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Bordeaux-Loupiac – Jean-Claude Camors and the Suzanne-Renée
This story has been assembled from the escape reports of the evaders concerned, with additional details added from other sources. It does not necessarily agree completely with other accounts but is the best reconstruction that I have managed to achieve to date.
Names with (query) after them have not been confirmed by other sources
This page first posted 6 Feb 2014 - updated 14 Dec 2015
On 18 October 1943, twenty-three Allied aircrew evaders were taken to the breton fishing port of Camaret-sur-Mer, just south of Brest. The plan was to smuggle them on board a breton fishing boat called the Suzanne-Renée the following morning in an operation organised by Jean-Claude Camors, head of the Bordeaux-Loupiac organisation ...
Arthur Riseley (1496) Thomas Hedley (1497) John Checketts (1495) Terence Kearins (1498) James Wilson (#289) Walter Hargrove (#293) and William Rice (#297) had all been helped by Rene Guittard and the Bordeaux-Loupiac organisation in Frevent (Pas-de-Calais) before being brought to Paris ...
F/O Arthur H Riseley (1496) and F/Sgt Thomas J Hedley (1497) were the pilot and wireless operator of 88 Sqn Boston BZ359 which was returning from Albert (Picardy) on 16 August 1943 when they were attacked by fighters. With both engines damaged, the aircraft was force-landed north of Auxi-le-Chateau, where it burnt out.
Riseley and Hedley were sheltered separately in Auxi and nearby Gueschart but brought together at Auxi-le-Chateau shortly before 24 September when Joseph Becker drove them and Walter Hargrove (#293) to Amiens ...
2/Lt Walter Hargrove (#293) was the bombardier of B-17 42-29635 Augerhead (303BG/358BS) (Monahan) which was recalled from a visit to Romilly on 31 August 1943 and diverted to Amiens. An engine failure dropped them out of formation and a fighter attack forced them to abandon the aircraft. Hargrove landed just north of Abbeville and set off walking north-east. He evaded alone for four days before he found help near Willencourt, staying there two days until 6 September when he was collected by a Gestapo agent named Becker and driven to Auxi-le-Chateau ...
S/Ldr John M Checketts RNZAF (1495) was flying 485 Sqn Spitfire EN572 on a Ramrod (bomber escort) sortie to Cambrai on 6 September 1943 when he was shot down near Le Treport by enemy fighters and baled out. Checketts was helped almost immediately after landing in a field near Tours-en-Vimeu (south-west of Abbeville) and taken to the house of Marcel et Charlotte Lecointe at Visme-au-Val, where he joined 181 Sqn Typhoon pilot P/O Edwin Haddock (LIB/861). On 22 September, Checketts was moved to Boufflers where he stayed overnight with Mme Vve Marguerite Tellier at the Manoir de Gourlay on rue Principale before going on to Auxi-le-Chateau where he joined a group of evaders ...
F/Sgt Terence S F Kearins RNZAF (1498) was flying 485 Sqn Spitfire EN573 on a Ramrod sortie to Amiens on 15 July 1943 when he was shot down by fighters and baled out. Kearins landed about five miles west of Hesdin (Nord-Pas-de-Calais) and was helped almost immediately, sheltered for eight weeks by M et Mme Theophile Forgez on their farm near Le Quesnoy-en-Artois. On 23 September, M Forgez drove Kearins to Auxi-le-Chateau and passed him over to the Bordeaux-Loupiac organisation. After being taken to buy shoes and a cap, he joined an American pilot who spoke German and French and at about four o'clock that afternoon, joined fellow Kiwi Checketts and two Americans (Wilson and Rice) to be driven to Amiens by a man named Becker, who worked for the Gestapo !
The American pilot was RAF Typhoon pilot evader 700710 Sgt Harold Merlin (2432) – shot down on 16 August 1943 on the same Ramrod sortie as Soren Liby (see later). He was born to British parents in Greece and after emigrating to America for eight years, the family moved to Paris. Harold was educated in Switzerland and at the beginning of the war, as a fluent French and German speaker, was working for an American magazine in Paris. Joseph Becker was an Alsatian and naturalised German with his own transport company and a Gestapo permit to drive his German registered car - he was also one of the five local Bordeaux-Loupiac section heads. Becker (born November 1910) was arrested on 15 December 1943 and condemned to death but escaped from prison in Lille the following month. After the war, Joseph Becker was awarded a KMC.
S/Sgt James G Wilson (#289) was a waist-gunner and S/Sgt William W Rice (#297) the ball-turret gunner of B-17 42-30010 (92BG/407BS) (Asher) which was on the way to Stuttgart on 6 September 1943. They had just crossed the French coast when something happened (it's not clear from either of their reports exactly what) that caused the crew to abandon the aircraft. Rice was helped immediately on landing and Wilson within a few hours. Unfortunately neither of their Appendix Cs are very legible so I'm not sure how they wound up with Bordeaux-Loupiac at Auxi-le-Chateau before being taken to Paris ...
In the afternoon of 23 September, Joseph Becker drove Checketts, Kearins, Wilson and Rice to Amiens station where they were put on a train to Paris. They were met at the Gare du Nord by a man known as Raoul and taken by Metro to an apartment (address unknown) in the Porte de Versailles area. The following morning, Becker drove Riseley, Hedley and Hargrove to Amiens where Antoine (from Lille) and a young girl took them by train to Paris. They were also met at the Gare du Nord by Raoul and taken by Metro to the Porte de Versailles apartment, where a party of evaders was assembled ...
After two (or three) nights in the apartment at the Porte de Versailles, Raoul (Jean-Claude Camors) Pierre (Charnier) and a girl (Claude Depesme - query) took the group from Auxi-le-Chateau – Riseley, Hedley, Hargrove, Checketts, Kearins, Wilson and Rice - plus 2/Lt Russell M Brooke (#241) - by train to Cezy, near Joigny, Yonne (about 50 miles south-west of Troyes) ...
2/Lt Russell M Brooke (#241) and S/Sgt Duane J Lawhead (#245) were the co-pilot and tail-gunner of B-17 41-24591 Rigor Mortis (305BG/366BS) (Halliday) which was returning from Stuttgart on 6 September 1943 and just short of Beauvais when they found, like so many others that day, they were running out of fuel. As they left formation they were attacked by fighters and the aircraft was abandoned to crash near Neufchatel-en-Bray (Seine-Maritime).
Both men landed near Saint-Martin l'Hortier (Seine Maritime) were soon helped and as of 13 September, their journey together arranged. They were visited by Jeanette (Claude Depesme) who took their names and ASN numbers. Two days later, on (about) 26 September, they were taken to Neufchatel station and joined Jeanette who took them to Paris, arriving at two o'clock the following morning. They were met by another man (Pierre Charnier – query) who took them to an apartment house where they joined the group of seven airmen from Auxi-le-Chateau. Lawhead stayed on in the Porte de Versailles apartment while the other eight were taken to Joigny ...
2/Lt John W Bieger (#133) was the co-pilot of B-17 42-3071 (94BG/331BS) (Watts) which was on the way to Le Bourget on 14 July 1943 when it was attacked by fighters and abandoned. Bieger landed just north-east of Paris, near Mitry-Mory (Seine-et-Marne) and over the next eight days, made his way south some two hundred miles to Varennes-sur-Allier (Auvergne). After leaving the farm where he spent the night of 22-23 July, four men on bicycles caught up with him, one of whom had seen him at the farm and reported it to the local resistance chief. Bieger was taken to the home of one of the men, an Algerian with the code-name of Mesin who spoke some English. He stayed with Mesin until 23 August, when he was moved to a resistance camp in the mountains. Mesin contacted a group in Lyon and on (about) 20 September, Bieger was taken to Lyon where he met Raoul (Jean-Claude Camors). Raoul took Bieger to Joigny (Yonne) and he was sheltered with M et Mme Brun (she was English) at their home south-west of Joigny, in Chassy par Aillant-sur-Tholon, where he was joined Soren Liby ...
Lt Soren K Liby RNAF (1488) was flying 118 Sqn Spitfire EP126 on a Ramrod sortie on 16 August 1943 when he was shot down by enemy fighters. He was sheltered in and around Cabourg and Trouville (on the Normandy coast, east of Caen) until 6 September when he was taken to Paris and handed over to Jean-Claude (Camors) and another man at the Gare du Nord. They took him to stay with Mme Clothilde Derheimer at 150 rue Ordener, Paris XVIII until (about) 20 September, when Jean-Claude and a French barrister (query) collected him and took him to Joigny. He stayed one night in a German officer's mess (or club) before being moved to Chassy par Aillant-sur-Tholon where he stayed with an Englishwoman named Mme Brun and joined John Bieger. On Thursday 30 September, Liby and Bieger were returned to Joigny where they met John Checketts et al ...
On Friday I October, a young French boy took all ten airmen (the eight from Paris plus Bieger and Liby) back to Paris, where they were met by Raoul. After a meal at the Porte de Versailles apartment, they (and Lawhead) joined a group of nine more airmen brought from Troyes, and Raoul and Pierre took all twenty evaders by overnight train to Vannes, on the Brittany coast, arriving 2 October 1943 ...
2/Lt Arthur M Swap (#127) was the pilot of B-17 42-30222 Lone Wolf (563BS/388BG) which was returning from Stuttgart on 6 September 1943 and north-east of Troyes when they were shot down by fighters. Swap landed about fifteen miles north-east of Troyes and was soon helped, being sheltered by Joseph Foimici (query) at Pel-et-Der (Aube) for three weeks. On about 20 September, Swap was driven into Troyes (his cover story being that he was a Polish thief being taken into custody by his driver's gendarme friend, André) where he was taken to the driver's brother's house and joined his co-pilot Alfred Kramer (#128). A few days later the gendarme's wife Marie took Swap and Kramer to have their photographs taken before going on to a bakery where they joined one of their waist-gunners, William Vickless (#129) top-turret gunner T/Sgt Merl E Martin (#294) radio operator T/Sgt Allen J Priebe (#295) 2/Lt Richard Cunningham (#131) S/Sgt Marius Brohard (#132) S/Sgt Hershall Richardson (#176) and S/Sgt Floyd M Carl (#246). They were all given ID cards and on 29 September, put on a train to Paris with their guide Pierre ...
1/Lt Alfred Kramer (#128) was also helped soon after landing although his helpers were suspicious at first, only being convinced of his identity after he answered a written question sent by his bombardier 2/Lt Robert G Burnett (#1405) who was being sheltered nearby. On 9 September, Kramer was taken to a road where a car was waiting. The driver was a gendarme named André and he had Burnett with him. A few minutes later, they were joined by their gunner William Vickless (#129) and André drove the three Americans into Troyes. Kramer and Burnett stayed at André's house where they remained indoors until about 20 September, when Kramer was moved to André's brother's house and joined his pilot Arthur Swap (#127) ...
S/Sgt William H Vickless (#129) was also helped soon after landing, taken home by a farmer who called two other men, one of whom took Vickless back to his home. Vickless was told his fellow waist-gunner S/Sgt Walter Soukup (#302) had just left and that his radio operator Allen Priebe (#295) had stayed overnight in the house that Vickless was going to. Next morning the farmer went into Troyes and in the afternoon, returned with a gendarme in a police wagon with his co-pilot Alfred Kramer (#128) and bombardier Robert Burnett (#1405) already inside. They were driven into Troyes where Vickless stayed alone at the home of a gendarme (another one - query) and on the third day, Marie took him to stay with René Buitne (query) where he remained until joining Swap, Kramer, Martin, Priebe, Cunningham and Brohard ...
2/Lt Richard N Cunningham (#131) was the pilot of B-17 42-3425 In God We Trust (388BG/563BS) which was returning from Stuttgart on 6 September 1943 when they were attacked by fighters and the aircraft abandoned. He landed near Troyes and was soon intercepted by a French boy. The boy had apparently been looking for downed airmen because he had a bundle of civilian clothes with him that he gave Cunningham to wear before taking him on the handlebars of his bicycle, back to his home in Troyes. The boy's parents were too frightened to keep Cunningham so the boy arranged to have him taken to Rouilly-Saint-Loup and turned over to a saboteur named Louis Trepogny (query). On 18 September, Cunningham was moved to St Parres (3 kms east of Troyes) to stay with the Mortrey family where the son was a local leader of saboteurs – his group collecting containers dropped by the RAF while Cunningham was there. At the end of the month, a girl came from Paris to interview Cunningham before Louis Trepogny drove him and a Belgian named Albert Kaiser, to a house in Troyes where Cunningham met Pierre (Charnier) - and joined Marius Brohard (#132) Arthur Swap (#127) Alfred Kramer (#128) William Vickless (#129) Hershall Richardson (#176) ...
S/Sgt Marius L Brohard (#132) was a waist-gunner on B-17 42-3425 In God We Trust (Cunningham) (see above) and on landing near Sainte-Maure (just north of Troyes) was immediately hidden in a thicket by a farmer who brought him food and clothing and that night, took him to his father's house in Sainte-Maure. Later that night, three men came with bicycles to take Brohard into Troyes where he stayed with the same gendarme (André) who later sheltered Alfred Kramer (#128). Brohard was interviewed by the English wife of one of the men who had collected him and on 10 September, was taken to stay with Raymond Wagner (head of the Troyes organisation) at 41 rue du Faubourg Croncels. He joined Allen Priebe (#295), who had been collected by Wagner earlier, and Wagner brought a message from his pilot Richard Cunningham (#131). On about 20 September, a girl (small, pretty, brunette) came from Paris to get their names and take their photographs, staying the night at Wagner's house. On 29 September, Pierre came from Paris and had a meeting with the evaders in a bakery where they were divided into groups, each with their own guide - Brohard and Cunningham being taken by “the mademoiselle” who lived in the flat above the Wagner family ...
S/Sgt Herschell L Richardson (#176) was the right waist-gunner of B-17 42-30000 (92BG/327BS) (Bogard) which was returning from Stuttgart on 6 September 1943 when it was attacked by fighters and abandoned west of Troyes. Richardson landed about a quarter of mile south of Estissac, some twenty kms west of Troyes, and a few moments later, was joined by his ball-turret gunner S/Sgt Floyd M Carl (#246). The two men walked to Chennegy where they approached a farmer who hid them in his barn, gave them food and civilian clothes and sheltered them for the next four days. On 10 September, a man called Jacques arrived to take Richardson and Carl by lorry to a chateau at Chamoy where they stayed fifteen days until a threatened German search had them moved to a barn. Jacques received supplies of guns, ammunition and explosives and told the Americans he could do with more 30 calibre machine-guns, Thompsons, smaller than .45 automatic pistols, stout shoes and raincoats. Shortly after that their pilot 1/Lt Wayne C Bogard, radio operator T/Sgt Max Gibbs (#436) and tail-gunner S/Sgt Cloe R Crutchfield (#437) were brought in and Jacques drove all five of them to Troyes. After three days in Troyes, they were taken to a bakery where ID papers were being made and joined sixteen more Americans ...
On 29 September, Pierre Charnire took a group of nine evaders – Arthur Swap (#127) Alfred Kramer (#128) William Vickless (#129) Richard Cunningham (#131) Marius Brohard (#132) Hershall Richardson (#176) Floyd Carl (#246) Merl Martin (#294) and Allen Priebe (#295) - to Paris, where they were met by Jean-Claude Camors and taken to the Porte de Versailles apartment ...
The other fifteen Americans left Troyes for Paris in two more groups shortly afterwards – one of which included Wayne Bogard, Max Gibbs (#436) and Cloe Crutchfield (#437) who were later taken to Rennes by Pierre Charnier ...
The twenty airmen from Joigny and Troyes that Camors and Charnier had brought from Paris, arrived in Vannes (50 kms south-east of Lorient) at about eight o'clock on the morning of Friday 1 October and were quickly dispersed to various locations :
Soren Liby (1488) John Checketts (1495) and Terence Kearins (1498) were taken by twenty-one year old Agnes de la Barre de Nanteuil to stay with a farmer named Levanant (query) about six kilometres inland from Vannes.
Arthur Riseley (1496) Thomas Hedley (1497) and two Americans (query) stayed at a house on the outskirts of Vannes, owned by a family named Filleul (query).
Richard Cunningham (#131) and Russell Brooke (#241) stayed in Vannes with Dr Joseph Marie Audic at 12 Place Gambetta. Arthur Swap (#127) and William Vickless (#129) were sheltered near the centre of Vannes by Mme Guy Wilthew at 16 rue des Chanoines while Floyd Carl (#246) Merl Martin (#294) and Allen Priebe (#295) were taken to stay the weekend with Mme De La Rey of 1 rue Allain Legrand. John Bieger (#133) and William Rice (#297) were sheltered in Vannes with a widow (no name given).
Alfred Kramer (#128) and Hershall Richardson (#176) were taken to Arradon (south-west of Vannes) to stay the weekend with a clergyman named Jean Allaniou. Marius Brohard (#132) and Duane Lawhead (#245) were sheltered on a farm by a M Maynard (query).
James Wilson (#289) and Walter Hargrove (#293) were taken by bicycle to Larmor-Baden by Catherine de la Barre de Nanteuil (the younger sister of Agnes) who took them by boat to the Ile de la Jument. They were sheltered by Catherine's aunt (query) Solange and her husband, former naval officer and active resistant, Eugene Robert Defforges, along and his brother-in-law (query), brother of the Belgian Consul in London.
Both Agnes and Catherine de la Barre de Nanteuil, and the Defforges, were arrested in March 1944 ...
Another group of evaders were assembled in Paris at the home of Henri Maréchaux on rue de la Chapelle – only going briefly to the apartment at Porte de Versailles before being taken by train to Quimper in Brittany (about half way between Brest and Lorient) on Monday 4 October ...
1/Lt Demetrios Karnezis (#126) was the pilot of B-17 42-3293 Slightly Dangerous (388BG/560BS) which was shot down returning from Stuttgart on 6 September 1943. He was sheltered at La Chapitre (Yonne) until 10 September when he was taken to Paris. He was sheltered by Henri Maréchaux, wife Emilienne and son Jacques at 19 rue de la Chapelle, Paris (18e) being joined there by Warren Graff (#130) Frank Kimotek (#134) Edwin Myers (#135) and Andre Poirier (LIB/1499) ...
F/O Warren E Graff (#130) was flying P-47 41-6391 (78FG/82FS) and returning from a bomber escort sortie to Germany on 30 July 1943 when he was shot down by enemy fighters. Graff landed near Dunkirk and after evading alone for six days, finally approached a farmhouse. Through a series of helpers, Graff was eventually taken to Wicquinghem (Pas-de-Calais) where the maire, Gaston Péroy sheltered him for a week before taking him to the Fillerin farm at Renty. After two and half weeks with Mme Marguerite Fillerin and her three children (husband Norbert had been arrested on 5 March 1943), he and French pilot evader Andre Poirier (LIB/1499) were driven to Anvin (on about 28 August) and taken by train to Paris by M Péroy‘s son Lucien. They were delivered to Henri Maréchaux and family at 19 rue de la Chapelle. After a few days, Poirier left with his father. Graff was visited by Raoul and Pierre and on 6 September, joined by Demetrios Karnezis (#126) and Frank Kimotek (#134) ...
S/Sgt Frank Kimotek (#134) was the radio operator of B-17 42-29635 Augerhead (303BG/358BS) (Monahan) which was over Amiens on 31 August 1943 when they were attacked by fighters and the aircraft abandoned. Kimotek came down just south-west of Dieppe, landing in a tree where he stayed for some time because he could hear people below. When he did finally climb down, he was spotted immediately by a group of Frenchmen who had been searching for him. They took his parachute and flying gear but then scattered at the approach of some German soldiers. After hiding overnight, Kimotek met an elderly man who gave him some food and civilian clothing and the following afternoon, Kimotek approached a large farm. He was taken in and given a meal and after two more farmers were called, one of whom spoke English, Kimotek to taken to another farm to stay overnight. When Kimotek told them he wanted to go to Paris, one of the farmers arranged to have him taken to the railway station at Senoport and for a young woman schoolteacher to go with him to Paris. They met the woman's cousin, a young girl called Therese, who took Kimotek back to her apartment where first Pierre (an ex-officer in the French army, about forty-five years old, short and stocky with thin, light coloured hair) and then a man called Maurice came and interrogated him. Next day, Maurice and Therese took him to an apartment next to the German hospital near the Gare du Nord where Kimotek stayed until French pilot Andre Poirier took him to the Maréchaux apartment at 19 rue de la Chapelle where he joined Warren Graff (#130) ...
T/Sgt Edwin R Myers (#135) was the radio operator of B-17 42-29789 Big Time Operator (381BG/535BS) (Zum) which was over Romilly on 3 September 1943 when they were attacked by fighters. After losing two engines, the aircraft was abandoned. Myers made a deliberately delayed jump, aiming for a wood (which he missed completely) and landing in an open field near Chalmaison (Seine-et-Marne). After walking to nearby Famboin, Myers was helped by various people until being taken to the home of a clergyman in Chalmaison. Nine girls from Paris staying there, aged between fourteen and twenty-three, and after about six days, two of the girls and their mother, took Myers to their apartment in Paris. On about 15 October, he was moved to a hotel opposite the Saint-Philippe du Roule Metro station (presumably on Avenue Victor Emmanuelle III - now Ave Franklin D Roosevelt) where the owner took care of him. A week later, Myers was moved to stay with Mme Suzanne Sykes at 27 rue Brezin, Garches, Seine-et-OIse for another week before he was returned to Paris and taken to the Maréchaux apartment at 19 rue de la Chapelle ...
On Monday 4 October, Jeanette (Claude Depesme) came to collect the four Americans and they joined Raoul and Pierre (Camors & Charnier) who were taking Jack Ryan (#136) and Wayne Radar (#137) by train to Quimper in Brittany ...
2/Lt Jack E Ryan (#136) and 2/Lt Wayne S Rader (#137) were the co-pilot and bombardier of B-17 42-30001 Mary Ann (379BG/526BS) (Bedwell) which was over Le Bourget on the morning of 16 August 1943 when they were attacked by fighters. With only two functioning engines and the inter-phone, electrical systems and tail-guns knocked out, the aircraft was abandoned.
Ryan landed near Morsang-sur-Seine (Ile-de-France, south-east of Paris) and that evening, met a woodcutter who brought a M Foss (query), owner of a hotel at Morsang-sur-Seine. The following evening, M Foss and his son took Ryan to the river Seine where two teenage brothers, Roland (19) and Claude (16) rowed him across and took him to their home where he stayed with their parents, father (name not given) a retired salesman and Suzanne Papoint, a mid-wife of 18 rue de l'avenir, Corbeil-Essonnes, Seine-et-Oise. Mme Papoint owned a maternity home (employing one nurse and a maid) and Ryan stayed there for two nights. The local resistance leader, M Houdet (query) came to Ryan and told him that his bombardier Wayne Radar was being sheltered by a one-armed and rather psychopathic young Frenchman who was refusing to let him go unless he was promised an American decoration. M Houdet, Jacques Houdet, Roland and Claude took Ryan to the house where they persuaded the Frenchman to let Radar go. Ryan and Radar then returned to the nursing home where they stayed for the next six weeks ...
Radar was thrown from the aircraft when it exploded and he landed near Corbeil-Essonnes, close to his navigator 2/Lt Mario W Delke Jnr. Delke had a broken leg and insisted on Radar leaving him but he didn't get far before a crowd of Frenchmen appeared. Radar decided to avoid them and ran across some swamp-land to a road where he used another group of Frenchmen as camouflage to leave the immediate area. He soon met another man who called some friends to bring clothes and food. They also brought a doctor and that night, one of them stayed with Radar in a deserted hut. The following night, a one-armed man of about twenty-three arrived and took Radar back to his house in Corbeil-Essonnes ...
On 30 September, M Houdet brought a “beautiful twenty-one year old girl” who took Ryan and Radar by train into Paris and an apartment in Issy-les-Molineaux (or Port de Versailles) where Raoul (Camors) took them to have their photographs taken and false papers were made for them. They also met Pierre (Charnier) who was supposed to meet a party of eleven men from Troyes at the Gare de Lyon that evening and bring them to the nearby Gare de Montparnasse where they would join Ryan and Radar. The plan was then for Jeanette (Claude Depesme) to take them to Vannes but when Pierre's group failed to arrive, Jeanette took Ryan and Radar to Vannes anyway. Unfortunately, Raoul was the only one who knew how to contact the group in Vannes and he was with Pierre at the Gare de Lyon. When Raoul failed to arrive in Vannes, Jeanette took Ryan and Radar back to Paris where they found a note saying that Raoul had already left for Vannes with the evaders from Troyes, plus another group of airmen that Pierre had brought from Joigny. Rather than go back to Vannes immediately, Jeanette decided they should stay in the Issy-les-Molineaux apartment until after the weekend. Before they left, Jeanette went to another house (19 rue de la Chapelle) where she collected Demetrios Karnezis (#126) Warren Graff (#130) Frank Kimotek (#134) and Edwin Myers (#135) and Raoul and Pierre took all six Americans by train to Quimper, arriving late (after curfew) on Monday 4 October. The airmen were taken in groups by Mlle Joe (Mme Ghislaine Niox), Pierre Philippon and another Frenchman (Jean de la Patelliere - query), to various homes to wait the six hours for an early morning train to Brest. Mme Niox and Pierre Philippon then took the airmen to Brest where they were met Paul Le Baron before Mme Niox took them to stay with her parents, Colonel and Jeanne Scheidhauer at rue Neptune ...
Meanwhile, Camors went to see Mme Marguerite Vourc'h at Plomodiern before he and Yves Vourc'h went on to Camaret to make final arrangements for the operation with local organiser Pierre Merrien.
On Tuesday morning (5 October) seven of the evaders brought to Vannes from Paris the previous Friday - Arthur Riseley (1496) Thomas Hedley (1497) Richard Cunningham (#131) Russell Brooke (#241) Floyd Carl (#246) Merl Martin (#294) and Allen Priebe (#295) – were returned to Vannes station where they met four more evading airmen ...
Donald McGourlick (1489) Harold Nielsen (1649) Thomas Adams (1650) and Lionel Drew (#288) arrived by train from Nantes and while McGourlick stayed in Vannes, Nielson, Adams and Drew joined the other seven airmen to take the train for Brest.
F/O Donald F McGourlick RCAF (1489) was the tail-gunner of 106 Sqn Lancaster DV196 (Wodehouse) which was returning from Milan the night of 7-8 August 1943 and approaching Dijon when some incendiaries which had hung-up in the bomb bay, ignited and set the aircraft on fire.
McGourlick landed near Bligny-sur-Ourche (Cote d'Or, Burgundy) and was sheltered, along with two of his crew, wireless operator Sgt Harold L Nielsen (1649) and flight engineer Sgt Thomas H Adams (1650) by Georges Baudoin at Notre Dame, Semur-en-Auxois. On 16 August, all three were taken by train to Joigny by a man named Alain Lascombes and that same night, driven to Aillant-sur-Tholon where they stayed with a veterinary surgeon, his wife and daughter. Here they met Lt Lionel E Drew Jnr (#288) and on 18 August, McGourlick and Drew were moved to Saint-Aubin-Chateau-Neuf where they stayed with the maire Maxine Carre - while Nielsen and Adams went to Bleury (Poilly-sur-Tholon) where they stayed with cultivateur Lucien Boudot. On 6 September, Nielson and Adams joined them at St Aubin and all four men were immediately taken to Paris by two men – Raoul (tall and dark) and Pierre (short and fair). Raoul and Pierre took them to an apartment where they stayed until 8 September when they were moved to the Hotel de Paris (or Grand Hotel de France – 1649/50) at 27 rue de Provence, Paris IX. On 12 September, they were moved to an apartment in the Mairie d'Issy district (or Port de Versailles). On 23 September, Raoul and Pierre took them by train to Nantes, where Nielsen and Adams stayed in a small village about 6 kms south of Nantes while McGourlick and Drew went on to Sainte-Pazanne (about 20 kms SW of Nantes) to stay with painter and decorator, Robert Garand and his wife Renée on rue de la Cure. On 4 October, they were taken back to Nantes, collecting Nielsen and Adams at the station along on the way. At Nantes they were supposed to join Raoul and Pierre who were coming from Paris with twenty Americans. They stayed with a man called Jacques Dubois (which I'm guessing is a pseudonym) until ten that evening before going to the house of a French ex-officer until five the following morning when the train from Paris was due. They joined the train and proceeded to Vannes, arriving there at about eight-thirty in the morning of 5 October. McGourlick then left the others to be sheltered with Marcel Charles (head of a sabotage organisation) at rue Marechal Foch ...
The ten evaders who left Vannes that Monday morning on the train for Brest were (again) split into groups :
Russell Brooke (#241) Floyd Carl (#246) Merl Martin (#294) and Allen Priebe (#295) got off at Quimper where Pierre Phillipon took them to stay overnight with Mme Selan (Mme Celton of Ergué-Armel - query). Next day, Pierre took them on an afternoon train to Dournenez where they stayed with Marcel Laurent and Mlle Marguerite Seznec at 3 rue Emile Zola until 30 October. Brooke and Carl were later evacuated on Operation Envious IIb and Martin and Priebe on Operation Felicitate II ...
Harold Nielsen (1649) Thomas Adams (1650) and Lionel Drew (#288) got off at Chateaulin and were taken Saint-Nic where they stayed with Mme Vve Christine Aimee Magne. On 21 October, they were moved from Saint-Nic because the Gestapo were looking for Mme Magne's sister, Ghislaine Niox and taken to Brest where they stayed overnight with Mme Magne's parents, Colonel and Mme Scheidhauer at rue Neptune and then with Mme de la Marnierre at 17 rue Voltaire. Two weeks later they left for Landerneau and on to Ile Guennoc - all three were later evacuated on Operation Felicitate II ...
Arthur Riseley (1496) Thomas Hedley (1497) and Richard Cunningham (#131) stayed with their guide, Yves Vourc'h all the way to Brest where they were sheltered by Colonel Scheidhauer (chief of the local Civil Defence) at 1 rue Neptune, and where they were joined by six more airmen evaders ...
The six airmen who joined Riseley, Hedley and Cunningham at Brest were Jack Ryan's group from Paris who had been taken to Quimper by Raoul and Pierre on Monday evening before being brought to Colonel Scheidhauer's house the following morning by his eldest daughter Ghislaine Niox. Note that it is not certain from the conflicting reports which group arrived first or exactly when.
The Café de l'Epoque in Rennes
On 11 October 1943, Jean-Claude Camors, Remy Roure (and other Bordeaux-Loupiac members) were in Rennes, waiting in the Café de l'Epoque at 16 rue Pré Botté to collect a group of evaders (including Wayne Bogard, Max Gibbs (#436) and Cloe Crutchfield (#437) who had been brought from Paris by Pierre Charnier the previous day) to be taken to Brittany. Tragically, Camors recognised (and was recognised by) the French traitor and German infiltration agent Roger Leneveu and in the ensuing confrontation, Leneveu shot both Camors and Roure. Although Roure survived to be deported to Buchenwald – which he also survived – Jean-Claude Francois Camors died of his wounds later that day.
The Hotel Sainte-Marine at Morgat
The Hotel Saint-Marine, close to the beach at Morgat, had been requisitioned by the Luftwaffe and the evaders actually stayed with the hotel owner (Mons E Gouriou) in his house next door.
Soren Liby (1488) John Checketts (1495) and Terence Kearins (1498) stayed in Vannes until (about) 12 October when they were taken to Quimper. They were sheltered overnight with the wife of a garage proprietor, Mme Fernande Nargeot before being taken on to Chateaulin and a church some 10 kms away, at Menez-Hom. They stayed one day and night, sharing with three Americans - Swap (#127) Vickless (#129) and Rice (#297) - who had been brought there by Pierre Philippon, before walking to Crozon and then Morgat where all six stayed with M Gouriou, proprietor of the Hotel Sainte-Marine. On 18 October, the six airmen were taken to Camaret-sur-Mer where a party of twenty-three were assembled in M Bathany's bakery before being taken to board a fishing boat ...
In March 2014, Laurence Christu contacted me to confirm it was his grand-parents, Armand and Fernande Nargeot who sheltered Liby, Checkitts and Kearins overnight in their home at 3 rue du Pont l'Abbe in Quimper. He says that he had heard the story from childhood of the airmen staying and how the Germans had come to the door that evening. Fernande kept them talking while her daughter Jeanne, Laurence's mother, took the three airmen and hid them in the soldatenkino (a cinema for German soldiers) which opened into their garden, until the Germans left.
Arthur Swap (#127) and William Vickless (#129) stayed with Mme Guy Wilthew at 16 rue des Chanoines in Vannes for about eight days until a young (male) friend of Raoul's (Jean de la Patelliere - query), who lived in Vannes, took Swap, Vickless and six others (Kramer & Richardson, Brohard & Lawhead, Wilson & Hargrove) to Quimper. Swap and Vickless stayed overnight in a radio repair shop and next day, were taken on to Plomodiern. They walked to the church at Menez-Hom for a day and night before going on by train to Morgat where they stayed with M Gouriou, owner of the Hotel Sainte-Marine, along with Liby, Checketts, Kearins and Rice. After five days at Morgat, Swap and Vickless walked the seven or so kilometres to Camaret while the other four were driven by a doctor. At Camaret, they went to M Bathany's bakery where twenty-one other evaders and four Frenchmen were gathered ...
William Rice (#297) seems to have shared with John Bieger (#133) in Vannes, staying on after Bieger left until about 13 October, when he was taken to Chateaulin, where he changed trains for Crozon then walked to Morgat. He stayed next to the Hotel Sainte-Marine with Swap, Vickless, Liby, Checketts and Kearins for five or six days before a doctor drove him, Liby, Checketts and Kearins to Camaret ...
The Church at Menez-Hom
Many of the evaders refer to a stone church near Plomodiern which Huguen identifies as la Chapelle Sainte Marie du Menez-Hom – it can be found today on the D887, just north of Plomodiern and almost due east of Saint-Nic.
Arthur Riseley (1496) Thomas Hedley (1497) and Richard Cunningham (#131) joined Jack Ryan's group of six - Demetrios Karnezis (#126) Warren Graff (#130) Frank Kimotek (#134) Edwin Myers (#135) Jack Ryan (#136) and Wayne Radar (#137) - and all nine were provided with passes, certifying they were working in the prohibited zone.
On 16 October, Paul Le Baron took the nine airmen by train from Brest to Chateaulin (where I think they may have changed trains anyway) but were told the weather was too bad to let them go on to Camaret and so got off at Plomodiern instead. They walked to the stone church at Menez-Hom where they joined eight others (McGourlick, Kramer, Richardson, Brohard, Lawhead, Bieger, Wilson and Hargrove) and spent the night.
Donald McGourlick (1489) stayed in Vannes until 10 October, when Jacques Dubois took him to Quimper. On 15 October, he was taken to Plomodiern and the church at Menez-Hom where he met Riseley (1496) Jack Ryan (#136) et al ...
Alfred Kramer (#128) and Hershall Richardson (#176) stayed in Arradon until (about) 10 October when one of M Allaniou's sons took them to Quimper and passed them over to Pierre Philippon. Pierre delivered them to a bakery for one night then moved them to stay with lawyer Albert Forget at 5 rue Valentine. A few days later, Pierre (and another Frenchman) took them to the church at Menez-Hom where, on the second night, they were joined by Jack Ryan (#136) et al ...
Marius Brohard (#132) and Duane Lawhead (#245) were sheltered for about a week in a farmhouse near Vannes until Pierre Philippon took them to his house in Quimper. They were joined by John Bieger (#133) (also brought from Vannes by Pierre) and on 16 October, by another five evaders (McGourlick, Kramer, Richardson, Wilson and Hargrove) to be taken by train to Chateaulin. The eight men then walked to the stone church at Menez-Hom where they stayed four days, being joined on the second night by Cunningham (#131) Jack Ryan (#136) et al ...
James Wilson (#289) and Walter Hargrove (#293) spent about ten days on the Ile de la Jumet before Catherine de la Barre de Nanteuil brought them back to Vannes and took them by train to Quimper, where they joined Brohard and Lawhead ...
On 18 October, the seventeen evaders at Menez-Hom were divided into two groups – Ryan's group went back to Plomodiern and the others went slightly further west, to Saint-Nic before both groups caught the same train to Camaret. They were met by French guides who led them to a baker's home on the water-front where the evaders from Morgat were already waiting (making twenty-three airmen plus three young Frenchmen). Early next morning, they were rowed out into the harbour in small groups to board an eleven-metre fishing boat called the Suzanne-Renée. Unfortunately the boat was so crowded that four of the airmen – Duane Lawhead, James Wilson, Walter Hargrove and William Rice - had to be left behind ...
The Suzanne-Renée stayed another four days in harbour, waiting for the weather to improve before her crew – Jean Marie Francois Balcon, Joseph Morvan and Alain Marchand – were able to set out out from Camaret-sur-Mer on the morning of Saturday 23 October. They remained with the fishing fleet until nightfall when they headed first west and then north, finally reaching Penzance in Cornwall at about five o'clock the following afternoon.
 
Duane Lawhead (#245) was later collected by MGB 318 on Operation Envious IIb from Ile Tariec (Aber-Benoit) at the beginning of December – and James Wilson (#289) Walter Hargrove (#293) and William Rice (#297) on Operation Felicitate II from the neighbouring Ile Guennoc on Christmas Day – both operations organised by Pierre Hentic (Trellu/Maho) of the SIS Jade-Fitzroy intelligence network.
Colonel Scheidhauer's daughter, Ghislaine Niox was among the eight French resistance personnel who were also taken to England on Operation Felicitate II.
Colonel Scheidhauer's wife Jeanne was later killed in the bombardment of Brest. Their son, Sous-Lt Bernard W M Scheidhauer, also died. He ran out of fuel in his 131 Sqn Spitfire on 18 November 1942 and landed on Jersey where he was captured. Sent to Stalag Luft III (Sagan) he escaped on 25 March 1944 and was one of the fifty men who were murdered after their recapture. Despite these personal tragedies, Colonel Michel William Scheidhauer (born March 1877) continued his “magnificent work for the Allied cause” and was awarded an OBE.
More details on Jean-Claude Camors and the Suzanne-Renée episode can be found in 'Par les nuits les plus longues' (1976) by Roger Huguen - published by Les Presses Bretonnes, Saint-Brieuc.
My thanks to Anne Ploux Vourc'h for some of the information used above.