Some more Pat Line escapers and evaders mentioned in the book Conscript Heroes
R.54188 Sgt Pilot Joseph Guillaume Laurent (Larry) Robillard RCAF was involved in a dogfight with several fighters on 2 July 1941, shooting down two Me109s before his own Spitfire exploded. RASC escapers Dvr H C D Simmons and Pte J A Mowat watched the action and both were able to confirm Robillard's kills. They later met up with him and escaped to Spain together with Dvr F Rowe RASC and fighter pilots P/O H P Duval and Sgt D B Crabtree.
"We could see the pilot descend by parachute in the fields nearby where he was found by my French friends. Before the Germans could locate him he was whisked away in a brewer's truck to a safe hiding place. ... Shortly afterwards I was invited to meet the escaped pilot. He was an American (sic) of French extraction serving with the RAF, Robillard by name. Like other pilots engaged in operations over the north of France, he had to memorise an address in Roubaix, which, if shot down, he should endeavour to reach, and from where he would take instructions. His information delighted the patriots, for this contact with a genuine organisation working in liaison with the British was what they had searched for so long. But how tragic it was to turn out, for the agent in Roubaix was none other than Paul Cole, the traitor was later was responsible for so many of their deaths." (Arthur Fraser 1958)
It would seem that Doug Crabtree was also one of the many servicemen sheltered by the MacLeods but Helene was unable to confirm any names as that was not something that they recorded at the time.
On 24 July Robillard, Crabtree and Duval met Ptes Mowat, Simmonds and Rowe at Bethune. Their guide was Pte James Smith who took them by train to Paris and on to Tours and St Martin-le-Beau to cross the river Cher and the demarcation line in much the same way as my father's party. They also walked overnight to Loches and took the train again to Chateauroux and so on to Marseille, arriving on the morning of the 28th where they were handed over to Mario Prassinos. Three days later they were taken to Perpignan from where they crossed the Pyrenees, arriving safely at the British Consulate in Barcelona on 3 August. Two days later the airmen were in Madrid and finally got to Gibraltar on 13 August. They were flown home by Sunderland on 26 August 1941.
Robillard survived the war and I spoke to him on the phone in April 2001 when a chance meeting in London with fellow Canadian evader Al Day put us in contact.
Larry Robillard died at his home in Montreal, Canada on 8 March 2006.
2818481 Pte T Williamson and 2818441 Pte J McLaren, both Seaforth Highlanders, were captured at Saint Valery-en-Caux but escaped along with Pte D Livingstone from the column of march at Renaix. Rescued by French civilians they eventually stayed five months at a house in Tilques, just west of St Omer, along with two other soldiers, Pte Harry Cowan and Pte John Syme. In October Cowan was arrested and Williamson and McLaren were moved to Roubaix by "the organisation" where they remained for another month. From there they and Livingstone joined a guided party of eight Frenchmen to Paris where the group of eleven were greeted with "Toujours le Football" by their contact. From Paris they took the train to Tours and crossed the demarcation line near Loches by boat. Two more trains saw them in Marseille where the three soldiers were taken first to Donald Caskie's Seamen's Mission at rue de Forbin and then St Hippolyte du Fort where they met up again with John Syme and with Cpl W F Gardner. Syme was later transferred to Fort de la Rivere, Camp de Chambaran and then Camp 73 in Italy.
5567722 Cpl W F Gardner (2 Wiltshires) was captured at Arras 23 May 1940. He escaped from the column of march in Luxembourg but was recaptured three days later. He escaped again on 30 June from a prison camp at Hirson and spent the next few months in northern France. He was contacted by "the organisation" in December and at the end of January was driven to Auchel. From there he was driven via Abbeville and Paris to cross the demarcation line at Vierzon. He was arrested in Chateauroux and sent to Saint Hippolyte at the end of March where he met Williamson and McLaren.
Gardner escaped from Saint Hippolyte in June along with two RAF sergeants R E Griffiths and F H Miller and three others. The three others were arrested but Gardner, Griffiths and Miller walked to Nimes where they met up with Williamson and McLaren who had escaped separately. After making their way to Michael Pareyre's garage at Perpignan, where they were joined by Sig L R MacDonald, they were driven to the Spanish border which they crossed that night. During the crossing the party were split up due to bad weather but Gardner, Williamson and McLaren arrived Figueras together, walked to Gerona and jumped a goods train to Barcelona. Despite emergency identification cards from the British Consulate they were arrested in Barcelona and sent to an series of prisons which ended at Miranda. They were released from Miranda 31 October and driven to Madrid in same party as my father. Griffiths, Miller and MacDonald made it safely direct to the British Embassy in Madrid.
T.110158 Dvr J Strachan RASC was captured at Saint Valery-en-Caux but escaped with L/Bdr E W Dimes and Gnr J H Clapham from the line of march near Fournes. All three stayed in hiding in and around St Omer with "the organisation" until August 1941 when they moved to Lillers. On 22 September, Strachan joined a party that included Gnr H Fryer, L/Bdr J Heather, F/Lt A L Winskill and Sgt Pilot L M McKee and were guided to Marseille by Paul Cole, Roland Lepers and future SOE agent Madeleine Damerment following the same route as my father's party. From Marseille Strachan, McKee and Winskill were taken to Canet Plage by Pat O'Leary where they were joined at Andree Borrel's Villa Anita by Sgt Pilot Adolf Pietrasiak and a Pole named Neuryey Gasior. They went on to Ax-les-Thermes for a six day crossing of the Pyrenees and then Barcelona and Madrid where they met my father's party fresh from Miranda.
2819021 Pte J Farrell of 2 Seaforth Highlanders was captured at Saint Valery-sur-Somme on 12 June 1940. Two weeks later, he escaped from the line of march near Renaix with Pte F Butters and Pte I Temperley. Farrell made his own way south, eventually arriving at Marseille in October where he was arrested and interned at Fort St Jean. Farrell was transferred from there to Saint Hippolyte in January 1941 and in September, at the fourth time of trying, finally escaped with Pte A McRae of the Camerons. They went to Gaston Negre's house in Nimes, the address of which they had been given in the camp. Joined next day by Pte J T Clarke they were guided to Canet-Plage. On the way McRae was arrested (returned to St Hippolyte and later POW in Italy) whilst changing trains at Narbonne. Farrell and Clarke crossed the Pyrenees from Prats de Mollo and arrived at the British Embassy in Barcelona on 18 September. They were driven to Madrid on 5 October where Farrell met my father and travelled all the way back to London with him.
959970 Sgt Philip Herbert of 15 Squadron RAF was second pilot of a Wellington bomber which crashed into the sea south of Malaga on 28 April 1941 after running out of fuel. The surviving crew - Herbert with Sgts Doug Walsh, R H P Humphris and L McLean - were picked up by the Vichy French ship Menhir Braz a week later and taken to the prison section of the Michel Levy Military Hospital in Marseille. They were transferred to Saint Hippolyte du Fort but then applied to the Medical Repatriation Board back at Michel Levy. Having all been found fit, they were sent to Fort St Marc (sic) prior to their return to Saint Hippolyte. I assume 'St Marc' was Fort St Marthe - the French military headquarters barracks at Marseilles.
Herbert escaped from St Marc 10 June 1941 with Sgts N J Ingram and S J Houghton and made contact with "the organisation" in Marseille. After staying with Louis Nouveau, Herbert joined a party which included P/O Marian Rytka, Sgt W E Whiteman and Spr D Kemp and crossed the Pyrenees in a similar way to my dad. They got as far as Barcelona before being arrested and eventually sent to Miranda where my father met him. Herbert was the very first 'guest' at Louis Nouveau's home where he stayed for a fortnight. It was Nouveau who escorted him to the station to catch the train for Perpignan and the newly arrived Pat O'Leary who took them to the border.
Herbert's crew members also escaped and got home - Humphris and McLean from St Hippolyte on 18 July 1941 to cross the Pyrenees, and Doug Walsh in the big breakout from Fort de la Rivere on 5 Sept 1942. Walsh was evacuated from Canet Plage on 12 October by the felucca Seawolf in Operation ROSALIND.
748117 Sgt William Guy Lockhart is mentioned in Louis Nouveau's records as being the twenty-fifth visitor there. Actually Guy Lockhart arrived some weeks before my father and was (probably) in the company of F/O Derek N Forde. Lockhart, a peacetime flying instructor, was pilot of 74 Squadron Spitfire W3317 shot down 7 July 1941 near Renty where he was helped by Norbert Fillerin. He was escorted to Marseille on 10 August where he was joined by Forde. They were guided across the Pyrenees in a party which also included Sgt Pilot Josef Mensik and Sig J M Ritchie only to be arrested and sent to Miranda del Ebro where Louis Nouveau's son Jean Pierre watched him boxing to entertain the troops. Lockhart was released for repatriation in October and flown home with Mensik from Gibraltar on 21 October.
On 1 September 1942 112728 Acting Squadron Leader W G Lockhart DFC was again stranded in France when his 161 Special Duties Squadron Lysander was wrecked on landing near Macon in the SIS Operation BOREAS II. Four days later he was evacuated from Narbonne Plage to Gibraltar on the Polish crewed felucca Seadog as part of the BCRA/SIS Operation LEDA and returned to the UK in a 138 Special Duties aircraft on 13 September. (see Article)
On the night of 27/28 April 1944 Acting Wing Commander W G Lockhart DSO DFC & Bar was Captain of Lancaster bomber JB676 which was lost in an operation over Friedrichshafen. Guy Lockhart is buried in Durnbach Cemetery, Germany.