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The Trap at Eglise de Pantin
This page posted 23 Jan 2016 - updated 20 May 2016
At five o'clock in the afternoon of 17 December 1943, a group of eighteen airmen evaders were captured in a German trap at Eglise de Pantin - actually the market behind the Eglise Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois at Place de l'Eglise, in the north-east Parisian suburb of Pantin, opposite the Metro station of the same name. The group was made up of men helped by Bordeaux-Loupiac, who were captured along with some of their helpers – and a much larger group helped by the CDLL (Ceux de la Liberation) organisation that had been sheltering them in the commune of Livry-Gargan prior to passing them on to Bordeaux-Loupiac for evacuation by sea. Georges Kahn (aka Geo) of CDLL was also arrested.
It could have been even worse – the twenty-nine men sheltered by CDLL were taken to Pantin in two groups - the first group went by bus to Eglise de Pantin and the second were driven in a lorry. Fortunately, Camille Nicolas, who was sitting in the front of the lorry, sensed trouble ahead. He ordered the driver to park while he got out and walked towards the church. On seeing men that he was sure were German agents, he waved the lorry forward, jumped back in and had the thirteen airmen driven back to Livry-Gargan.
The thirteen airmen who escaped with Camille Nicolas in the lorry were : F/Sgt Frederick Page (1876) Sgt John Vass (1877) F/Sgt Robert Ellis, 2/Lt Charles Downe (#411) 2/Lt Karl Miller (#446) Sgt James Tracy (#507) 2/Lt Chauncey Hicks (#515) 1/Lt Elwood Arp (#604) 2/Lt Howard Sherman (#608) S/Sgt Carl Bachmann (#631) T/Sgt William Miller (#636) Sgt Edward Shaffer (#637) and 2/Lt Jack Horton.
The fourteen men from the bus who were captured that day were : F/O Zbigniew Frankiewcz (LIB/946) and F/Sgt William Bennett (LIB/1027) - T/Sgt Samuel N Blatchford, S/Sgt Elmer W Schroeder, S/Sgt Alfred D Held and S/Sgt Cyril G Koval from B-17 42-29901 (Euwer) - F/O William E Mildren, 2/Lt Stanley S Bolesta, S/Sgt Henry T Cunningham and Sgt Kenneth M Rimer from B-26 41-34763 (Mildren) - 2/Lt Jacques M Keshishian and Sgt Norman M Stephens from B-17 42-3185 Queen Bee (Nienaber) - 2/Lt Nathan Weltman from B-17 42-5763 Bomb Boogie (Arp) and S/Sgt Harry J Boegaholz from B-17 42-3042 (McMath).
Sgt Andre Poirier (LIB/1499) who was acting as a guide for Bordeaux-Loupiac, brought fellow Spitfire pilots W/O John Daly (LIB/603) and F/Lt Leslie Prickett (LIB/1561) along with Boston air-gunner F/Lt Graham Kelly (LIB/1459) to the rendezvous separately. They had only just joined the other airmen when they were also captured.
John Daly was being sheltered in the Marechaux apartment at 29 rue de la Chappelle (Paris XVIII) with Kelly and Prickett when, on 17 December, they had to leave in a hurry as "a Gestapo raid was expected, two members of the organisation having been arrested the previous day. That afternoon, Sgt Poirier, who was one of the contacts with the organisation, escorted us to a rendezvous in a square in the Northern suburbs of the city where we joined a party of 14 Allied aircrew evaders … About two minutes after our arrival, we were surrounded by 25 Gestapo and captured."
Andre Poirier describes how on arrival at Pantin they were "immediately surrounded by armed Germans. They obviously knew of the plan and after our arrest more Germans seemed to come from all directions."
The Marechaux family had received a telephone call that day, telling them they had been denounced to the Gestapo. They moved to Rugles (Eure) under an assumed name but were arrested there on 4 January 1944. All three were deported. Henri Alfred Marechaux and his son Jacques Raymond died in Germany - only Mme Emilienne Marechaux survived to return to France.
F/Sgt William Bennett (LIB/1027) (who had been sheltered by gendarme Gabriel Bouyer at 87 rue Haxo, Paris XX before being passed to Georges Kahn and Louis Jacquelin and joining John Vass (1877) and the others) was one of the airmen taken to Eglise de Pantin on the bus. They were waiting in a nearby cafe when the chief of the organisation (Georges Kahn) gave their guides instructions.
Bennett says they were taken to the market place by the chief, two women and a girl. "We waited until nearly 1700 hrs – all split up - I suddenly heard shouts and saw the chief and three of our men with their hands up. I tried to make a getaway but the Gestapo men cut me off. There were about 12 Gestapo men in civilan clothes for this round up. I don't know who to suspect for the betrayal. One of the women walked away from the scene after the round up, one [Yvonne Renault] was captured and the third – the girl – left in a car before we were captured."
Spitfire pilot Sgt Jan Trnobranski (1844) and B-26 co-pilot F/O Ernest O Grubb (#447) were the only two airmen who got away from the actual rendezvous point at Place de l'Eglise. They had travelled from Livry-Gargan to Pantin with William Bennett – Grubb saying they were a party of sixteen airmen - including Trnobranski and his squadron friend (Frankiewcz) plus his own crew (Mildren, Bolesta, Cunningham and Rimer) and some RAF - taken by autobus (sic) along with Jeannine (head guide) and Andre's wife.
Jeannine was Jeannine Jouve. Jeannine is reported by some of the evaders as the daughter of Camille Nicolas. Nicolas, who lived at 19 rue de Meaux, was married to Marie-Louise (née Jouve, January 1910) sister of Jean Jouve. Jean Jouve (born May 1881) was a coal merchant who lived with his family across the road at 22 rue de Meaux, Livry-Gargan. Jeannine Jouve was Marie-Louise's younger sister, Camille's sister-in-law. Andre's wife was Mme Andree Paulet Mourot, wife of Andre Mourot (born September 1916) who had been sheltering Trnobranski and Grubb at 20 rue de Meaux.
The rendezvous with Georges Kahn was set for five o'clock and the party who came by bus were early. Jacques Keshishian says there was a miscalculation and they arrived about 45 minutes too early. The group was quite large, they all wore berets and looked more or less the same. They quickly realised that such a large group all together was very suspicious and they attempted to disperse. Two or three went into a nearby café, two more joined them and then two more. Kahn came in and told them they had to disperse, that they had been sold out. They went behind the church where there was some kind of square or garden. While they were there, Keshishian suddenly saw Kahn and another who was speaking to him, raise their hands. He and another aviator tried to escape but they were too late and the whole area was surrounded by Gestapo who captured them all.
The first party may have been early but the second group were late. Roger Spiller says that shortly before arriving at l'eglise de Pantin, the truck was involved in an accident with a cyclist who demanded a written report (un constat d'agent) before he would let them drive on.
On arrival at the church, Trnobranski (1844) Grubb (#447) Frankiewcz (LIB/946) and an unnamed Frenchwoman decided they didn't want to be seen with such a large group and so walked to a nearby cafe - where they found about twenty other airmen already installed. While they were having coffee, Trnobranski says that he noticed ‘an odd looking man' come into the cafe. He looked ‘furtively' at them while drinking his coffee and making a pretence of reading a newspaper. The head of the organisation [Georges Kahn] came in and spoke to Jeannine and the rest of the evaders left. When Trnobranski, Grubb, Frankiewcz and the Frenchwoman finished their coffee, they went over to a bus queue and were told the others had gone to the market place. Trnobranski told the Frenchwoman to try and stop the party from congregating by the church as there were ‘Gestapo' about. Trnobranski and Grubb then moved to a street corner where they could watch both the bus queue and market place and five minutes later saw the rest of the party (including Frankiewcz) with their hands raised and surrounded by Gestapo. Trnobranski and Grubb stood while more Gestapo walked past them before making their way between the houses, entering one at random and asking if they could sit down and have some water. They then returned to the bus-stop and bought two tickets for Livry-Gargan, being joined on the bus by Jeannine. At Livry-Gargan, Jeannine took them first to Camille Nicolas' house and then across the road to Andre Mourot. That night, Trnobranski and Grubb were taken to stay with Andre's parents, Charles and Claire Mourot at 12 Avenue de Chelles, Montfermeil.
Grubb (#447) says that they got out of the bus by the church, walked by the church and into a café. He was with Jan (Trnobranski), Andre's wife (Andree Mourot) and the other Polish boy (Frankiewcz) and that other groups had tables together with the older ladies (Mmes Yvonne Renault and Alice Demeneix) who were their guides. He says that Frankiewcz saw men come in and order drinks and that they seemed nervous. They stared at Grubb's group and Frankiewcz told Andre's wife that he thought the men were Gestapo, and she told Jeannine. The man from Paris (who Grubb had met at Brosville earlier) came into the café and called Jeannine over to another table. Jeannine told him about Gestapo man but the Paris man (Georges Kahn) said no, he was a guide. They all left the café and Grubb, Trnobranski, William Mildren and Andre's wife walked by the church. There was a market place on one side selling vegetables and they saw all the Americans standing around in groups of three. Mildren walked over by the wall of the church and Grubb, Trnobranski and Andre's wife walked up the street for a block and then crossed and came back on the other side from church. They stopped on the corner and then crossed the street again where Grubb lit a cigarette. Jeannine and a young English boy came over and sat on bench about fifteen feet away. Grubb saw two men, one of them wearing a light cream trench-coat, walk into the church. Three or four minutes later, he saw a group of men come around from the church with their hands up. A Gestapo agent turned around and ran about 40 or 50 feet up the road, then turned and ran back into market. Grubb saw his pilot Mildren by the church with his hands up and others nearby, also with their hands up. When the Gestapo man turned back, Grubb, Trnobranski and Andre's wife crossed the street into alley and then ran and hid in a building. Grubb says that Andre's wife was scared and left. She told them to stay where they were but she didn't return. They asked a man to help them but he refused so they walked to the bus-stop and got on a bus to Livry-Gargan. Jeannine was also on the bus and she took them back to Andre's house. Grubb says "Nicolas thought that the wine merchant [Andre Lassialle] was in the Gestapo deal."
The ‘young English boy' mentioned by Grubb is probably the same as the young "Lancaster (sic) engineer" that Miller (#636) says Camille Nicolas told him had walked away. Nicolas could only have heard that from Jeannine Jouve and I'm guessing this was actually 21 year-old F/Sgt William Bennett (LIB/1027).
Lt Andre R Van Nes of the Netherlands Security Service says in a report dated 20 November 1945, that two of the women guides were Mlle Jeannine Jouve and Mme Renault. Mme Renault was arrested at Place de Pantin [later released after convincing the Germans she was only there for the market] while Mlle Jouve, who had all the airmen's papers in a sachel, went into a second-floor apartment and obtained permission to burn the papers in the occupants' kitchen.
 
Sgt Jan Trnobranski (1844) was flying 308 Sqn Spitfire EN916 on 22 September 1943 and returning from a Ramrod (bomber escort) sortie when he was shot down by enemy fighters. Trnobranski baled out and landed in a field near Evreux. He was soon picked up by a man driving a horse and cart who took Trnobranski back to his house. The man gave Trnobranski a meal and let him stay overnight before taking him to a house in the little village of Glisolles. Trnobranski had some difficulty in convincing his helpers he was genuine until a Polish woman was brought to interrogate him, at which point his journey was arranged.
On 25 September, Trnobranski was visited by Louis Maury who brought his wife Yvette, their baby and two Frenchmen with him. One of the Frenchmen was Alphonse Pasco, a priest who spoke good English and was an active member of the organisation. Trnobranski stayed at Glisolles (address unknown) for about a week, frequently visited there by M Pasco. At the end of the week, M Pasco took Trnobranski to his home, a chateau (Chateau des Angles – query) in the forest near Brosville, where some of Pasco's friends, also priests, would visit with cigarettes and books. During this time, Trnobranski's wrenched back, which he'd injured when baling out, prevented him from walking or moving his arms properly. After three weeks with M Pasco, Trnobranski was taken to stay with Pasco's brother and sister-in-law, in the same village. Towards the end of October, Mme Maury came to see Trnobranski and she and Alphonse Pasco took Trnobranski by bicycle to Mme Maury's house in Evreux (at 6 rue de la Rochette). Yvette Maury offered Trnobranski railway tickets for Brittany where he was told he could stay on a farm but Trnobranski refused and cycled back to Brosville with M Pasco that night. M Pasco was visiting on 3 November when they saw an aircraft shot down and five men bale out. Pasco ran for his bicycle and returned later with the five men, including Ernest Grubb (#447) and his pilot Bill (William Mildren). Grubb and Bill joined Trnobranski while the other three (Stanley Bolesta, Henry Cunningham and Kenneth Rimer) were taken to another house. Trnobranski adds that two RAF airmen were brought to the house – a Warrant Officer called Johnny (John Vass) and a Typhoon pilot called Henry (Robert Ellis) - shortly before Alphonse Pasco and five Frenchmen took them all to Paris.
In Paris they were taken to a large apartment over a shop at 21 rue Godot de Mauroy, where they met an American airman who spoke good French (2/Lt Jacques Mihran Keshishian, born November 1918 in Marseille, navigator of B-17 42-3185 Queen Bee, who had been sheltered by the Jacquelin family at Neuilly since 22 November), a British pilot (Halifax engineer F/Sgt William Bennett LIB/1027) and a man (Georges Kahn) - tall, with a long face, dark hair and glasses, he spoke good English - who they were told was head of the organisation.
Louis Ambroise Vincent Jacquelin (of 17 rue de Chartres, Neuilly-sur-Seine and a business address of 21 rue Godot de Mauroy, Paris IX) says that on about 5 December 1943, "Cmdt Martin (pseudo) told me he had a dozen parachutists in his region (Evreux) whom he didn't know how to get out. I told him I could take charge of them. On 11 December, he brought 11 boys (2 Poles, 5 Americans, 4 English). In the afternoon I passed these boys to Mr GEO and Mr QUATRE [Camille Nicolas]." He also says that he passed on another Pole [Frankiewcz] to Mr QUATRE of Livry-Gargan on Sunday 12 December.
That night, Camille Nicolas and his daughter (sic) Jeannine took them back to his house at 19 rue de Meaux in Livry-Gargan where there were ‘about 20 British and American airmen'. Trnobranski and Grubb were sent to stay at a house on the other side of the road (with Andre Mourot ) where they were joined by F/O Zbigniew Frankiewcz (LIB/946) from Trnobranski's squadron. Frankiewcz had crash-landed his Spitfire near Bernay on 19 November and been sheltered on a farm near Piseux (Eure) until being brought to Paris a few days earlier. About a week before Christmas, they were all collected and taken to a church ...
F/O Ernest O Grubb (#447) was the co-pilot of B-26 41-34763 (449BS/322BG) (Mildren) which was hit by flak near Evreux (Eure) on 3 November 1943 and abandoned. Grubb landed in the grounds of a farm and seeing no-one, ran towards some trees. He was spotted by two young Frenchmen who took him back to their farm, gave him a meal and then hid Grubb in a hayloft. Later that same day, a boy brought civilian clothes and took Grubb by bicycle to a small village about three miles away, each cross-roads being guarded by men who warned Grubb's helper if the way wasn't safe. He was hidden in a farmhouse while his journey was arranged.
Grubb was taken first to the boy's house, where he met Jan Trnobranski (1844) and then to the boy's sister's house. They stayed three days with boy's sister, Mme Louise Peschrey (query) and Alphonse Pasco. Grubb's written report isn't clear but at some point he was joined by his pilot Mildren and whilst at Brosville, they met a Parisian resistance chief (NARCY/NARCIES) (tall, slender, wore glasses – talked with a halt in his speech – spoke some English) (assume Georges Kahn) who told them that a man would come from Paris to take them to Brittany for a boat operation. Grubb was also told that three other members of his crew - Bolesta, Cunningham and Rimer – were being sheltered nearby and that his radio operator S/Sgt William K Lahm had a broken leg and been captured. There was some moving about following various alarms but Grubb and Trnobranski stayed in the area, mainly with Mme Louise Peschrey, until 9 December. Sometime before leaving for Paris, Grubb learned that two RAF men - a Typhoon pilot (F/Sgt Robert Ellis) and a Polish boy (assume Frankiewcz) - were also in the area. On 9 December, the airmen were taken to Evreux by Alphonse Pasco, Louis Maury and two young guides. They stayed overnight in Evreux before taking an early morning train to Paris.
Grubb and the others were taken to a dress-making shop (at 21 rue Godot de Mauroy) where Grubb met Karl Miller (#446) and his pilot Jack Horton, and Camille Nicolas and his daughter (sic) Jeannine, who took them by Metro to Livry-Gargan (actually to the terminus at Eglise de Pantin where they would have caught a bus to Livry-Gargan). In the party was a French speaking American (Jacques Keshishian). At Livry-Gargan, the airmen were housed at various addresses - Grubb, Trnobranski and Frankiewcz staying with Andre Mourot, who despite giving his profession as mechanic, is described by Grubb as "a black-market butcher who made forged ration tickets."
F/Sgt Frederick J Page (1876) was the twenty-three-year-old Australian rear-gunner of 27 OTU Wellington X3966 (Dowling) on a Nickel (leaflet dropping) raid to Orleans on 23 September 1943 when they were hit by flak over Paris. Having jettisoned the leaflets and realising they wouldn't make back to the UK, the pilot ordered his crew to bale out before he crash-landed the aircraft south of Amiens. Three of the other four crewmen also evaded successfully – pilot F/Sgt G K Dowling (1548) crossed the Pyrenees alone in early October, air-bomber Sgt Eric J Anderson (1605) crossed the Pyrenees with P/O Harold Hobday (1603) and F/Sgt Frederick Sutherland (1604) in November, and wireless operator Sgt William Todd (1634) with Comete, also in November.
Page landed near Rumaisnil (Somme) at about ten o'clock that evening, suffering injuries to his eye and right arm. He spent the night close to where he landed and set off the next morning towards a nearby church. Two women soon took Page back to a house where he was sheltered, given food and his arm dressed. Two days later, one of the women went to find a doctor, and also a man could speak some English. On understanding that Page wanted to make his way to Spain, the woman contacted her nephew who knew someone who might help.
On 1 October, Joe Balfe took Page to his home in Hornoy, gave him civilian clothes and contacted a Red Cross nurse named Marmousez. Next day, Mlle Marmousez took Page first to an eye specialist in Amiens, and then to her home in Roubaix (which she shared with her mother Eugenie) at 29 rue Saint-Herbert. The following day, she took Page to an eye specialist in Roubaix and on 7 October, he was operated on and his injured eye removed. On 1 November, a young man (Jean Carbonnet) took him to Paris and the Moet family home at 22 rue Sacrot, Saint-Mandé. Two days later, Mme Genevieve Moet took Page to a Metro station where she passed him on to Camille Nicolas.
Camille Nicolas drove Page, collecting four American evaders (Elwood Arp (#604) Howard Sherman (#608) Chauncey Hicks (#515) and Nathan Weltman) on the way, to the commune of Livry-Gargan where Page and Hicks were sheltered in "a sort of shop" - Hicks (#515) says with "some kind of merchant on rue de Meaux with a man named Andre". On about 11 December, John Vass (1877) joined them and on 17 December, Nicolas took them into Paris where "something went wrong and we were nearly caught by the Gestapo".
Sgt John R Vass (1877) was the wireless operator of 35 Sqn Halifax HR798 (Dallin) which was returning from Cannes when they were shot down near Lisieux (Calvados) in the early hours of 12 November 1943. Air-bomber P/O Henry B Hall (1747) also evaded succesfully – crossing the western Pyrenees in January 1944.
Vass baled out and landed in a field near Auquainville (Calvados). Before he could roll up his parachute, Vass was fired upon from the village and so headed in the opposite direction until he found a barn where he spent the rest of the night. Next day he encountered a farmer who took him back to his cottage. The family were suspicious of Vass until he offered to pay for his meal and produced English coins from his pocket, at which point he was invited to stay the night and learned that he was in the village of Cernay. Vass says that he had intended to move on next day but heavy rain delayed him and he stayed with the family in Cernay until 4 December, by which time his journey had been arranged.
Vass was collected from the cottage at Cernay by a priest and two other men who took Vass by car to a small village. On the way they picked up F/Sgt Robert Ellis – this was F/Sgt Robert Owen Ellis, who was flying 609 Sqn Typhoon JR147 when he was shot down on 17 November 1943 on the same Rhubarb sortie to Rouen as Sgt George Watelet (1831). Vass and Ellis stayed with a young priest called Alphonse Pasco - his father was a gardener at a chateau called Chateau des Angles. On 10 December, they were moved to Evreux where they stayed overnight in a horticultural shop next to the Gestapo headquarters, where a young lad was preparing identity cards for the organisation. Early next morning, they were taken to Paris by the priest (Alphonse Pasco) and three others, one of them a woman. Vass and Ellis were taken to a room above a bird-shop (sic) where they were joined by others, including RAF flight engineer F/Sgt William Bennett (LIB/1027). Later that same day, a tall man with thick-lensed glasses called and took their particulars. Then a man called Nicolas took six of them to a Metro station where they were joined by the remainder of the party. They went by Metro to another station (Eglise de Pantin) and then took a bus to Livry-Gargan where Vass met F/Sgt Page (1876) and their story is the same from this point.
2/Lt Charles O Downe (#411) and S/Sgt Carl Bachmann (#631) were the navigator and tail-gunner of B-17 42-5720 (384 BG/544BS) (Aufmuth) which was returning from Stuttgart on 6 September 1943. As they began to run out of fuel, the aircraft was crash-landed north-west of Paris, near Pontois (Ile-de-France). All ten crew left the aircraft safely and they divided into groups to evade. Downe and Bachmann were two of the six crewmen from this aircraft to evade successfully.
Downe and Bachmann headed south, crossing the Seine, and after four days of walking, met an English-speaking woman who knew a man who could take them to Montargis (Loiret) in his truck. They were duly driven to Montargis where they met a local resistance man and on 16 September, were taken to the little village of Migneres where they were sheltered by Albert Demoveaux for the next two months. They were visited by a local resistance chief called Georges and his brother-in-law Albert (a chief of resistance from Paris who had lived in Boston for 25 years) and on 16 November, Albert took Downe and Bachmann by train to Paris where he passed them on the Camille Nicolas.
1/Lt Jack Horton and 2/Lt Karl Miller (#446) were the pilot and co-pilot of B-17 42-3430 Carolina Boomerang (96BG/338BS) which was returning from Schweinfurt on 14 October 1943. They had lost two engines to flak and when the supercharger on a third engine failed, Horton told his crew to bale out.
Miller spent his first night in France trying to get some sleep in a wrecked trailer. Setting off early next morning into the fog, he soon approached a man he heard ploughing. Whilst explaining the situation, a man who spoke English approached and took over, hiding Miller in a wood for the rest of the day before returning that evening with two bicycles.
Miller was taken to a small village near Laon where he was sheltered by Mlle Suzanne Verchere at Foudrain par Crepy-en-Laonnois. Ten days later, a French policeman took Miller on his motorcycle to Chauny where Miller was handed over to Etienne Dromas. Miller was sheltered with M Chede at Frieres-Faillouel where he was joined by his pilot Jack Horton and on 9 November, they – along with 2/Lt George Glatthar (#308) and T/Sgt James Tracy (#507) - were taken to Paris.
T/Sgt James E Tracy (#507) was the top-turret gunner of B-17 42-30457 Jimmy Boy II (94BG/331BS) (Beal) which returning from Schweinfurt on 14 October 1943 when they were attacked by enemy fighters and the aircraft abandoned. Tracy was one of eight crewmen from Jimmy Boy II to evade successfully. He landed (with a fractured skull) in some woods near the villlage of Crepy-en-Valois (Oise) and was soon helped by an elderly man who took Tracy back to his house. Tracy says that within half an hour, his journey was arranged.
Tracy and his navigator 2/Lt George E Glatthar (#308) were sheltered in Crepy-en-Valois for two days and then on 16 October, taken to Creil, where they stayed with Paul Toussaint (born February 1873) at 15 rue Charles Somasco. Glatthar reports that he later heard the head of the organistion (at Creil) was picked up by the Gestapo on 23 October. From Creil, Tracy and Glatthar were taken by train to Chauny where they were sheltered by the Chauny-Dromas organisation and stayed (20-25 October) with Jean Bruxelle at 40 rue Maurice Moceau, Flavy-le-Martel before returning to Chauny where they met Karl Miller (#446) and his pilot Jack Horton. On 9 November, the four Americans were taken to Paris by a man called Joseph (a short, good-looking fellow of about 20) arriving at the Gare du Nord at about five o'clock that afternoon. Tracy doesn't seem to mention it but after meeting Georges Kahn at the station, Glatthar was separated from the others and he went on to cross the western Pyrenees with WO2 George A Gauley RCAF (1708) in early December.
On arrival in Paris, Tracy, Miller and Horton were taken by Metro to a rendezvous point where a lady named Marthe Powell approached Miller and told him to follow her, alone. She took Miller back to her house at 84 Kleber Avenue (Paris XVI) where Miller stayed for the next thirty days, seeing only friends of Mrs Powell. Finally, she took Miller to a house where he met "about 25 other fellows". They were all taken by different guides to Livry-Gargan, Miller in a party of four.
James Tracy and Jack Horton were taken direct to Livry-Gargan where they stayed with Camille Nicolas and family at 19 rue de Meaux. Tracy says he was taken to see Andre (Andre Lassialle) a wine merchant who lived about two blocks up the street (he wore very thick glasses and looked short because he was very stocky) who Nicolas said was getting black-market goods for them but was a collaborator. Nicolas said that he was going to kill Andre afterwards but for the time being, he needed him for money and supplies.
Albert Stegel (born April 1903) who says he was an "information agent and performed acts of sabotage" was, along with Roger Spiller, chief assistant to Camille Nicolas, who managed "evasion affairs" for the FFI at Livry-Gargan. M Stegel, who (in common with several other helpers mentioned in this story) had a very low opinion of Camille Nicolas, says this about Nicolas and Andre Lassialle. "Lassialle is a wine merchant in Livry-Gargan and is commonly known to have been the first and greatest collaborationist of the town. Before the war, he did a moderate business and was known to have had numerous debts, which he was unable to pay. During the war however, he was able to build a chateau with the profits of his relationships with the Germans, his wine business, and his black-market operations, in which he was protected by the occupying powers … The only break in this harmonious Nicolas - Lassialle relationship was immediately after the Pantin affair, when Nicolas formerly accused Lassialle of being the person who informed the Germans of the forthcoming rendezvous at the church of Pantin, and when, at the time of his arrest, Nicolas told everyone not to tell Lassialle where the aviators who had escaped the trap were hidden."
Tracy also says that Nicolas had talked to Capt Dydy (sic – more usually Dede) of British Intelligence who told Nicolas that they were going to an "RAF organisation". However, on about 10 December, it seems that contact with this organisation was broken and Nicolas arranged a new plan for getting them out by boat. His new contact was "Le Grand monsieur de Metro" and they would be leaving Paris in trucks to go to "some place on the Brest peninsula".
1/Lt Elwood D Arp (#604) 2/Lt Howard Sherman (#608) 1/Lt Chauncey H Hicks (#515) and 2/Lt Nathan Weltman were the pilot, co-pilot, bombardier and navigator of B-17 42-5763 Bomb Boogie (91BG/401BS) which was on the way to Stuttgart on 6 September 1943 when they were attacked by fighters and the aircraft abandoned near Lille.
They were sheltered in the Pas-de-Calais-Nord for more than two months before finally leaving for Paris at the beginning of November. Their journey was delayed at Arras for ten days by the visit of Hermann Goering (who was doing a tour of northern French airfields) and it wasn't until 14 November that a woman - described by Hicks as "a burly lady, aged about 28-30, about 5 ft 3 inches tall, who spoke English" - from the organisation at Livry-Gargan came to collect them. They were met at the Gare du Nord by Camille Nicolas who took Arp, Sherman and Hicks to his home in Livry-Gargan. Hicks went to stay with a wine-merchant Andre Lassialle (who Nicolas warned Hicks not to trust) also on rue de Meaux, while Arp and Sherman stayed with Nicolas where they (and ten other evaders) lived "without incident" until 17 December. Hicks says that from the station, Nathan Weltmen went with the burly lady but I don't know who she was or where she took Weltman.
Hicks reports that when they reached Camille Nicolas' house, 2/Lt Edward Burlay (#307) and three sergeants – Levoun Jawgochiam (#363) Lawrence Sheck (#364) and Robert Hamrick (#365) – were there, along with Australian Fred Page (1876).
2/Lt Edward R Burlay Jnr (#307) S/Sgt Levoun J Jawgochiam (#363) S/Sgt Lawrence B Sheck (#364) and S/Sgt Robert J Hamrick (#365) were the navigator and three of the gunners from B-17 Jimmy Boy II, the same aircraft as James Tracy (#507). Like Tracy, they all landed near Crepy-en-Valois on 14 October 1943, meeting Tracy and their navigator George Glatthar (#308) briefly before Tracy and Glattar went on to Creil two days later. It's not clear exactly when they left Crepy but they were taken by a man called Paul, direct to Paris and the Jardin des Plantes where they were handed over to Madeleine Melot. They stayed with Mme Melot until she took them Livry-Gargan and passed them over the Camille Nicolas on about 10 November.
Burlay and the three sergeants left Livray-Gargan on about 15 November and Hicks says that he and the others were supposed to follow them (to the Pyrenees) three days later but before that, Camille Nicolas took Arp and Sherman to meet "le Grand Chef de Metro" (Georges Kahn).
Hicks was also taken to Andre (Andre Lassialle) on rue de Meaux where Nicolas told him not trust the wine-merchant – "Use him, but don't trust him". He comments on the arrival of a group of eleven airmen (including Cyril Koval and Jacques Keshishian), and Miller (#636) and Shaffer (#637) being moved to stay with M Bernard. He also says that four men were taken to the "big fat woman who ran a café (not the one who had N) [his navigator Nathan Weltman] but Amy (query) who was picked out."
T/Sgt William J Miller (#636) was a waist-gunner and Sgt Edward R Shaffer (#637) the tail-gunner of the B-17 42-29876 Battlin' Bobbie (Hoyt) which was on the way to Nantes on 16 September 1943 when it was attacked by fighters and the aircraft abandoned over Brittany. They (and six other members of their crew) were soon sheltered at various addresses in Brittany.
Miller made a delayed drop and landed in an apple orchard near the village of Redon (Ille-et-Vilaine). Before he could even disentangle his parachute, he was surrounded by a group of Frenchmen who took his parachute and pointed in the direction they thought he should go. Miller had only walked about two kilometres when a man asked him where he was going and Miller was taken back to the man's house. That evening, Miller was taken to join his pilot 1/Lt Elton Hoyt (#409) and radio operator S/Sgt Herbert Dulberg (#390) – and two days later, they were joined by their tail-gunner, Edward Shaffer.
Shaffer also landed in an apple orchard, this one about ten miles west of Redon. He had a broken foot and a woman (aged about 30 with a dark complexion) took him to her house where his foot was bandaged by an elderly woman. He was given civilian clothes and put into a hayloft. Two hours later, the woman brought her twenty-three-year-old son and spent the rest of the afternoon talking to Shaffer in French. That evening, they brought a girl named Lucienne (aged about 20, also with a dark complexion) who spoke English and told Shaffer that Hoyt (#409) Dulberg (#390) and Miller (#636) were outside Redon in an empty house that had formerly been a German headquarters. Lucienne asked Shaffer if he wanted to join them and he said he did. Shaffer spent the night in the hayloft and next morning, a miller brought a truck-load of straw. Shaffer was hidden in the straw and driven to man's house on the outskirts of Redon. Shaffer was carried upstairs and a doctor came to set his foot (asking Shaffer not to scream as he did so). That evening, the miller drove Shaffer (in his car this time) to join Hoyt. Shaffer stayed with Hoyt (whose report is unreadable) until they went to a monastery about twenty miles south-west of Saint Malo. Two days after their arrival at the monastery, Shaffer and Cyril Koval (waist-gunner of B-17 42-29901) were taken to a doctor's house. The doctor (not named) was aged about 55 and spoke fluent English having lived in England with his English wife until she died some fourteen years earlier. They stayed with the doctor for eight days (by which time, Shaffer says too many people knew about them) before moving to stay with a wine merchant in Dinan. The wine merchant (an ex-cavalry lieutenant) was a rich man, aged about twenty-seven who lived with his mother and a maid in a house three blocks west of the Hotel d'Angleterre. That night, Shaffer and Koval were taken to the barn where Miller and Dulberg were staying – and Shaffer was with Miller and Dulberg (whose report is almost unreadable) until they reached a café at Ploemel (on about 15 October).
From the café, Shaffer went with a man named Raymond (Raymond Guillard – query) who took him to stay with Henri Boulet at the Villa Georgette in Taupont. Miller was sheltered with Alex Joubaud at the Villa Gohan, his house about four kilometres west of Taupont – he and Shaffer would meet two or three times each week. Dulberg went with Francois Lequitte (of Ploermel) and Shaffer says that Koval stayed with some people (unidentified) outside of Ploermel, on the main road. While at Taupont, Shaffer met Harry Boegaholz (waist-gunner of B-17 42-3042) and Guillaume Bernard (described by Shaffer as a French aviator from Africa who he was sure was American) who were being sheltered by Raymond, about twelve kilometres away. After five weeks, Shaffer rejoined Miller who says they were together until they got off the bus at Livry-Gargan on 23 November (although they travelled to Paris in separate groups).
On 22 November, Miller, Shaffer and Dulberg joined T/Sgt Samuel Blatchford, S/Sgt Cyril Koval, S/Sgt Elmer Schroeder and S/Sgt Alfred Held (all from B-17 42-29901) S/Sgt Harry Boegaholz and a French fighter pilot (sic) named Guillaume Bernard.
On 23 November, Emile Guimard and another man (described by Dulberg as slender) took Miller, his radio operator Herbert Dulberg (#390) Samuel Blatchford, Cyril Koval and Guillaume Bernard to Paris. They managed to lose Dulberg in the Metro (taken by the slender guide, he joined a group that crossed the Pyrenees from Perpignan in December) but Emile got the rest of them safely to a bakery in the Paris suburb of Pantin. When it got dark, Emile took them to Eglise de Pantin where they rejoined Edward Shaffer (#637) Elmer Schroeder, Alfred Held and Harry Boegaholz, and Emile handed them over to Camille Nicolas. M Nicolas then took them by bus to Livry-Gargan where Shaffer and Blatchford were passed on to another Frenchman while Nicolas took the rest to a café.
Shaffer reports that the man known as Guillaume Bernard had no identification whatever and the organisation would have nothing to do with him, and so he disappears from this story after meeting Camille Nicolas at Eglise de Pantin.
Shaffer says that when they got out of the bus, Nicolas told him and Sam Blatchford to follow another fellow who had been on the bus (5 ft 11 inches tall, dark moustache, foreman of a truck company at Livry-Gargan), he lived four blocks away from last bus stop at Livry-Gargan. They stayed at his house for three days at which time, the man had to go to a funeral in Bordeaux so Jeannine Nicolas (sic) took them to stay with Ernest and Blanche Bernard at 5 rue Emile Zola, where Shaffer rejoined Miller.
Samuel Blatchford almost certainly went to stay with Alice Demeneix (born July 1895 and described as a hotelier) at 40 rue de Meaux where he would have joined Cyril Koval, Elmer Schroeder and Alfred Held.
Miller (at least) stayed overnight at the café with owner Pierre (aged about 50 with short dark hair, he had been an aviator in the last war). Next day, Nicolas took Miller back to his own house where Miller met Elwood Arp (#604) Howard Sherman (#608) Chauncey Hicks (#515) Charles Downe (#441) Carl Bachmann (#631) James Tracy (#507) and an Australian F/Sgt named Fred Page (1876). Ernest Bernard then came and took Miller back to his home at 5 rue Emile Zola, Livry-Gargan where he lived in a small house with his crippled wife. A few days later, Jeannine brought his tail-gunner, Edward Shaffer to join him.
17 December 1943 - Eglise de Pantin
"Following the orders of G KAHN, the aviators lodged in the home of Mme RENAULT, Mme DEMENEIX, Mr BERNARD and M MOUROT were conducted 18 Dec to the Eglise de Pantin. 11 were arrested. The same day, I left with a small truck loaded with 15 parachutists, and following the orders of KAHN, I took them to the entrance of Pantin, where they would embark in cars. I waited for 5 hours, until 6 o'clock, and not seeing anything come and after a telephone call to the home of G KAHN, I returned to Livry-Gargan, where I learned of the affair of Pantin. I put my aviators in the home of my father-in-law, Mr JOUVE after passing one hour in the home of Mr RENARD. The next day, I placed these aviators : 4 in the home of Mr MOUROT in Montfermeil, Rue de Chelles; and the 10 others in the home of Mr SPILLER, Rue d'Orleans, Livry-Gargan. This same evening, some of the aviators in the home of Mr SPILLER, were turned over: 2 to Mr REMY, Pavillons-s-Bois and 2 others to Mr BOURGEOIS, Avenue de la Convention, Livry-Gargan. They were: Edouard Shaffer and William J Miller. 2 others in the home of Mr BERNARD, 3 Rue Emile Zola, 2 in the home of Mme GIRARD, 2 in the home of Mr STEGEL, finally, Mr SPILLER kept the following 2 aviators: Elwood D Arp and John Vass. These last two stayed in the home of SPILLER until 10 Feb." (Camille Nicolas statement dated 15 March 1945)
Note that Nicolas' account of the events at Place de Pantin does not correspond with those of the evaders. Also note that Camille Juillard (see later) claims that he "took charge of lodging the 14 aviators who had escaped the clutches of the Gestapo."
William Miller (#636) says that on 17 December, he and Edward Shaffer were supposed to ride in a truck with Carl Bachmann, James Tracy, Frederick Page, John Vass, Robert Ellis, Elwood Arp, Howard Sherman, Chauncey Hicks, Charles Downe and two other Americans (Karl Miller and Jack Horton), while another group of 16 went in a bus – Koval, Blatchford, Held, Schroeder, the Polish Spitfire pilot (Jan Trnobranski) and others, with four women escorts.
"We were supposed to all meet around the Eglise de Pantin, we were going to be met there by 2 German trucks. The original plan was for us to see a car in front of the church with a Nazi flag in the window. We saw the car but no flag. We went down a side street, parked and waited 15 minutes then we drove around once again and parked again. One man came to Monsieur Nicolas ask him about a street and after receiving an answer, went to the wrong direction. Nicolas looked around, saw eleven men standing around the corner. He told the driver to drive away. Just as we were leaving, the man who asked about the road, opened the curtain in the back of the truck and saw the 13 of us. He kept on standing and watched us drive away and then ran to the other men who were standing on the corner. They in turn ran for an automobile. We drove down a side-street, it was getting dark now and Nicolas and 2 other Frenchmen made a telephone call to his home, asked if his sister-in-law, who was escorting the bus party, had returned – they said no. We were supposed to go to Bordeaux with these trucks as recruits for the German army – we were to have joined 30 others and get on a boat near Bordeaux." (MISX #636 Miller)
"On 17 December, 13 of us were driven to a church in a truck. Nicolas, who was in the front, had the car park on a side-street while he walked toward the church. The whole scheme for this rendezvous sounded too easy to him and he had become suspicious. Nicolas, on nearing three men, realised that one was Gestapo. He asked directions as a ruse and then motioned for the truck to get underway. When the Gestapo agent saw this, he crossed toward the truck, which pulled out just as Nicolas jumped in the front and the agent started to raise the canvas under which we were hiding in the rear. I do not believe he had time to see us there in that light. We stayed in a garden until dark and then started down the street. As we did so, two Gestapo agents started towards us with flash-lights. At this point, a truck not connected with us in any way, rounded the corner. The two men, thinking it to be our pick-up, went for it and we got away." (MIS-X #604 Arp)
William Miller (#636) also recounts what Camille Nicolas told him after the event. "Nicolas told us about this. When they got out of the bus, the chief, Monsieur de Metro [Georges Kahn] was standing in front of a nearby church. They went up to him and as they reached him, a German civilian approached the chief and pulled out a revolver. Most of the group was captured because they raised their hands. But the Polish Spitfire pilot and one American walked away in the crowd, came to the same bus and went back to Mr Nicolas. The women escorting kept on walking too. One woman was picked up and cleared because she said she was going to the market. The Lancaster engineer walked away, he looked like a young guy. M Nicolas also told us that M de Metro was caught and that someone very high up in the organisation must have given away the plot." (MIS-X #636 Miller)
17 December 1943 - Return to Livry-Gargan
Jan Trnobranski (1844) and Ernest Grubb (#447) – who returned to Livry-Gargan by bus with Jeannette – were taken to Montfermeil where they stayed with Andre Mourot's parents, Charles and Claire Mourot at 12 Avenue de Chelles. They were joined next day by Charles Downe (#411) and Chauncey Hicks (#515).
Charles Downe, who was in the truck with Camille Nicolas, says that (on 17 December) Nicolas told him that all twenty-nine of them were going to Paris. They were to meet in front of a church where they would be met by trucks and taken to Brittany. "16 left by truck - Grubb in party - 13 in car (Miller, Horton, Tracy, Hicks, self, 3 English boys, Sherman, Arp, Bachmann, Sgt Miller and Sgt Shaffer). We went to Paris then back to Livry and excitement because something bad had happened. Met Grubb and Jan Trnobranski (Polish Spitfire pilot). Hicks and I went with them to M Mourot at Montfermeil, 3 kms away. Ernie [Grubb] and John [Trnobranski] said they had gone to Paris and were in a large group in front of a church waiting for us. Then Gestapo came out of the church and all evaders taken – Ernie and John are the only two who escaped – they met Jeanne on auto-car."
On 16 January, the young woman took Charles Downe and Ernest Grubb to Paris - and a young man took Karl Miller (#446) and Jack Horton. The four airmen were then passed on to a Dutch guide who took them by train to Toulouse where Downe and Hicks left Miller and Horton. Downe and Grubb crossed the frontier to Les on 26 January 1944 with Sgt James C Hussong (#407) (tail-gunner of B-24 42-28599) and Sgt Leonard H Cassady (#408) (right waist-gunner of B-17 42-39759 Sarah Jane). Their epic crossing with Dutch evaders Rudy Zeeman and Robert van Exeter, and guides Henri Marrot and Palo Treillet, is commemorated at the Musee de la Chemin de Liberte in St Girons, Ariege.
Jan Trnobranski (who says that Grubb left a week before him) and Chauncey Hicks didn't stay at Montfermeil for long either, they were soon put in touch with the Dutch-Paris organisation and a couple of weeks later, taken by Metro to l'Eglise Pantheon. They walked to the home of a Swiss family, where they were joined by James Tracy (#507). They were each given heavy boots, gloves and an overcoat and next day, taken by train to Toulouse. They went on to cross the central Pyrenees, arriving in Spain on 2 February 1944.
The evaders in the truck with Camille Nicolas were driven back to Livry-Gargan where many of them spent the night in what is described by Elwood Arp (#604) as a chicken-house (by others as a barn) belonging to Nicolas' father-in-law, Jean Jouve. Next day, Charles Downe (#411) and Chauncey Hicks (#515) were taken to Montfermeil while the rest were taken to Roger Spiller at 32 Avenue d'Orleans, Livry-Gargan and with the exceptions of Vass and Arp, dispersed to other addresses from there.
John Vass (1877) and Elwood Arp (#604) stayed with Roger Spiller at Avenue d'Orleans until leaving Livry-Gargan for Paris on 10 February 1944.
Frederick Page (1876) says that on his return to Livry-Gargan, "We were taken to a cellar where we stayed for four hours before spending the rest of the night in a barn. Next day, M Nicolas took us to the home of Roger Spiller at 32 Avenue d'Orleans, Livry-Gargan where we stayed until 31 December. Then we [Page and Carl Bachmann] were moved to the house of M Albert Stegel, 19 Allee des Ormes, Livry-Gargan where we stayed until 13 February 1944. We heard that during this period, Nicolas had been arrested by the Germans but released after 29 days as they could prove nothing against him. In the absences of Nicolas, we were in the charge of M Louis Rene [Remy] of 85 rue Aristide Briand, Les Pavillons. On 14 Feb we were collected by a man and woman who, we were told, were of the Dutch-Paris organisation and taken to Paris for the day and on that night by train."
Carl Bachmann (#631) confirms going with Page to the home of Albert Stegel on Allee des Ormes where they lived for about two months, adding that during this time, Roger Guard, who lived in the Allee Duferme, [Roger Louis Girard of 15 Allee de la Ferme – now Alle Fernande Baudot] and his family were also helping them.
Albert Stegel (born April 1903) says that after returning from Place Pantin and spending two (sic) nights at M Jouve's home, the airmen were taken to Roger Spiller at 24 (sic) Avenue d'Orleans, where they stayed for three days. The group was then broken up and placed in different homes. Among the places where Bachmann stayed from December 21 to December 27 was the home of M Remy (Pavillons-sous-Bois). On December 27, Remy brought Bachmann and Page back to the home of M Roger Spiller. That same evening, M Stegel happened to be at Spiller's home to discuss some forthcoming acts of sabotage. Spiller and Remy were at a loss as to where to put Bachmann and Page. M Stegel then stepped forward and volunteered to take them to his house, to which proposal all parties agreed.
Karl Miller (#446) says that on returning from Eglise de Pantin, he spent two hours in the backyard of a house before going to a hay-barn for the rest of the night. Next morning, he followed Nicolas to a house on the outskirts of Livry-Gargan where he, Jack Horton and James Tracy (#507) stayed with an ex-gendarme (Louis Remy) for three nights. The ex-gendarme – who contacted the organisation for them – took them to a café where they met a man (Camille Juillard) who took them to an empty house for the night. Next day, Camille Juillard took Miller and Horton to stay with an elderly couple two kilometres out of Livry-Gargan (Albert Delphien and his wife at 40 bis Avenue Etienne Dolet, Pavillons-sous-Bois). They spent five nights (including Christmas) chez Delphien before the same man (Camille Juillard) moved them to a house in the country where Miller, Horton and later Tracy stayed with Mrs Jeanne Jones and her daughter Helen at 17 Avenue des Fauvettes, Montfermeil. On 21 January, the Dutch-Paris organisation took Miller, Horton and Tracy to Paris - they joined Grubb (#447) and Downe (#411) and were taken by train to Toulouse - where they lost Grubb and Downe.
Karl Miller (#446) and Jack Horton joined Sgt Harold W Bailey (1753) and four crewmen from B-17 42-39759 Sarah Jane - 2/Lts Frank Tank (#398) and Ernest Stock (#399) and S/Sgts Eric Kolc (#400) and Russell Gallo (#401). They were taken to Foix and set off across the mountains but after two days of walking, Horton had to be left in a French farmhouse. Miller and the others carried on and crossed the Pyrenees to Andorra on 27 January 1944.
James Tracy (#507) was taken – along with Jack Horton and Karl Miller (#446) - by local resistance chief Camille Juillard to stay overnight in an empty house. Next day, while Miller and Horton went to stay with Albert Delphien at Pavillons-sous-Bois, Juillard took Tracey to his own home at 2 Boulevard Faust in Livry-Gargan. On about 5 January, a gendarme came to tell Juillard that the Gestapo were coming to get him and Tracy was then moved to join Miller and Horton at Montfermeil.
Camille Juillard was arrested on 31 January 1944 and deported. He says that his deportation had nothing to do with the evaders - he was arrested as a "terrorist" and the Gestapo remained ignorant of his work for aviators.
"We spent the night in the chicken-house belonging to Nicolas' father-in-law. The next day, Lt Downe (#411) and Sgt Hicks (#515) were taken to a farm. The rest of us were taken to the home of Roger Spiller and farmed out – I and John Vass (1877) of the RAF stayed with Roger Spiller until 10 February." (MIS-X #604 Arp)
Howard Sherman (#608) says that "From 18 to 21 December I lived with an enthusiastic communist. He owns a radio shop and is a friend of Roger SPILLER at Livry-Gargan. On 21 December, I went to Lucien [query] until 31 December. He owns a delicatessan in Livry-Gargan. He is in the black market and his son shoots Germans. Sgt Bachmann (still in Spain) Fred Page RCAF, who has lost an eye, Sgt Robert Ellis, who could not make the Pyrenees because of a crippled foot, and is be sent to Switzerland, were also at Lucien's."
"On 31 December, Ellis and I went to Marcel Nicot , 48 rue de Normandie, Gagny. We were there until 10 February. He is a poor man with little food and lots of friends. He devoted all his time to the resistance movement and was very good to us. One of his friends, a wealthy baker, and another one who is a one-armed guard at an insane asylum, were very kind and helpful during this period. Rene [Rene Bourgeois], a retired policeman in Livry-Gargan, was good to all of us and was the one who finally contacted D-P." (MIS-X #608 Sherman)
William Miller (#636) and Edward Shaffer (#637) were returned to stay with Ernest and Blanche Bernard at 5 rue Emile Zola: “At Mme Bernard's house (where the Pole [Trnobranski] came and told us how he got away) we met Monsieur Nicolas, he explained the story to me. He told me also that M de Metro [Georges Kahn] was caught and that someone very high up in the organisation must have given the plot. Seven days later the Gestapo arrested M Nicolas, his wife and his mother and father-in-law living across the street, M and Mme Joue [Jouve]. The day after Nicolas arrest, I was moved (with Shaffer) to Monsieur Bourgeois in Livry-Gargan [Rene Bourgeois of 2 Avenue de la Convention] (42 years old, thin, worked as an electrician at Westinghouse, wife and three young children) by Monsieur Reuin [Louis Remy of 85 rue Aristide Briand, Les Pavillons-sous-Bois] (6 feet tall, aged about 35, dark hair) a French policeman in civilian clothes. I stayed with them until about 10 February. That day I was taken with Shaffer to Arp's house." (MIS-X #636 Miller)

Up to 10 February 1944 - when the last group leave for Spain

"During this, Nicolas was arrested and held in Paris for 29 days. When he was released he came to see me immediately, although all the French were afraid that he was being trailed. It seems that he had contacted another organisation through his radio man in Paris. This organisation, into which the Gestapo had worked itself, was supposed to take us out of France. The traitor in this organisation was a short man who escorted four of the boys to the church [presumably with Andre Poirier]. He had been charged with getting food cards from the mairie and had then acquired our French aliases and real American names when he was given our coastal papers (the second organisation was to be a boating party). He was long known to the radio man [Georges Kahn] who acted in good faith. When he turned his gun on to the radio man, he is supposed to have told him that it was something he had wanted to do for ages.” (MIS-X #604 Arp)
Note that Andre Poirier was himself compromised, having "failed to take the usual precautions to hide himself as normal evader would have done." He stayed at his parents' address in Paris where he was recognised by neighbours who had known him before the war. One of them, Mlle Yvette Casenave, was the mistress of a superior officer of the Gestapo, and she told her lover, who immediately had Poirier senior watched, and eventually arrested - on 18 November 1943.
"Nicolas claimed that all the Gestapo was ever able to get against him was his telephone number, which had been found on the radio man. Between playing up his illness and faking ignorance, he obtained his release. When the Gestapo had come for him, he had been carrying our names and home addresses. He got rid of these in the latrine after feigning illness. While in prison he saw the radio man unconscious and beaten beyond recognition. He also saw a woman beaten with a chair. Three of the airmen were there too, doubt they were receiving good treatment. This prison [Fresnes] is I believe the biggest in Paris. It is on the western outskirts of the city and the Red Cross and Germans feed it alternatively in weekly periods. I understood that Nicolas was the only person from Livry-Gargan involved. The radio man came from Paris – I saw him once at a day-long rendezvous which he and Nicolas held at a Metro station. He was a large, tall man, with a big nose and *** face, he wore glasses.” (MIS-X #604 Arp)
William Miller (#636) says "That day [10 February] taken with Shaffer (#637) to Arp's house. There I met again Arp and John Vass. While we are there we met Sherman, Robert Ellis and Bachmann. Saw Nicolas, who had been released by the Germans because impersonating insanity (he would shudder and drag his foot etc). He said the Germans had showed him pictures of Sherman, Arp, Bachmann, Downe, Hicks, myself, Shaffer, Ellis and Tracy – he failed to recognise us. They also had a picture of Metro beaten up and out of shape – it was the chief terribly beaten. Then a friend of Nicolas came to Arp's and took us (Miller & Shaffer). From there on our journey is the same as Arp.”
On 10 February, Camille Nicolas, Roger Spiller, Rene Bourgeois and Andre Mourot took Frederick Page (1876) John Vass (1877) Elwood Arp (#604) Howard Sherman (#608) Carl Bachmann (#631) William Miller (#636) and Edward Shaffer (#637) into Paris. They were passed on to a Dutch couple, Mike and Marie of Dutch-Paris, and that night, Marie and a French girl took them to Toulouse. They were in a group of more twenty evaders who crossed the Pyrenees to Bossost in Spain on 19 March 1944.
Robert Ellis was also taken into Paris on 10 February but his injured foot meant that he would not be able to walk across the Pyrenees and he was left in the capital. 1395330 F/Sgt Robert O Ellis was captured on 26 February 1944 at 11 rue Jasmine, Paris XVI (home of Fernande Goetschel) along with a Swiss national named Jean Milleret. Both Goetschel and Milleret were members of the Dutch-Paris organisation. Ellis was sent to Stalag Luft VI (Bankau) on 6 June 1944 where he worked in the camp's hospital before being transferred to Stalag 383 (Hohenfels).
All the airmen who escaped the trap at Place de l'Eglise were passed to the Dutch-Paris organisation and with the exceptions of Jack Horton and Robert Ellis, crossed the Pyrenees to Spain.
I don't know who was responsible for leaking the planned pick-up at Pantin but it was almost certainly someone connected to the Bordeaux organisation. However that, like CDDL and Dutch-Paris, is another story.
My grateful thanks to Michael Moores LeBlanc for his inspiration and many contributions to this story, and to John Howes, Edouard Reniere and Oliver Clutton-Brock for their unfailing help and support.