Reports from Other Escape and Evasion Organizations

  • Association of Rescuers of Allied Airmen (l’Association des sauveteurs d’Aviateurs Alliés) (ASAA). The goals of the ASAA are : To recall the memory of these young airmen who perished or were helped to escape on our soil and ensure their memory among younger generations. To recall the memory and collect testimonies of people in our region who did not hesitate, despite the Occupation, to help these airmen lodging them and conveying them on the way to Freedom.  To locate the crash sites of the aircraft.  To re-establish friendly links (originally made with the airmen themselves) with their descendants.  To keep up these links with the French families or connected institutions such as schools, town halls, etc.  To organise events such as conferences, exhibitions, informative literature, commemoration ceremonies etc.  See their website at http://asaapicardie3945.fr/. On September 14-15, 2019, the ASAA hosted the visit of   of the EDGE, HOULIHAN and WATTS families – Leglantiers, Saint-Just-en-Chaussee, Wavignies, Froissy, Beauvoir (Oise).

 

  • Basque Pyrenees Freedom Trails Association.  For the weekend of 29-30 of June 2019, BPFTA has organised a two-day commemorative trek from Burdintxuruketa in Mendive, over the Franco-Spanish border and down to Otsagabia in Navarre, along the ww2 Belgian escape line. Tribute ceremonies are being planned on both sides of the frontier – Mendive, Casas de Irati, Otsagabia, Pamplona, San Sebastián and Hernani.  For further information, see their website: Basque Pyrenees Freedom Trails Association (BPFTA): https://www.bpftaww2.com/en/home/.

 

  • Belgian Air Force Association. The annual “Remembrance Day” ceremony organized by the “Belgian Air Force Association” will be held on Saturday 12 October at 11.30 am at the monument located in the Cinquantenaire Park (next to the Royal Army Museum).  This memorial is dedicated to the memory of all who gave their lives in ordered air service.  For further information see their website.

 

  • Comete Line Remembrance.
    Brigitte d’Oultremont

    Comete Line Remembrance held its Reunion Week-End Comète on 18-19-20 October 2019.  To view the June Comete Line newsletter, click on the following pdf file:  June 2019 newsletter.  To view a news story published Oct. 22, 2019 about a plaque commemorating the Rume (Belg.)-Bachy (Fr.) portion of the Comet Line, and guide Henriette Hanotte’s role in it, click on the image below:

  • Eighth Air Force Historical Society holds its 45th Annual Reunion October 16-20, 2019 at the Sheraton Westport Lakeside Chalet in St. Louis, MO.  Activities include the Sights of St. Louis Tour, Boeing James S. McDonnell Prologue Room, Holocaust Museum and Learning Center, and Sights and Shops in St. Charles Tour.  For details click on https://www.8thafhs.org/old/new/.  The 2020 Annual Reunion will be held in Memphis, Tennessee.

 

  • Friends of the Comet Line (Les amis du réseau Comète, Comète Sud Au Pays Basque) -Geoff Cooper  of “The Friends of the Comet Line” says it is “an association from France’s Basque Country with the aim of commemorating the activities of the Comet Line in the Pays Basque.  Our site is bi-lingual – French and English – and it’s updated regularly.”  For details, see https://cometepaysbasque.blogspot.com/.

 

 

  • Monte San Martino Trust.   New information posted on FEb. 9, 2022 was as follows:  “Dear Supporter,
    I hope you are well.
    We have been busy at Monte San Martino Trust planning for this year and beyond, and we thought you might appreciate an update on our activities.
    Our students: The waning of the Covid-19 pandemic has allowed us to make 40 offers of four-week language bursaries to young Italians in 2022. This number, which includes 22 students who postponed their offers from the previous two years, is the biggest yet granted by the Trust in a single year. It has been especially gratifying to extend the opportunity to several young people from Castel di Sangro (Abruzzo) and Isernia (Molise), whose inhabitants suffered so badly while on the Front Line in 1943 and who helped to shelter escaped PoWs. With regret, we lack the resources to meet this number of students at incoming airports and have devised an alternative support system (click here). It is essential that we support our students while they are in England and we are appealing for volunteers to help with this.
    Strategy: A recent meeting of the trustees approved a five-year strategy for 2022–2027, identifying three new priority areas, in addition to ongoing work such as students, maintaining the digitised archive, and our popular zoominars. The first is to undertake and promote more research into the Italian PoW story, in particular publishing more information about Italian helpers, and about a wider range of PoWs (e.g. Other Ranks, Commonwealth servicemen). The second priority is to try and expand to new audiences, especially online. Thirdly, we want to enhance the Trust’s presence in Italy and with Italian societies in the UK. The trustees have allocated additional funds towards these projects from Keith Killby’s generous legacy.
    Research: Progress continues on our joint project with the Parri Institute in Milan to create a website entitled “Italy and the Allies“ covering all aspects of the PoW story. The portal, in both Italian and English, is scheduled to be launched in the autumn. It will complement the Trust’s online archive containing more than 150 PoW memoirs.
    Meanwhile, the trustees have agreed to the next steps to digitise the valuable archive of the Allied Screening Commission in order to dramatically increase access for academics and those researching their own families, both Italian and members of the Allied forces. Anne Copley is exploring the advantages and limitations of digitisation and a visit to the archives in Washington is planned.
    New books: A MSMT team will this year publish a translation into English of a book by an Italian historian containing witness statements by Contadini who sheltered escaped PoWs in Le Marche. Also, Anne Copley has completed the first draft of her book relating Other Ranks’ accounts of their wartime experiences and particularly their time with Italian helpers.
    Tenna Valley Trail: Difficulties have arisen because of Brexit and Covid-19 arrangements. A decision will be made on 1st March on whether it takes place in May.
    Zoominars: If you were not able to attend our recent events, or would like to see them again, please click here.
    We look forward to reporting on further progress in the annual newsletter in June.
    Kind regards,
    John Simkins,
    Administrator, MSMT”
    info@msmtrust.org.uk
    www.msmtrust.org.uk
  • WWII Escape Lines Memorial Society.  The 31st Annual ELMS Reunion/Memorial Day Weekend will be held at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel in York from 21 April to 24 April, 2022.  The hotel is in the center of York, within easy traveling distance of Eden Camp Museum.  For more details, see their website.  The Tenna Valley Trail walk is planned for May 2022.  See the website for additional helper/escaper/evader stories.