attract less suspicion. The evaders were then dropped off in small groups at Kertugal, Plouha-Ville, Plouha-Embranchement, Keregal, Dernier-Sou and Lanloup. At each stop, a member of the Plouha group, Marie-Thérèse Le Calvez, Pierre Huet, Job Mainguy or Jean Tréhiou, waited to take the men to their new hosts scattered amongst the community Léonie Le Calvez at Kerlérot, Françoise Montjarret at Ville-Dé, Marie Tréhiou at Lizandré, famille Couffon at Kérizago, famille Lesné at Kerverzio, Georges and Anne Ropers at Cambla'h and Jean and Marie Gicquel at Saint-Samson.
Anyone visiting the area now should note that the D786 ring road at Plouha follows the route of old railway line.
When the message of "Bonjour tout le monde a la Maison d'Alphonse" was repeated that evening, Marie-Thérèse Le Calvez, François Le Cornec, Louis Menguy, Henri Le Blais, Adolphe Le Troquer, Pierre Huet, Joseph Mainguy, Jean Tréhiou and Lucien Dumais set off to bring the evaders to Jean and Marie Gicquel's house at Saint-Samson (later known as la Maison d'Alphonse) before taking the whole party down to Plage Bonaparte.
Pierre Huet and Job Mainguy were the first two down the ravine as it was their responsibility to find the way to the beach. Job Mainguy then stayed half-way down the cliff with a torch that he used to send the letter B (for Bonaparte) in morse while Marie-Therese Le Calvet stood at the bottom with a blue light to guide the MGB's surf-boats in.
First to land from MGB 503 was Patrick Windham-Wright, an MI9 officer who had worked with Airey Neave on the plans for Shelburne. He exchanged the passwords "Dinan" and "St Brieuc" and while the boats beached and unloaded their stores, had a quick conversation with Dumais. As soon as the boats had taken the sixteen evaders safely on board, the Plouha group then had the hard climb back up the cliffs, this time carrying the heavy stores delivered to them from the MGB. These included .45 Colt automatics for the Plouha group, clothing and shoes for the evaders, chocolate, bottles of whisky and gin, and four million francs.
Before the second Bonaparte operation took place, the German authorities took all passenger trains off the local St Brieuc to Paimpol line to make way for the Todt Organisation traffic. This forced a change in procedure with evaders staying on the Paris train past St Brieuc to Guingamp. It also meant finding a new group to meet them and another way to transport the men to Plouha.
Yves Hugues of Loudéac, commanded the rue Notre Dame Resistance group in Guingamp, and he knew Mathurin Branchoux and also, through Mme Laurent, Georges Le Cun. When Mme Laurent had sheltered Rhodesian pilot Peter Blackwell (1727) after he had escaped a train taking him to Germany, both Yves Hugues and Georges Le Cun had come to meet him. After discussion with Mathurin Branchoux they decided to move Blackwell to stay with the Rannou family, near the station. Le Cun then told everyone that he had put Blackwell on the train to Paris, whereas he had in fact hidden the airman at his mother's house. Fortunately for Blackwell, Mme Le Cun spoke good English and had a collection of English books that he could read whilst waiting to join the group taken out on the first Bonaparte operation.
Mathurin Branchoux had a friend named Jean Devienne (alias François) who was the responsable of another Front National group, and through fellow FN member Pierre Cottin, he met Adolphe Le Trocquer who told him there were half a dozen evaders hidden in the Gourin (western Brittany) area. Branchoux suggested that the airmen be transferred from Gourin to Plouha, and Le Cornec and Dumais agreed to take them on the next operation. Le Trocquer went to Guingamp where Branchoux advised him to see François Kerambrun about transport. Kerambrun was away at the time but M Trifol, one of his employees, agreed to take them in his employer's gazogène Citroën. He collected the six airmen and took them to Pomment-le-Vicomte (north-east of Guingamp) where they were interrogated by the multi-lingual Jacky du Pac [Jacques du Pac de Marsoulies] to ensure they were genuine. Le Trocquer and Joseph Mainguy persuaded M Trifol to carry on collecting airmen from their various refuges and he finally delivered fifteen evaders safely to Plouha. Adolphe Le Trocquer then walked the men through the night, along the railway line, until they could be distributed amongst the various safe houses around the town.
In Guingamp, the usual first stop for evaders was M and Mme Laurent at rue de l'Etang du Prieur, not far from Mathurin Branchoux. Others went to the flour mill of M Lanoë on rue Chateaubriand near la Place Saint-Sauveur. Another contact was M de Sonis, a member of the A.S. who contacted Branchoux and, after consulting his mother, offered their home for sheltering evaders. Other occasional lodgers included Mme Rannou at Pont-Melvez, Mme Le Cun, and part-time teacher Mme Lefeuvre, whose daughter was married to an Englishman.
While Guingamp seemed perfect as a reception centre, for some reason that was never fully explained, Mathurin Branchoux decided he wanted the evaders to get off the Paris-Brest train at Châtelaudren. Georges Le Cun cycled over there with his German shepherd bitch and immediately saw a problem the station was deserted. There were two French gendarmes waiting for passengers because, unlike Guingamp, Châtelaudren was in the restricted coastal zone and visitors need special papers to get off the train there. When the train arrived, it was only the ten evaders and their guides that got off the train - there were no crowds to hide in. Georges Le Cun could hear the gendarme commenting "another one for Plouezec" as successive airmen showed their ID cards and German passes.
Le Cun took four evaders while M Jézégou (alias Christophe) who worked with Mathurin Branchoux, took the other six into town. Le Cun passed his group of four to the local resistance chief M Friec, and then set off on his bicycle to find the other group so the convoyeur could catch his train back to Paris. Le Cun took the six men to l'Ecole Sainte-Thérèse at Plouagat (south of Châtelaudren) and then set off on his bicycle back to Châtelaudren. He arrived just as the four evaders reached the home of Mme Le Cardinal who kept the café-restaurant where they all stayed the night.
The third Bonaparte operation took place the night of 16/17 March. A record thirty (sic) airmen arrived at Chatelaudren and Guingamp.
I believe twenty-four evaders were taken off on Operation Bonaparte 3 ...
Georges Le Cun noted that Lucien Dumais had an obsession about Gestapo agents penetrating the escape line. One Sunday, while Andre Chareton, his mother and two airmen were finishing lunch at rue du Grand Trotrieux, Dumais and Mathurin Branchoux arrived. The unexpected visitors announced that a German agent had infiltrated the network and it was absolutely necessary for them to uncover him by questioning the airmen individually. Once identified, they intended to execute him immediately and bury the body. For twenty minutes, Dumais interrogated each airman, asking them questions about daily life in America, the cities where they lived, their family life, etc. etc. Andre Chareton later acknowledged that he and his mother had some very anxious moments before Dumais reached his verdict. To their great relief, Dumais confirmed that Isadore Viola and Norman King were certainly genuine members of the USAAF. Another time, Georges Le Cun had gone to Guingamp station to meet two airmen. Although he used all the usual recognition signs, he did not spot any guides or parcels. He assumed that the trip had failed and, after warning Branchoux, he returned home. At that time the interrogations were entrusted to Jacky du Pac, old convoyeur of mission Oaktree, who spoke several languages and was staying with Mme Laurent. Then Fernand Trochel came to tell Le Cun that two unknown men, in a state of advanced intoxication, were making a scene at the café du Cycle. One of them spoke in French but not the other. The owner, Ernest Josselin, who was also a resistant, had called Trochel thinking they might be airmen. George Le Cun went to the Laurent house to consult Jacky and ask him to come to the Josselin café. He refused to go there in case they were Gestapo agents, but agreed that Le Cun could check on their identities and then bring them to him.
Georges Le Cun and Fernand Trochel, each armed with a revolver, went to the Café du Cycle and found the two men in question. One was completely drunk, leaned against the table, in a deep sleep. The other, more awake, said immediately to Le Cun:
Hey, here is a man that I know! I saw you at the station. You were leaning by the library and seemed to be waiting. - You did not have a convoyeur with you? Yes, but as the train back to Paris was already in station, I told him to take it (*) and that I would manage. My friend here is an American airman who has escaped from Germany. What did you do when you left the station? - As I did not know where to go, I went a bar to ask for the cleaner. At home in Belgium, he is always the one who knows these things. They told us he wasn't there, they didn't know where he was, but they gave me five hundred francs! - But did you have to get drunk? - Oh we only had a couple of glasses, but my friend was so happy to be free that it went to his head.
F/Sgt Leon Joseph Gerard Harmel (1807) 350 (Belgian) Sqn Spitfire AD314 shot down near Abbeville 20 Dec 43. S/Sgt Lee Carl Gordon (#434) from B-17 41-24623 shot down into the North Sea on 26 Feb 1942, he had escaped from Stalag VIIA Moosburg in October 1943.
(*) Harmel and Gordon had been brought to Guingamp by M Dussy, who worked with Marcel Cola at the Ford works at Poissy. According to Cola, he would not have found anybody at the station because the train was half an hour late. Dussy had to leave the two airmen there in order catch the express back to Paris in time to get back to work the following day.
Georges Le Cun continued to question the French speaking airman. He said he was fighter pilot in the R.A.F. who had been shot down over northern France. Le Cun told him follow ten metres behind while his American colleague, supported by the Guingampais, took the opposite pavement. Fernand Trochel, ten metres further back, was ready to draw his gun if the Belgian made the least attempt to escape. They crossed the town without incident to Laurent's house where the pilot was locked in the cellar. A little later Jacky du Pac arrived and he recognised the Belgian from having met him before in Paris (*). Then some questions were put to the American. It was very difficult to understand his answers, not only was he still very drunk but he also had a terrible (sic) Californian accent. The following day, he managed to tell the story of his extraordinary escape it was nearly a year since he had bailed out into the North Sea. Léo Harmel was forgiven for his behaviour of the previous day, which fortunately hadn't compromised the organization. He had the time to thank heaven that it was Jacky he met, otherwise he might have found himself buried in the back of the Mme Laurent's garden, as there was no question of risking bringing an enemy agent into the network. Dumais later put Harmel under close arrest when he arrived at Plouha and had his hands tied until he was loaded into the surf-boat during the second Bonaparte operation.
(*) One of the places that Harmel had been sheltered in Paris had been on rue Baudin, where a man only known to him as 'Jacques' had visited before taking him to another safe house at 24 Boulevard des Capucines.
Sgt Lee Gordon (#434) of San Fernando, California, later said he had never felt such intense fear in his life. With their attitude and their weapons, it was like being in front of the Gestapo.
As the new moon approached, the group at Guingamp waited for the signal to take the airmen to Plouha. The mechanic François Kerambrun had taken on the responsibility of driving the lorry. The first notification that an operation was planned for that night would be an afternoon radio message. A second message, to be sent in the evening, would confirm that the MGB had sailed. If the weather conditions were considered to be unfavourable, the confirmation would be replaced by another message to signal the cancellation.
Once the first message was received, the logeurs were warned to get ready for the operation. If the mission was confirmed, then a convoyeur would collect the airmen. They were to follow him at ten metre intervals to a waiting lorry. François Kerambrun would then drive the lorry to the Place du Vally where he collected more groups, brought by other members of the organisation: Georges Le Cun, l'Abbé Boulbain, Mathurin Branchoux, Fernand Trochel and Andre Chareton. Once they were on board, the foreman M Cleophile would close the covers and Kerambrun would drive them to Plouha.
In Paris, the organisation was run by Paul Campinchi. Using his experience with Oaktree, his main concern was the security of the escape line. He took care of head office and any contacts with other networks likely to collect evaders, with Marie Rose Zerling (alias Claudette) as his assistant. She had previously worked with her friend Madeleine Michelis (*) professor at the Lycée de Lille, with lodging and convoying evaders as well as collecting military information for professeur Cavaillès at the Faculté de Paris. She had also worked with Jean Texcier of Libération Nord and Doctor Yves Porc'her, but by 1943 she was working to help downed aircrew in northern France. Through a friend of Marie Betbéder-Matibet, she collected her first American airman and contacted Campinchi and Labrosse. Marie Rose Zerling continued to play a central role in the organisation she had helped to create, until her arrest and that of her parents on 5 February 1944 (**). Her work was taken on by Marcel Cola (alias Yvon). Department head of personnel at Ford SAF in Poissy, Cola had entered active resistance in June 1943 after meeting Henri Bois. Both men organised the sabotage of machine tools at the German requisitioned Ford factory. In October 1943, Henri Bois had told Marcel Cola that he had joined an evasion network for airmen and they needed help from someone who spoke good English, and who could take them to Brittany. Marcel Cola had grown up in Canada and America and his perfect knowledge of English and American expressions made him most qualified to interrogate the evaders when they arrived in Paris. Then he passed the evaders among the logeurs, or more accurately among logeuses, because most of them were women, particularly wives of prisoners of war.
(*) Arrested by the Gestapo shortly after Marie-Rosé Zerling, Madeleine Michelis hanged herself in her cell rather than risk speaking under torture.
(**) Marie-Rosé Zerling was condemned to death in April 1944. She was deported to Auschwitz with her parents just days before liberation. Her father died in Germany.
As the time for evacuation approached, the evaders hidden in Paris were prepared for their journey to Brittany. Henri Bois organised the convoyeurs and arranged their departures from Montparnasse station. Each guide would take two or three airmen and collect their tickets courtesy of SNCF employee M Bernard, who had been helping Genevieve de Poulpiquet since the time of Oaktree. The evaders were given false identity cards, work permits and residence certificates for prohibited coastal area (Bescheinigungen).
In January 1944, Mme de Poulpiquet had made a special trip to Saint-Brieuc to collect these essential certificates. They were given to her by Henri Le Blais whose brother Yves worked at the Prefecture.
During the first fortnight of March 1944, the network was particularly busy with yet more evaders coming to Guingamp from other parts of Brittany. But before the operations took place, a problem arose in the Plouha sector of the escape line.
It seems that the delivery of an important sum of money intended to cover the operational costs of the network managed to cause some problems. Specifically, the contents of a bag containing some of the money disappeared between Plouha and Paris, and what actually happened is still a mystery today. The most immediate result was a temporary chill in relations between Dumais and Le Cornec, the Canadian officer even threatened cancel any more evacuations from Plouha. Dumais had many difficulties in dealing with the communist resistants, their idea of fighting for the liberation being so different to his. He broke up with Le Blais, because of his careless talk, and with Le Trocquer over the question of a machine-gun, retained in spite of his orders. He then had the rocambolesque idea to use the group's security chief Jean Nettling, whose Alsatian accent made it easy for him to pass for a German agent. His enquiries in Plouha were only intended to frighten those he asked about but his presence was passed on to François Le Cornec who promptly sent the organisation's two gendarmes, Joseph Garion and René Dagorne, to challenge him. Nettling was arrested for having false identity papers and sent to Saint-Brieuc, leaving Dumais with the problem of extricating the secret agent from this mess. The net result was that the Le Blais brothers, Louis Menguy and Adolphe Le Trocquer, felt sufficiently threatened to move away and the March operations proceeded without their participation.
Adolphe Le Trocquer continued to believe that Nettling acted the part of a German agent too well. Jean Nettling later took several groups of evaders to Spain.
With the influx of evaders, Lucien Dumais decided that evacuating twenty-five (sic) airmen a month was not enough. With the moonless period lasting about ten days, he thought it should be possible for the Royal Navy to organise several voyages in that time. He send a message to London suggested the dates of the 15, 19 and 23 March. After getting confirmation from the Navy, Room 900 (MI9) signalled their agreement. Dumais told Paul Campinchi and François Le Cornec about the latest radio messages so they could carry on without him if necessary.
At the beginning of March, François Kerambrun's lorry returned to Plouha, with Joseph Mainguy as his guide. They used the main Paimpol-Plouha road through Lanloup, stopping from time to time to drop off small groups of evaders with Pierre Huet at Chênes-Verts, with Mlle Couffon at Kérizago and with Mme Le Calvez at Kerlerot. The rest were taken to Mlle Monjarret at La Ville-Dé farm. Kerambrun then made a second trip, this time to Lanvollan where he met Le Cornec, and the evaders were taken to Goasmeur. On the evening of 16 March, twenty-four airmen found themselves at the Maison d'Alphonse.
See map at Huguen 320 for details of all these safe houses.
The previous morning, Lucien Dumais and Ray Labrosse, had arrived at Guingamp. As they left the station, they saw four radiogoniometric (radio detection) vehicles, whose presence intrigued them since Labrosse never transmitted from Guingamp, only from Plouha. Le Cornec told them that the occupying troops appeared to be in a state of alarm and that the fishing boats were confined to the ports. Although Dumais did not think this was because of the February operation, he still felt it safer to cancel the planned operations. They had to warn London without delay but an unfortunate puncture prevented them from reaching Plouha in time to send the message. Labrosse took the evening train back to Paris to try and cancel the following evening's operation from there. A investigation into the reason for the alert did not reveal anything and Dumais concluded that only senior officers knew the real reason, so it must be serious. The evening message from the B.B.C confirming the operation was received, which meant that Labrosse had not been able to get his message through. In spite of the risks, they decided to go ahead as originally planned. The descent to the beach went ahead without incident and the airmen gathered at the foot of cliff and waited. Dumais used his walkie-talkie, received in February, to tell Windham-Wright what had happened and recommended extra caution. Suddenly they heard a distant explosion, and a few seconds later, a second, louder explosion. The walkie-talkie crackled and a voice announced :
"We are withdrawing - but we will return."
Three or four shots were fired from the bunker at Plounez, near Paimpol, and then nothing more. It was two hours before they heard the faint sound of MGB 503 returning. A few minutes later, the surf-boats landed on the beach. It would have been easy for the searchlight dominating Baie de Bréhec from the Pointe de la Tour, to see what was happening only a few hundred metres away. The area was also covered by three heavy quick-firing guns, one covering access to the Bay of Bréhec, another at Plage de l'Anse-Cochat and the third, a 76mm cannon mounted on Pointe de la Tour, swept the horizon, guaranteeing the total destruction of everyone, fifty-five dead at least, and with the inevitable discovery of the MGB, its probable loss, because the whole coast would have been alerted immediately. Just the presence of the boats on the beach clearly indicated that a more important ship was nearby. If she had been discovered they would have been cannonaded from the blockhouse on Pointe de la Tour and probably by other German coastal defences, including a bunker at Gwin-Zégal, the guns at Plounez, and another battery between Binic and Etables.
That night of 16/17 March 1944, the surf-boats left several extra heavy bags. They were full of weapons, ammunition and other materiel that had to go to the Maison d'Alphonse. They couldn't carry all this equipment up the ravine, but with the tide low, the group could go along the narrow beach to the little road leading to Creac'h-ar-Gador. Then they followed the valley and dirt track which led to the Maison d'Alphonse. The bags of weapons were hidden under a wood pile next to the house, ready to be taken on to safer hiding places later.
Lucien Dumais says that on 17 March, the Germans had relaxed their alert and Le Cornec reported that the local fishermen were allowed to go back to sea. Obviously, the firing from the coastal batteries had only been an exercise. Dumais thought it would be possible to organise another operation before the end of the moonless period and he warned Le Cornec to be ready if the cancellation message had not reached London. He would know if it was going ahead by listening to the BBC messages. Dumais said that Le Cornec understood how the system worked and could manage perfectly well without him, especially since London always sent a French speaking liaison officer. Dumais took the train from Guingamp to Paris to find Labrosse who told him he still hadn't managed to send the cancellation message for the second operation, and it was duly completed the night of 19/20 March.
That night eighteen evaders boarded the surf-boats. Windham-Wright was surprised to be met by François Le Cornec instead of Dumais with whom he wanted to consult. As usual the group had to go up the cliff with the heavy bags, and guiding two French agents who had just landed and who expressed their joy at finding themselves back on their native soil. They would have liked to have known exactly where they had landed but when they left Plouha the following day, they still didn't know the exact beach. The two agents went on to central France where they were later captured and shot by the Germans.
Dumais and Labrosse returned to Plouha the day before the third operation in March, planned for the night of 22/23 March. Twenty-six airmen left France along with two young Frenchmen, Le Bourhis, a secret agent from Quimper, and Jean Tréhiou from the Plouha group. Le Bourhis, who was wanted by the Gestapo, had contacted Mathurin Branchoux in order to join the operation. Dumais deliberated on this for a long time because his orders said that only airmen were to be allowed on the boats. Jean Tréhiou could be sent as a special favour, to carry out his dream of reaching England to join the F.F.L.
Note that I have used Brooks Richards 1996 book 'Secret Flotillas' for the Bonaparte operation dates, confirmed by evader reports, rather than Huguen. I have also used other sources, notably Claude Helias, for the numbers of evaders taken off.
Suddenly, after this final operation in March, the Plouha group noted the unexplained disappearance of Dumais and Labrosse. According to Airey Neave, Windham-Wright should have explained to Le Cornec when they had their conversation on the beach, that because of the shortening nights, the operations were to be temporarily suspended. However, that was not the only reason to stop the loadings. MI9 had specified that with the invasion being imminent, they could not risk any incidents with the Germans that might lead to a reinforcement of coastal defences. General Eisenhower, who was responsible for Operation Overlord, wanted to avoid that at all costs. Lucien Dumais later tried to justify his absence by explaining that Shelburne was in a great disorder following these three successive operations and it was time to moderate the pace and take a rest while Paris and the North of France had run out parcels. But the safe houses would soon fill up again, and many resistant groups knew about the network.
At Plouha, each member of the organisation went back to their usual job, while listening carefully for any rumours, and watching the activities of the German troops in the sector, especially near the coast.
On 20 April 1944, the six man crew of 28 OTU Wellington LN896 went out on their first mission, a Nickel operation dropping leaflets over Tours and Orleans. They got lost on the way back, ran out of fuel and abandoned their aircraft over Saint-Norgant-Bourbriac. Five men landed safely near Kerbalen but fate was particularly cruel to Sgt John Kempson, the only Englishman in an otherwise Canadian crew. He landed on top of an enormous rock, the only one of the area, fell and smashed his head. Victor Le Coq of Bourbriac collected and hid the airmen, including the critically injured Sgt Kempson, and contacted Georges Le Cun. Le Cun asked Doctor Rivoalen of Guingamp to come immediately to Coat-Maël near Peumerit-Quintin. In a cattle shed, under torch-light, the surgeon performed a lumbar puncture and noted the presence of blood in the body fluid, sure sign of a fractured skull. M Lebreton of Bourbriac took over caring for Sgt Kempson but he only survived for two or three days. The F.T.P. transported his body to their maquis at Toul Goulic, west of St-Nicolas-of-Pélem, where they buried him with a salute fired by the men of the maquis. Meanwhile, Georges Le Cun went to Paris to try and contact Lucien Dumais.
The five Canadians were F/O Harold J Brennan (2025) P/O Alfred James Houston (2026) Sgt Ernest Joseph Trotter (2027) Sgt Roger Jacques Dickson (2028) and Sgt Andrew Elder (2029).
As the landings had been stopped following the three operations in March, Georges Le Cun needed to see Lucien Dumais so they could decide what to do next. Although he didn't have a contact addresses in Paris for Dumais, he did know that one of his 'boîtes aux lettres' was the Duphot Bar in rue Duphot and that he should address any letter to Mlle Yvette Latour. Le Cun wrote a love letter to the young lady in question in which he said he wanted to send her five new food parcels, and also expressing his impatience to see her. A few days later Dumais sent his courier Odette Laure to see Le Cun. Le Cun explained that he needed a written authorisation from Dumais so the five airmen in Brittany would accept his orders while Dumais was away.
Georges Le Cun met Dumais at the rue Duphot exit of La Madeleine metro station. Dumais told him that he could not consider another operation for the moment and that he would have to be patient and keep the airmen where they were. Le Cun got his letter of authorisation and returned to Guingamp.
Having made five sets of identity cards and ausweis for the Wellington crew, Le Cun went straight to Coat-Maël, but when he arrived, the airmen were gone. He was told they were at Saint-Nicolas-du-Pélem, sheltered by a woman, who had married an American before war. This would have been alright if they hadn't been displayed at a May Day parade for the local Resistance. By the time Le Cun arrived at Saint-Nicolas-du-Pélem, the presence of the airmen was an open secret. When Le Cun went to see the woman in question, she passed him on to a Doctor Bonniec but it wasn't until Le Cun produced the airmen's new identity cards that he responded. The doctor asked his visitor to come back an hour later. When Le Cun left the office, he was followed by two men who joined him at his hotel and questioned him. Finally he was taken to the airmen, and after having read the letter from Dumais, they agreed to go with him.
The following day, he and François Kerambrun organised their supposed departure for the English coast, but actually to a flour mill about twenty kilometres away. This proved to be a wise precaution as the German police learned that the airmen had stayed in Coat-Maël and made some arrests. They burned the place where the airmen had been sheltered and the hotel where Georges Le Cun had met them. They arrested the landlord but could not discover where the evaders had gone. Le Cun and Kerambrun had taken the airmen to M Gautier, a miller at the Moulin-du-Bois in Senven-Léhart (about 16 kms south of Guingamp) where they stayed for six weeks. At the nearby Château de Goas-Hamon there was an FTP group of young STO réfractaires commanded by Savary (alias Dartagnan). Georges Le Cun told them about the airmen and asked if they would help protect them if necessary. On 12 June, a German unit came from Guingamp, attacked the Château and destroyed the poorly armed maquis group (*). The same day, fearing that other police operations would follow, or that one of young prisoners might speak under torture, the airmen were moved from the Moulin-du-Bois to the Maquis of Plésidy at Coat-Mallouen, before sending them on Plouha.
(*) Seven maquis were killed during the short engagement or were massacred on the spot and the eleven survivors captured, taken to Guingamp then to Servel, near Lannion, where they were shot.
Two American fighter pilots were collected by the Saint-Georges maquis. William Hawkins, shot down near Bourg-Blanc (Nord-Finistere) was with Docteur de La Marnière in Brest. Joseph Lilly was with group Vengeance of 1er Battalion de Concarneau, under Commandant Jean Le Bourhis. The two airmen shared the life of the maquis for two months before being passed on to José Le Goff and Pierre Le Ster of the group Vengeance under Commandant Pierre Dréau of Lesconil, who was in contact with the Shelburne group. According to Lucien Dumais, it was Paul Campinchi who recommended Dréau to him as 'un grand résistant' and because he knew the west of Brittany so well. Pierre Dréau remained in contact with the escape line and sent several airmen to Plouha, including Hawkins and Lilly.
2/Lt William C Hawkins (#832) P-51 43-6316 and 2/Lt Joseph A Lilly (#833) P-51 43-6441.
Towards the end of April 1944, following an inspection of the coastal defences by General Rommel in February, the Germans started laying mines along the coastline. The resistants in Plouha could only note the impossibility to reaching the landing beach by the usual paths. Access to the minefield was guarded by barbed wire fences. At l'Anse-Cochat (Plage Bonaparte) the average depth of the minefield was at least 800 metres. Huet and Mainguy studied these new defences on the cliff and managed to find a the narrow path through, although even there they discovered five mines, and later, two 203mm shells hidden under the roadway, covered with turfs. These shells were linked to small planks connected to the detonator by a wire - one step on the plank would set off the explosion.
During the night of the 16/17 June, Pierre Huet was woken by knocking at the door of his house at Dernier-Sou. Very surprised, and very anxious, he opened the door to find Jean Tréhiou, the Shelburne agent who had left for England in March. When Pierre Huet asked him how he came to be back in Brittany, he explained that an MGB had landed him [Operation Reflection] and two comrades Parent and Hamon, at l'Anse-Cochat and they had then used the usual path. Jean Tréhiou had been surprised by the barbed wire but all three had crossed the minefield without incident. Although the British had been told that the cliff was mined, they had still taken the risk of re-using the Bonaparte beach, and landed three French agents there. In the absence of Dumais and Labrosse, any message they may have sent was not received, but it was surprising to the local organization that they were not warned about the operation. If the three men had been killed or injured by the mines, and the landing beach discovered, then police investigations which could well have been catastrophic for the whole network.
Jean Tréhiou was on a mission to find a new base in Nord-Finistère in the Lannilis - Ile de Sieck - Santec area where Royal Navy had already carried out several landings (at Aber Wrac'h and Clogouruan) the previous year. Raoul Parent (alias Yves) and Jean Hamon (alias Guy) were sent to collect military intelligence as well as recovering airmen in the Josselin - Foret-de-Quénécan area. They would direct any evaders towards the coast where Jean Tréhiou would organise their evacuation in the event of prolonged hostilities. After a short stay at Lizandré with Jean's sister Marie, the three agents left for their respective missions.
Later, they were to learn that the crew which had brought them ashore had not been able to find the MGB and the ship was forced to leave without them. Sub/Lt Guy Hamilton decided to move along the coast to avoid being seen in daylight. Their weapons and oars were hidden in the rocks and the boat submerged near Port-Moguer. The three men waited until the following night to leave the coast in the hope of being found and hidden. They had no idea where they were and wandered all night in and out of the minefield. Their luck held and in the morning they reached the farm of Eugene Harscouét in Kernescop where they hid in a field. They were found there by the farmer's son and he brought them food and drink, the fact that the British officer thanked him in French made things easier.
The stranded crewmen were Sub/Lt Guy Hamilton (2022) LS Albert Dellow (2023) and AB Haywood Rockwood (2024).
Three days later, Joseph Mainguy was approached by M PEN who told him about the three seamen hiding on the moor near the Harscouét farm, and that they had asked M Harscouét to contact the resistance group at Plouha. Mainguy went to Le Cornec to pass on the news and they both had the same thought that the three men could be Gestapo agents trying to trap the organisation. Finally Marie-Thérèse Le Calvez went to see them, and they told her about their mission. To everyone's surprise she was able to report back that Lt Hamilton and two sailors, were the crew of the surf-boat that had landed Jean Tréhiou at l'Anse-Cochat. That evening, after the curfew, Marie-Thérèse brought them back to Marie Tréhiou's farm at Lizandré. They were then moved to Albert Le Marchand's sister's house where they were met by Le Marchand and Henri Goarin. A few days later, Joseph Mainguy took them to stay with Georges and Anne Ropers at Camblach, not far from the Maison d'Alphonse.
Shortly after the D-day, Lucien Dumais had received a message from London ordering him to return to Brittany and stay there. He left Paris by bicycle on 11 June with Raymond Labrosse and their liaison officer Louisette, they arrived in Plouha after a difficult journey of some 450 kilometres.
At Francis Baudet's house, Mainguy told Dumais about the three British sailors. London was immediately informed by radio that the men from the MGB had been found and safely hidden.
At the end of June, Dumais moved his headquarters to Albert Le Marchand's farm south of the bois de Lizandré, where Labrosse operated his radio from the roof of the barn, telling London they were ready for a sixth operation.
Since his return to Brittany, Dumais had been considering his position. His orders from M.I.9 had limited his work to evacuating the maximum number of airmen. But since the invasion and the success of the Normandy bridgehead, the situation had changed and there was no doubt that the days of the evasion network were numbered. Dumais said later that there was no question of sitting and waiting for the arrival of the Allied forces, and he decided to form a maquis in the Bois de la Salle, south of Pléguien. They already had some light weapons - pistols, submachine-guns and grenades - but they lacked rifles and light machine-guns, and especially ammunition. Dumais thought he could get supplies from London by parachute, using Ray Labrosse's radio. He also asked for two mine detectors to be sent. On the night of 27/28 June, a dozen containers were dropped near Traou-Year-Dour, between Plouha and Lanvollon, in a field belonging to Françoise Goarin, mayor of Pludual. The mine detectors were passed to Mainguy and Huet and the weapons hidden in M Goarin's barn. A second parachutage took place on 5/6 July.
Mainguy and Huet had the job of finding a way through the minefield along the old path which led to the ravine. This mission needed to be completed as soon as possible, and in daylight of course, so they could see the mines. Seventeen mines were found and a sketch drawn with approximate distances between them. A stick was to be planted by each mine and a cloth attached to help find them again in the dark.
The Plouha group renewed contact with the Guingamp group and at the beginning of July, François Kerambrun and Joseph Mainguy collected a group of evaders from them. Five men were dropped off with Mathurin Branchoux who took them to Mme Le Calvez at Kerlerot, and ten (sic) including one man shot in the thigh, to Jean Gicquel at the Maison d'Alphonse. The injured man was placed in a bed and the others hidden in the attic. Everything was ready for the evacuation except the weather. It would be another ten days before the sea would be calm enough for the surf-boats to operate safely. It was during this time that changes were noted among the German forces. The local soldiers had being joined by white Russian troops who seemed much more aggressive, and nervous. Their undisciplined behaviour deteriorated to larceny and assaults and they began to terrorise some of the local villages, including Saint-Samson.
There is some confusion about numbers for this operation, Huguen seems to have a total of eighteen. For the evacuation of 12/13 July (Operation Crozier) I have four USAAF fighter pilots, the five Canadians from Wellington LN896, and Typhoon pilot F/Lt Stark ten airmen in all - plus the three Navy men. Dumais says that Robert Vanier, ex-Dieppe commando brought out by the Pat Line in 1942 and now stranded FanFan radio operator, was also taken out on this operation.
Fearing a search, the group decided to move the weapons and ammunition stored at the Ropers house and the Maison d'Alphonse. On the afternoon of 3 July, M Ropers took his cart to Jean Gicquel and four big potato baskets were filled with the materiel and covered with clover. They had to go through the centre of Plouha, to rue de la Corderie where Le Cornec hid the weapons in his abbatoir.
On 7 July, four Gestapo agents presented themselves at the gendarmerie of Plouha and declared that there was a network operating in the area. At once gendarmes Garion and Dagorne ran to warn Le Cornec, Dumais, Huet, etc of the danger. It was urgent to transfer the men placed with Le Calvez, Gicquel and Ropers, in case the Gestapo came to search. Mainguy went to the Ropers house and the three sailors were moved to a corn field, not far from the house. Then he went to the Maison d'Alphonse to warn Jean Gicquel. They took the airmen, including the casualty, to a hay loft above the stable, while Mme Gicquel cleared away any trace of their stay in the house. In the end there was no further action from the Gestapo.
Finally, on 10 July, the weather improved and on the evening of the 11th, the confirmation message was included in the long list of personal messages sent that evening by the B.B.C. As soon as it got dark, Mainguy and Huet went to the minefield to set up the stakes and white rags to mark each mine.
Everyone left the Maison d'Alphonse with extra care, due to the increased surveillance of the German and Russian troops in the coastal sector. Around 11.30, the column reached the minefield and halted. It was a dark night and Huet and Mainguy had some difficulty in finding the white markers they had placed just two hours earlier. As each one was found, man in front whispered to the man behind: "Attention, Mine!" These two words were repeated down the line. The embarkation proceeded normally but then there was the return, again through the minefield. The last man collected the seventeen white marker rags, counting carefully to make sure none were left behind.
After 12 July they had to wait for the next moonless period. They used this respite to distribute the weapons and ammunition received from the MGB as well as those still hidden by Jean Gicquel, by Mainguy's father, and François Le Cornec. Some of the weapons were passed on to A.S. groups of the Coat-Mallouen maquis.
The Plouha group were now determined to form their own maquis under François Le Cornec, advised by Lucien Dumais, and based at the Bois de la Salle. The headquarters was transferred from Gilles Lemarchand's farm to his neighbour, François Goarin, mayor of Pludual. In the attic of a vast barn on the Goarin farm, Dumais, assisted by Francis Baudet and François Le Cornec, taught weapons handling to the young recruits.
Section heads for the new maquis were appointed: Louis Le Bail of Pléguien, Louis Le Breton of Plourhan, Eugene Courson, Jean Hamon, Jean Auffret, Carbonnier, François Le Cavorzin, Pierre Huet and Guy Mainguy. They also recruited others until the company had about a hundred and sixty men. At first, they couldn't all stay together as a group but by about 20 July they had tents and a kitchen, with regular supplies, and the maquis took on a permanent character. Raymond Labrosse's radio was set up and monitored by Dumais, or Le Cornec as the maquis commander.
Having suddenly left the maquis to go secretly to Coat-Mallouen, Dumais and Le Cornec returned to Plouha on Saturday 23 July accompanied by five Anglo-American soldiers (sic) including two officers. They arrived at the Maison d'Alphonse that evening and Dumais gave Jean Gicquel the responsibility of lodging and feeding their new guests who he intended to evacuate on the next operation, planned for the following night. London seemed impatient to recover the members from an apparently very important mission.
Two of the men, Major Oswald Cary-Elwes and his batman Sgt E Mills, had parachuted in near Sérent (Morbihan) the night of the 21/22 June 1944 on an SAS intelligence gathering mission called Lost. The second officer was an RAF liaison officer known as Major Smith. Along the way they also picked up two aircrew evaders. Having achieved their mission, the Lost mission was ordered to return to England as quickly as possible by using the Shelburne network.
The two evading airmen were P-38 pilot Major William S Jones USAAF (#834) shot down 24 May 44 and Spitfire pilot F/Sgt Thomas Philip Fargher RAF (2057) shot down 11 July 44 I don't know how they linked up with the Lost mission
After linking up the maquis de Gaulle, they were passed on to an A.S. group at Coat-Mallouen, who contacted Albert Le Marchand and the Plouha group. Some of the party rode in Le Marchand's cart and others went by bicycle. Le Marchand led the (unnamed) horse with Cary-Elwes's documents hidden in the animal's collar and under the cart. They went to Plouha, from where Le Cornec and Dumais guided them to the Maison d'Alphonse.
Jean Gicquel was used to dealing with airmen so he was surprised when Dumais told him that the five men he had just brought to Saint-Samson were officers and Anglo-American soldiers (sic) that the organisation needed to get across the Channel as quickly as possible. Dumais and Le Cornec worked out their timetable - making contact with London, alerting the Plouha agents etc - and then left to go to Mme Le Calvez in Kerlerot where they had transferred their headquarters.
The two men had only just left when Mme Gicquel, who was with her husband in another room from the evaders, thought she heard a noise outside - there was no doubt there was someone outside the house. Jean Gicquel thought at first that Dumais and Le Cornec had returned, or perhaps one of the evaders had gone out. He went to the door and found two soldiers there. He tried to close the door to give the evaders time get up into the attic. Then the first shots sounded. Jean Gicquel went back to the door and came face to face with two Russian soldiers who could see the trap door to the attic, which they assumed was an emergency exit. According to Jean Gicquel, the two Russians even shouted at the 'terrorists' to go. Sgt Mills says that shots came through the floor and others hit the roof where they were trapped. Suddenly, everything went quiet. Seeing no-one come down from the attic, and not daring themselves to go up, the Russians withdrew to the courtyard where one of their men lay wounded, hit in the groin by a stray round. Jean Gicquel treated the wounded man as best he could and then borrowed a cart from his neighbour François Ellien so the soldiers could carry their injured comrade away.
Jean Gicquel knew the Russians were bound to blame their comrade's wound on terrorists and would therefore be back - they had to leave the house immediately. Marie Gicquel was already ready and she took their six week old baby to her mother-in-law's house, four hundred metres down the road, where her husband would join them later. The five evaders were taken to a corn field and hidden in a pit.
Jean Gicquel, his wife and child went to the Le Calvez home in Plouha and sent word to Dumais to warn the organisation. Dumais and Le Cornec came out to tell the Anglo-American group they would have to be moved in case of reprisals. Each man was given a Colt automatic and grenades before Dumais led them off. They walked through the night to a secluded area where Dumais thought they should be safe. They would have stay laying in the gorse all day until it got dark again.
Dumais also decided that Jean Gicquel should be taken out on this operation. Marie Gicquel and their child were moved to stay with Mme Calennec at Pommerit-le-Vicomte, where they remained until Liberation.
Later that day (24 July) a group of German and Russian troops arrived at the Gicquel house. They interrogated the neighbours and searched the area. Then they set fire to the house and blew it up with explosives, destroying the Maison d'Alphonse.
The "Maison d'Alphonse" was never rebuilt. The few blackened sections of wall which remained were soon covered by vegetation. Today there is nothing but a plaque to mark where the house once stood.
At the end of this eventful day, Dumais confirmed that the operation should still go ahead, and London agreed, since they regarded the return of Lost mission personnel as imperative.
After the destruction of the Maison d'Alphonse, Russian and German patrols were increased in the sector between the Pointe de la Tour and Plouha. Russian soldiers also started firing for no apparent reason. Even in Plouha, the Germans were shooting at anyone who didn't stop at their controls or who broke the curfew, and many people were forced to take refuge in the church.
Dumais asked Le Cornec to prepare a half-section of maquis with a light machine-gun to protect the column on the approach to the beach. He went to tell Henri Goarin and Albert Le Marchand to take their horse and cart to Kerlerot, in case there were weapons to bring back from l'Anse-Cochat. They agreed to meet at ten o'clock in a field near Mme Le Calvez's house. The cart was uncoupled and hidden under a pile of hay while the horse was tethered to a tree.
At ten o'clock, everyone was ready. The Shelburne group had pistols and sub-machine guns, the maquis had sub-machine guns and the light machine-gun. Half an hour later, they set off with Pierre Huet and Job Mainguy serving as scouts, leading the way through the fields. Then came François Le Cornec, Ray Labrosse, François Le Cavorzin, Marie-Thérèse Le Calvez, Jean Gicquel and Jean Auffret of Shelburne, with a group of maquis guarding the five evaders.
For this operation they started from Trévros. The approach to Plage Bonaparte and l'Anse-Cochat, was along the narrow path where Mainguy and Huet had already had located the mines and found a way through. The Kerlivio-Saint-Samson-Kerlevenez-Trévros road marked the limit for the enemy patrols. When they reached the barbed wire surrounding the minefield, they left three men with the machine-gun covering their approach route and moved towards the beach, which they reached without incident twenty minutes later.
Richards has this operation (Crozier II) the night of 23/24 July and F/Sgt Fargher's MI9 report supports this.
The sea was calm and at about one-thirty, Mainguy heard the sound of oars. He stopped signalling and warned those waiting below that the boats had arrived. When they went out onto the beach to find them they were met by armed English sailors. The English were surprised by the unusual deployment of force on the French side. Dumais and the Lost mission officers explained the situation to Major John Vemey (SAS) who had come in with the landing party. The three surf-boats were filled with bags of weapons.
The heavy cargo was unloaded onto the beach and Jean Gicquel and the five evaders climbed into the surf-boats, which soon disappeared back into the darkness.
The column crossed back through the minefield and collected the machine-gun crew. They had not seen anything during the operation but had heard firing coming from the patrolled areas. It was about three o'clock when the group returned to the meadow where they had left the horse and cart. The weapons from the MGB were loaded onto the cart and covered with hay. They had to wait until eight o'clock, when the curfew was lifted, before they could take wagon to M Le Merchant at Lizandré. The following night, the weapons was taken to the Bois de la Salle maquis. These weapons would be used for the liberation of Plouha.
Shelburne's eighth and final operation from Bonaparte beach (Crozier III) took place the night of 8/9 August when MTB 718 collected three agents.
As the Maison d'Alphonse no longer existed, the rendezvous was fixed near the fountain at Kéruzeau. They crossed the minefield, climbed down ravine and reached the beach without incident, no longer concerned about the blockhouse of Pointe de la Tour which was now deserted, the Germans having abandoned it some days earlier.
The MTB was already in the bay and, for the first time, they could see her silhouette taking shape in the morning sun. On board, lookouts spotted the men on the beach and immediately launched a boat. This time there were no weapons or materiel to be landed. The English sailors were able to see their French allies for the first time congratulations and handshakes were exchanged. The boat moved away again quickly with the final three passengers. One last walk back through the minefield and the Shelburne mission was over.
Click here to read about the Oaktree Mission of Val Williams and Ray Labrosse