Mission 13: A Downed Pilot’s Escape from France

Mission 13: A Downed Pilot’s Escape From France

World War II September 1943 – February 1944

By Norman C. Schroeder Jr. and Barbara F. Smith

Fifty years after WWII my father, Norman C. Schroeder Sr. tape recorded his evasion from France after being shot down over Brittany which is the basis for the book summarized below. Further research, travels to France and interviews with family members who hid Norman filled in much of the information that Norman would not of known or inquired about for fear of compromising the Resistance, families that hid and fed him and helpers along the way.

(Page numbers have been added to the following text after approximately every five paragraphs in order to assist with indexing the names of airmen, helpers, planes, and places. Bold-facing was added for the same reason. Go to the end of the article to view the indexes.)

Page One

On September 16, 1943 the B-17, “Battlin Bobbie” took off from Kimbolton Field, England with twelve 500-pound demolition bombs to hit targets in Nantes, France. On board were Capt. Elton “Pete” Hoyt (pilot), 1st Lt. Norman C. Schroeder (co-pilot), 2nd Lt. William Cook (navigator), 2nd Lt. Louis Glickman (bombardier), S/Sgt. Herbert Dulberg (radio operator), and gunners T/Sgt. Bill Miller, T/Sgt. John Thomas, S/Sgt. Harry Minor, T/Sgt. Russell Eldridge, and Sgt. Edward Shaffer. The crew were members of the 525th Bomb Squadron, 379th Bomb Group. This was Mission 13 for 1st Lt. Norman C. Schroeder.

Near Rennes, France, they were seriously hit by flack. As Lt. Schroeder described it: “It picked up the whole airplane, just one big whap! It lifted the plane about 100-150 feet. The left waist gunner called “fire in the engines!” “I looked out and saw the #1 and #2 engines on fire and the left wing looked like a sieve. I would estimate that there were 200 holes in that thing. I looked over at the right wing and aft of the #3 engine; it had a hole of maybe 3 or 4 feet in diameter. No. 4 engine’s prop was acting up, not maintaining steady rpm.” The flack damage forced the “Battlin Bobbie” to drop out of formation and attempt to return to Kimbolton.

The wounded B-17 was then finished off by a German ME-109 fighter (Lt. Helmut Beitz). About 15 miles SW of Rennes all 10 men had to bail out near the town of Messac. On his way down in his chute Lt. Schroeder watched the wounded bird circling in flames as it crashed on the farm of Francis Bourgeon. A very young Jean-Claude Bourgeon witnessed the events that day and still remembers the smoke, fire and explosion as the plane crashed. Norman had to slip his chute in order to avoid high voltage lines just before landing in an apple tree. He hid in a small woods before walking to a farm house where he was given food and ill-fitting French clothes by the Massiot family. Strategically he did not give up his GI boots. Knowing his position in Brittany he used his silk map of France and compass to plot the shortest route to the Demarcation Line; essentially a straight line from Rennes to Poitiers. His plan was get out of German occupied France ASAP and get to Spain. On the morning of September 17 he started his trek to Poitiers. Meanwhile seven of the “Battlin Bobbie” crew were rounded up by the local Resistance group and two crewmen, Thomas and Eldridge, were captured and became POWs. The Resistance people told Pete that no one knew anything about the 10th man. He was MIA.

As rag-tag Schroeder walked he obtained water from the town wells, avoided main roads and large towns. He decided he could not be running into the woods every time a German car, truck, or motorcycle came by. “If I’m going to be caught let’s get it over with.” He was wary that his boots were too fancy for the “rag-picking-bum” he appeared to be so he scuffed them up, changed their color and removed some of the eyelets. Even so a German officer stared at his shoes for a long time as he walked through one town.

Every day was an effort to find food and shelter, usually haystacks or barns; it took about five requests before he got a positive response. However, one farmer was very suspicious of Schroeder and it became serious when his son took off on his bike to get someone. Whereupon Schroeder got the hell out of there. Later at another house he became aware of the local calendar maps that gave him detailed information about the local area which, allowed him to plot the next day’s route more strategically. This was beneficial for finding a route to go over the Loire River. The silk map was not detailed enough to find river crossings. Thus, he went over the bridge at Varades continuing his trek to Poitiers. While nearing the town of Thouars he started seeing many more Germans including tanks. He watched the tanks taking target practice and he would move off the road to allow them to pass. Going through Thouars he looked in store windows to see how people were surviving the occupation. He poked his head into one place which turned out to be a German mess hall. Some soldiers looked up at him and he nonchalantly slipped away. On September 29 he slept in a hay stack and plotted the route he would take through Poitiers. He followed the Clain river until he came to the Rue du Faubourg du Pont Neuf bridge which would allow him to take N147 south out of Poitier and toward Limoges.

Page Two

This bridge was heavily guarded as it was a major barrier before the Demarcation Line. He surveyed the bridge several time to see if the locals were being stopped and checked for papers. Surprisingly security checks were few so he easily walked across the bridge and had an emotional letdown after he had met his initial goal of crossing what he thought was the Demarcation Line. His feet were sore and blistered, he was always hungry, and he wondered where the underground network was that he had been briefed about.

It was fortunate that as he walked through southern Poitiers, along rue de La Pierre Levee (French Route N147), he saw a woman in her front yard and asked to wash his feet. They could not communicate, she did not know he was an American, but she gave him a tub of water to wash his feet and a bowl of soup. This act of kindness possibly raised Schroeder’s spirit enough for him to travel a little further down the road to an event that changed his evasion! As he approached the intersection of N147 and D1 he observed an isolated house that appeared safe. He was warmly welcomed by Mr. and Mrs. Auguste Vergnaud, a blacksmith, who told Schroeder that he helped a French Canadian (Lucien Dumais) the previous year get into the underground. Schroeder’s spirits were elevated and he finally slept and ate well for the first time since he left Kimbolton 15 days earlier and walking 250 km.

The next day Auguste took him by bicycle to Lussac-les-Châteaux where he was deposited at the Hotel de la Gare. The hotel owner was quite worried because the blacksmith had told many people he was escorting an American airman. “Everyone knows you are here but we will put you in a room on the second floor. Do not open the door unless there is a particular knock; if it is not correct jump out the window onto the shed and flee. We will find you afterwards”. Lucien Dumais stayed at the same hotel, in the same room, and had received the same instructions a year earlier. Late in the evening that particular knock came; “vite, vite” (quick, quick) you go outside and get in the back of a truck. They drove him to Montmorillon to the home Capt. Pierre Martin, assistant leader of the Lower Vienne Department Resistance Group. Martin’s 16-year-old daughter who was taking English lessons came to talk to him and she described the situation:

“Your father Norman, arrived at our place on a cold rainy night. It was late and I was sleeping when my father woke me and told me to come down to meet an English man that had been shot down by the Germans”. He said: “You speak English, come talk to him”. I went to our kitchen and saw this very tall man, all wet, who was sneezing. We could not communicate. My mother gave him coffee and aspirin, and then I gave him my bedroom for him to rest. The day after, Mlle. Lancaster, my English teacher, came to translate for my father. This is how and when we learned that he was an American aviator, and that he had come to bombard Nantes. He stayed hidden at our place, but I don’t remember for how long. At the same time, my father was hiding a German deserter from the Eastern front and a person that did the radio transmission with London (Lt. Robert Vanier, alias “Vincent”). These three people were hidden from each other, they never met nor knew the existence of the others.”

The next day Schroeder was having a wonderful breakfast. “Boy, was I eating. They had some homemade confiture (jam), good French bread, and café au lait”. While eating, Mlle. Lancaster and Raoul Gaschard came into the room. She was an English school teacher and he was a member of the St. Savin Resistance. She said, “Good morning, young man. And how are you?” “Perfect English! It was a pleasant surprise to be able to speak English for the first time in weeks.”

Page Three

Mlle. Lancaster informed him that he was going to a POW camp for black soldiers. Le Vigeant was a Senegalese prisoner of war camp near L’Isle-Jourdain about 23 km south of Lussac-les-Châteaux. Because of the German racial polices these soldiers were imprisoned in France. The local Resistance took advantage of this situation and became the operators of the POW camp for the Germans and secretly used it to hide spies, saboteurs, and Frenchmen who were being conscripted to work in Germany. While there they would listen to the BBC. It was broadcast first in French then in English. Non-sensical messages were being sent to various resistance groups for example: “Susan likes blood pudding.” Messages about blood pudding referred to Schroeder. One broadcast was particularly funny. After the French version, the English version described two fellows crossing a bridge and arguing about whose turn it was to carry a suitcase. The German guards on the bridge were laughing at these dumb Frenchmen who eventually, after their animated argument, left the suitcase in the middle of the bridge and went off in opposite directions vocally cursing at each other. Shortly after, the suitcase explodes and takes out the bridge. When Schroeder looked up from the radio, he saw two fellas with beaming smiles pointing to themselves as the proud saboteurs.

After about 3 weeks Schroeder was taken back to Montmorillon to Marcel Guibert’s house. He stayed here one night but was told by Mlle. Lancaster that he would be taken to a place where he would be picked up by a small plane and brought back to England. The next day two people took him by bicycle 9 km to the hamlet of Haims where he stayed with both the Perriquiaux and Neveu families.

Norman Schroeder was escorted at night to a field north of Haims. The Resistance group centered here had worked diligently to establish itself since October 1942. One of their goals was to procure a field large enough for use by Lysander aircraft. By September 1943, “Coconut,” (the code name for the airfield) was ready and was recognized by MI-9, the British Intelligence group responsible for returning downed airmen, as a potentially useful tool. They directed their Dahlia network chief, M. Yves Le Hénaff, to use it. Le Hénaff, who was originally from Brittany, was trained in England to be an MI-9 agent. One of his jobs was to bring Lysander airplanes into France to exchange British and French spies and saboteurs, deliver supplies, and evacuate evading airmen.

On November 11 Schroeder was taken to a muddy “Coconut.” Operations at “Coconut” were conducted during full moon periods and “Vincent” was the radio operator.

There were nine possible passengers for the three Lysander aircraft that were expected to land. However, the muddy field condition allowed only one Lysander to land. Unfortunately for my father, this was a British operation and RAF pilots took precedence. Thus Norman, who talked to RAF pilot Sgt. Victor Matthews at “Coconut,” watched him board the mud-laden plane with two Frenchmen for their scary take-off to England. Even though Norman did not get his ride back to England he was quite impressed with the Lysander operation.

Page Four

The pilot of the Lysander that landed, Flight Lt. Robin Hooper, described the field as “extremely soft” and cancelled the landings of the other two Lysanders. He said he “had great difficulty in extracting his Lysander from the mud and taking off.” Hooper was admonished by his superior officer for the cancellation: “What do you expect? Concrete runways?” In response to this comment, the ground crew dug out two wheelbarrows full of sticky yellow French clay from the wheel wells of the Lysander and dumped them near the officer’s cottage with a sign stuck in the dirt proclaiming “There’s some corner of an English field that is forever foreign.”

Coincidently, Lucien Dumais was on one of the two Lysander aircraft that did not land; he was trying to return to France as an MI-9 agent with his radio operator, Raymond Labrosse. Having failed at “CoconutDumais and Labrosse landed in Chauny, France on November 19, 1943 with the mission to evacuate US airmen by boat from the Brittany coast. Dumais’ Shelburne Line successfully returned 300 airmen by boat to England. Many airmen remembered them; so much so that when the initial meeting of the Air Force Escape and Evasion Society (AFEES) had their first reunion in 1961, Dumais and Labrosse were guests of honor.

After the Lysander aircraft left, Schroeder, two MI-9 agents, and Le Hénaff went to the Château de l’Epine. Schroeder stayed for 13 days in the trusted hands of the Giraudet family while the others left for Brittany. Schroeder was hidden in a dark room on the third floor of the Chateau. For security reasons, he was not allowed to open the window shutters. Le Hénaff’s Lysander and boating evacuation efforts ended sadly. He was caught by the Gestapo and suffocated in a crowded railroad car on the way to Dachau on July 2, 1944.

On November 25 Norman was brought from Château de l’Epine to Roger and Marie Tiffineau’s home in St. Savin. Their partitioned living room provided a small room for Schroeder to hide. The back garden of the house connected to the garage, and Café/Restaurant Jacquelin; the latter was Marie’s grandmother’s property. In 1943, the café/restaurant was known as the “Conspiration House,” where the local Resistance group met. If there was danger, members could scatter out the front door or the back door into the garden and exit through either the Tiffineau’s garage or house. While at the Tiffineaus, Schroeder would go to the garage and listen to the BBC on the clandestine suitcase-radio with MI-9 radio man “Vincent”.

Winter was coming on and it became imperative for the Resistance to find a way to get Schroeder on his way to Spain. In order for this to occur he would need a fake ID to ride on a train. Fortunately, Marie and her coworker, Robert Lajon, worked at the town hall. There Robert had access to all the official stamps and he produced Norman’s fake ID and ration cards. Schroeder became Jean Bezaud, a deaf and dumb baker from Limoges.

Page Five

While Schroeder was at Château de l’Epine, Raoul Gaschard traveled to Paris to arrange the transfer of him to the Burgundy Escape Line. On December 3, 1943, with all the hubbub of the Farmer’s market in St. Savin as cover, Schroeder met “Anne-Marie” and M. Andrault at the Place de la Republique. M. Andrault, from Lussac-les-Châteaux, took Norman and “Anne-Marie” to the train station in Poitiers in his charcoal-burner automobile.

They stood all the way on this slow journey to Paris arriving on December 6 at 4 am, and transferring to a student’s house until 7 am. Later Schroeder was taken to another student’s house in the center of Paris for “breakfast.” “After breakfast” S/Sgt. William C. Howell was brought in and Schroeder and William were taken to meet T/Sgt. Otto Bruzewski. The three of them were taken by train from Gare d’Austerlitz to André and Pauline Lefèvre’s home in Juvisy-sur-Orge; Paulette Pavan was their daughter. Howell and Bruzewski stayed with the Lefèvre’s and Schroeder was taken to the Meilleroux Pharmacy.

The Burgundy Line was very thorough and lethal about preventing German spies from infiltrating their organization, a factor that was the demise of a number of Escape Lines. Schroeder did not realize the danger he was in during “breakfast.” This was a subtle interrogation by a bilingual member of the Burgundy Line, Geneviève Soulie, to verify Schroeder’s identity. Howell was listening in another room to his responses to verify that Schroeder was a legitimate airman. If Schroeder had failed “breakfast” he would have been executed; a fate rendered willingly to potential infiltrators by the Burgundy Line to maintain security.

While in Juvisy there were discussions of taking Schroeder, Howell and Bruzewski to Brest to be evacuated by boat. This was probably another attempt by Le Hénaff to evacuate US airmen. His October and November attempts were failures, as Howell experienced. Dumais’sShelburne Line” that was to evacuate airmen by boat had just been established in mid to late December but bad weather prevented any escapes. By December the backlog of evading US airmen had strained the resources and capacity of safe houses in Paris and the Brittany peninsula. It was time to revert to the routes over the Pyrénées.

After 13 days the airmen left Paris for Perpignan on December 18, 1943. Paulette Pavan escorted them to the Jardin des Plantes, the Arboretum adjacent to Gare d’Austerlitz. Paulette told them to sit separately on the park benches and look for a certain woman, Geneviève Crosson Le Berre, to pass by, turn around, and come back to them. They were to follow her one-by-one to board the train. The airmen, Geneviève, and an older Belgium man evading the Gestapo were in one train compartment. Two other airmen, Eugene Mulholland and Rosswell Miller and their guide were in another compartment. The first leg of the trip went to Toulouse then they took a secondary train to Perpignan. Geneviève would stop in Montauban because it was safer to wait there than the Toulouse train station which had a heavy Gestapo presence. However, Geneviève recounted:

Page Six

We came into Montauban, and there were so many Germans at the station that I had to find a place to take my evaders. When I heard the church bells ring, I decided to take them to Mass at a church located across from a park near the station. I sat in a pew next to a German officer and one of my evaders on my left. Unfortunately, he was shaking so badly that I was very afraid. After Mass we went to a park and had something to eat, then caught our train to Toulouse.”

At 7 pm, on December 20, 1943, Geneviève arrived at the Perpignan train station with five airmen and the sick Belgian. She transferred her evaders and money for the guides to Jean Olibo. Olibo led the evaders through Perpignan to St. Martin’s Cemetery to arrive before curfew’s start. At 8 pm, they met English Capt. George Millar, Serge Avons, Pierre Cartelet, and Joseph Marsal. Marsal was the person who hired and paid the Spanish guides. Marsal, Olibo, and Cartelet were members of the Burgundy Line. George Millar had been captured in North Africa and escaped a POW train on the way to Germany and managed to work his way to the Haute-Savoie. Avons came to Perpignan from the Haute-Savoie with Millar and wanted to escape France to join the war effort as a pilot.

Marsal led all the evaders to a place outside of Perpignan called the “Al Peu de las Couloubres” which is Catalan for the “Well of the Grass-Snakes”, a small stream that flows southeast into the countryside where the Spanish guides were hiding in a reed thicket. The guides were smugglers and did not come into town because they were wanted men in both France and Spain. They came out of the reeds on signal, Marsal passed the money to the guides and off they went towards the Pyrénées. The guide for the first attempt to cross the Pyrénées was named Pedro.

Pedro took a short cut to the Pyrénées; straight from southeastern edge of Perpignan city to the Gorges de Lavall in the Pyrénées. The normal route would have allowed them to cross the Tech River near its mouth, where the river widens and is shallow and slower, an important feature during the heavy rainy winter of 1943. Pedro’s more direct route to the mountains ended up trying to cross the swollen Tech River further upstream. Crossing here at 2 am in the winter of 1943 proved disastrous. Pedro and Avons were almost swept away, the Belgian lost his coat, and Roswell Miller lost his pants. At sunrise Pedro decided to take them 2 km upstream. In the evening of December 21 Pedro told the evaders that he would fetch a rope to aid in crossing the river.

After another cold night the evaders waited all day on December 22 for Pedro to return. They were short of food and clean water. Pedro never returned and was later reported to have drowned or been shot by the Germans. However, this was an alibi disseminated by Pedro because he was seen a month later in Spain by Avons. Avons was on the first two attempts to cross the Pyrénées with Schroeder but gave up and went back to his home in Haute-Savoie. He returned to Perpignan with John Carah’s group of US and British airmen to cross the Pyrénées on January 29, 1944. We think Pedro spread the rumor of his demise to cover his abandonment of Norman’s group of evaders so that the Resistance would not execute him for not delivering on his contract. Pedro may have been worried about getting killed while leading these evaders because the sick Belgian’s loud cough could have easily given their position away to the Germans and resulted in all of them being shot for being in “no man’s land.”

Page Seven

That evening the abandoned evaders returned to Perpignan. On the way back, George told the Belgian, Alberic Volkaert, that he could no longer go with the group because he was a danger to them. He had money and could speak French so George had little sympathy for his predicament. Volkaert had a 500,000 Belgian franc price on his head for killing a German officer, but he did eventually cross the Pyrénées with Pete Hoyt.

In the early morning, December 23, they returned to Perpignan and went to see Cartelet at l’Hotel du Centre. Cartelet was leader of the local chapter of the Compagnons de France, a Vichy youth organization. The Compagnons de France served as a useful front for his work as leader of the local Resistance. Cartelet told them to go to a certain café and then at 8 am to go to the Compagnons de France building, known as the Palais Consulaire today. In 1943 the café was next to the bus station where farmers arrived from the country to sell their goods at the market, and they were often dirty and muddy from being in the fields. The group of evaders fit in well as they were quite muddy from crossing so many rain-soaked fields and vineyards on their way back to the city. They also used this café after the second failed attempt to cross the Pyrénées.

The Palais Consulaire was the first hiding place in Perpignan for the evaders. Suzanne Dedieu, a teacher at the College of Perpignan, was going on Christmas break, so she brought some Christmas food for the evaders. She was active in the Resistance and would hide John Carah and other evaders in her house a few weeks later. Norman and the other evaders stayed at the Palais Consulaire only one night before they were split up and sent to safe houses. Schroeder and several others went to the house of M. and Mme. Plantier for three nights including Christmas.

In the evening of December 27, the evaders left for their second attempt to cross the Pyrénées. This trip was also a fiasco as both Norman and George described and they returned to the café and then the Palais Consulaire in the morning of December 28. This attempt was where Norman noticed the guides were taking them north instead of south; George agreed. After hours of wandering around George threatened to kill the guides but let them leave. There were several new people on this attempt; one of them was an infiltrator. George became suspicious of him and made sure that he did not follow the true evaders to the Palais Consulaire. Cartelet supplied the evaders with bread, sausage and wine. On December 29 the evaders returned to their safe houses.

Cartelet had worked hard for the Resistance and eventually paid with his life. Because the Gestapo were on his trail, he had to leave Perpignan on March 2, 1944. He went to Toulouse and was arrested on May 11, 1944, imprisoned, tortured, then executed on June 27, 1944, north of Toulouse near the village of Castelmaurou with 14 other prisoners. His body was identified by DNA analysis in 2014.

Page Eight

From December 29 to January 3, 1944, Schroeder was at the Plantier’s. He was ill from being cold, wet, drinking Tech River water, and hungry over the last nine days. But Madame Plantier’s skill with teas and herbs fortified him for the third attempt. On the evening of January 3rd the airmen were gathered and led again by Marsal to meet two guides hiding in the reeds outside of Perpignan. The lead guide was quite old and short, had a high-pitched voice, and a favorite walking stick. We think he was Joseph Ferrusola, the guide used by John Carah a month after Norman crossed the Pyrénées. The similarity of Carah’s route to Schroeder’s would suggest a common guide. But a key point is that both groups stopped at the town of Rabos after crossing into Spain because Ferrusola had relatives in this town. Ferrusola followed the appropriate route to the mouth of the shallower Tech River, then southwest toward the Gorges de Lavall, and up the steep north face of the Pyrénées. At 8 am on January 4th they stopped near a shepherd’s cabin to sleep under bushes and fill their water bottles. The guide only allowed travel at night to avoid detection.

At 6 pm Ferrusola got the evaders moving again. He took them on goat trails and sometimes bushwhacked on steep mountain sides to avoid observation by Germans that patrolled the high ridges. They headed west over a ridge and dropped into the Gorges de Lavall. They stayed below the ridge line on the east side of the Gorge with the Massane River below them and followed it towards the border. It began to snow. Roswell Miller, Howell, and Mulholland started to lag. George noted that Schroeder seemed to thrive on the challenge. Heavier snow forced them to take refuge in a small shepherd’s cave. After a brief rest, George and Norman carried the packs of the other airmen and periodically helped them walk. Thirty minutes from the summit Mulholland collapsed. No amount of coaxing from Norman and George stimulated him to continue. Beatings from the guide were also fruitless. Mulholland completely gave up and begged to be left. George and Norman covered him with leaves and left him some food. The rest of them then continued up the last ridge and then crossed the treeless, windswept, mountaintop plateau into Spain, thrilled to see the lights of Spain. Roswell Miller, who spent 11 weeks with Mulholland in a cramped room in Paris, actually went back to help him. He never found him in the mountains but both ended up in the same jail in Spain.

In Spain the guides took Norman, Otto, William, and George towards Rabos, where they stayed in a cowshed. Ferrusola’s son sent a message to the British Consulate notifying them that they had “packages to pick up.” The guides took them further south to a farmhouse where Ferrusola tapped a code on a window to signal that the evaders had arrived. A Spanish man from the British Consulate was there to get each name, rank, regiment, etc. The old guide said goodbye and left for home. The evaders were fed and spent the night. They were served mutton stew for lunch. “Splendid” was how George described it. Schroeder never ate lamb again!

In the morning a new guide arrived and took them two miles south to a wooded area next to the train track. Each evader was given a train ticket to ride from Figueres to Girona, but for security reasons they needed to hop the train near a country train station just before the Figueres stop. That way the evaders avoided waiting in the heavily-guarded Figueres train station. The train did not stop at this station, it merely slowed enough to hop onto the last car. They had to do this without anyone seeing them. The guide went to the front of the Pullman car and had instructed the airmen to sit apart from each other near the rear of the car and to discreetly pay attention to him. “In two hours, as we slow to stop at Girona, I will walk to the back platform of the car, follow me, and jump off the right side of the train.” The Spanish controlled this station and would arrest evading airmen and send them to Miranda, a terrible POW camp in Spain that was noted for its diseases.

Later in the evening in Girona, the guide took the evaders to a freight train switching yard and when the correct train chugged out spewing smoke and steam they hopped aboard and rode on the small brake platforms at the rear of the cars. The evaders were warned by the guide to pay attention to him because they would be jumping off the train after the fifth stop near Hostalric, Spain. After this, they walked along the railroad tracks going east for three hours and arrived in the wee hours of the morning at a fancy villa near Tordera. Norman described it as “fair little cottage” where they had delicious meals, a good place to sleep, and a change of clothes. The next day, the husband of the couple who owned the villa took Norman, Otto, and William to a country train station (Tordera) and put them on separate trains to Barcelona. George was sick and stayed at the villa. The date was January 9th, 1944.

Page Nine

Norman arrived at the then above-ground Passeig de Gràcia train station, which is across the street from Antonio Gaudi’s Casa Batlló. He then walked southeast on Passeig de Gràcia to Plaza Catalunya, turned left onto Ronda de Sant Pere, then right onto Plaza d’ Urquinaona. In front of him, at the intersection of Carrer Trafalgar and Carrer de les Jonqueres, was a lamp store. In 1944 the British Consulate was two stories above the store. The lamp store is still there. After his interrogation he was cleared to go to Gibraltar and fly back to London, then returned to the USA via Africa and South America and arrived at his home in Egg Harbor, NJ, for his 21st birthday on February 26 1944.

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Indexes from Mission 13: A Downed Pilot’s Escape from France

Aircraft (indexed on this website here)

  • “Battlin Bobbie” – 1
  • Lysander – 3, 4,

Airmen ( names A to L indexed on this website here and M to Z here)

  • Bruzewski, T/Sgt Otto – 5, 8
  • Carah, John – 6, 7, 8
  • Cook, 2nd Lt. William – 1
  • Dulberg, S/Sgt – 1
  • Eldridge, T/Sgt Russell – 1
  • Glickman, 2nd Lt. Louis – 1
  • Hooper, Flt. Lt. Robin – 4
  • Howell, S/Sgt William C. – 5, 8
  • Hoyt, Capt. Elton “Pete” – 1
  • Matthews, Sgt. Victor – 3
  • Millar, Capt. George – 6, 7, 8
  • Miller, T/Sgt Bill – 1
  • Miller, Rosswell – 5, 8
  • Minor, S/Sgt Harry – 1
  • Mulholland, Eugene – 5, 8
  • Schroeder, 1st Lt. Norman (alias “Jean Bezaud” pg. 4) – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
  • Shaffer, Sgt Edward – 1
  • Thomas, T/Sgt John – 1
  • Vanier, Lt. Robert (“Vincent”) – 2, 3, 4
  • Volkaert, Alberic – 7

Escape Lines, Resistance Groups  (indexed on this website here)

  • Burgundy Line – 5, 6
  • Compagnons de France – 7
  • Dahlia – 3
  • Lower Vienne Dept. Resistance Group – 2
  • MI-9 – 3, 4
  • Shelburne Line – 4, 5
  • St. Savin Resistance – 2

Germans (indexed on this website here)

  • Beitz, Helmut (German pilot) – 1
  • Germans – 1, 2, 3, 6, 8
  • Germany – 3, 6
  • Gestapo – 4, 5, 7

Helpers (indexed on this website here) (The names of Lucien Dumas and Raymond Labrosse are indexed under Canada.  The others are under France.)

  • Andrault, M. – 5
  • “Anne Marie” – 5
  • Avons, Serge – 6
  • Bourgeon, Francis – 1,
  • Bourgeon, Jean-Claude – 1
  • Cartelet, Pierre – 6, 7
  • Crosson Le Berre, Genevieve – 5, 6
  • Dahlia – 3
  • Dedieu, Suzanne – 7
  • Dumais, Lucien – 2, 4, 5
  • Ferrusola, Joseph – 8
  • Gaschard, Raoul – 2, 5
  • Gaudi, Antonio – 9
  • Guibert, Marcel – 3
  • Labrosse, Raymond – 4
  • Lajon, Robert – 4
  • Lancaster, Mlle. – 2, 3
  • Lefevre, Andre and Pauline – 5
  • Le Henaff, Yves – 3, 4, 5
  • Marsal, Joseph – 6, 8
  • Martin, Capt. Pierre – 2
  • Massiot family – 1
  • Neveu – 3
  • Olibo, Jean – 6
  • Pavan, Paulette – 5
  • Pedro – 6
  • Perriquiaux – 3
  • Plantier, M. and Mme. – 7, 8
  • Soulie, Genevieve – 5,
  • Tiffineau, Roger and Marie – 4
  • Vergnaud, Mr. and Mrs. Auguste – 2
  • “Vincent” (Lt. Robert Vanier) – 2, 3, 4

Miscellaneous (indexed on this website here)

  • BBC – 3, 4

Place Names (reproduced in the page for place names  on this website)

  • Africa – 9
  • “Al Peu de las Couloubres” (“Well of the Grass-Snakes”) – 6
  • Arboretum – 5
  • Barcelona – 8
  • Brest – 5
  • British Consulate – 8, 9
  • Brittany – 1, 3, 4, 5
  • Café/Restaurant Jacqueline – 4
  • Carrer de les Jonqueres – 9
  • Carrer Trafalgar – 9
  • Casa Batllo – 9
  • Castelmaurou – 7
  • Chateau de l’Epine – 4, 5
  • Chauny, France 4
  • Clain River – 1
  • “Coconut” (airfield) – 3, 4
  • College of Perpignan – 7
  • Conspiration House – 4
  • Dachau – 4
  • Egg Harbor, N.J. – 9
  • England – 1, 3, 4,
  • Farmers’ Market – 5
  • Figueres – 8
  • France – 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9
  • Gare d’Austerlitz – 5
  • Gibraltar – 9
  • Girona – 8
  • Gorges de la Lavall – 6, 8
  • Haims – 3
  • Haute-Savoie – 6
  • Hostalric, Spain – 8
  • Hotel de la Garre – 2
  • Jardin des Plantes – 5
  • Juvisy – 5
  • Juvisysur-Orge – 5
  • Kimbolton Field, England – 1, 2
  • Le Vigeant – 3
  • L’Hotel du Centre – 7
  • L’Isle-Jourdain – 3
  • Limoges – 1
  • Loire River – 1
  • London – 2, 9
  • Lussac-les-Chateaux – 2, 3, 5
  • Massane River – 8,
  • Meilleroux Pharmacy – 5
  • Messac, France – 1
  • Miranda – 8
  • Montauban – 5, 6
  • Mortmorillon – 2, 3
  • Nantes, France – 1, 2
  • North Africa – 6
  • Palais Consulaire – 7
  • Paris – 5, 8
  • Passeig de Gracia train station –
  • Perpignan – 5, 6, 7, 8
  • Place de Republique – 5
  • Plaza Catalunya – 9
  • Plaza d’Urquinaona – 9
  • Poitier – 1, 5
  • Pullman – 8
  • Pyrenees – 5, 6, 7, 8
  • Rabos – 8
  • Rennes, France – 1
  • Rondo de Sant Pere – 9
  • Rue de la Pierre Levee – 2
  • Rue du Pont Neuf (bridge) – 1
  • South Africa – 9
  • Spain – 1, 4, 6, 8
  • St Martin’s Cemetery – 6
  • St Savin – 4, 5
  • Tech River – 6
  • Thouars – 1
  • Tordera – 8
  • Toulouse – 5, 6, 7
  • USA – 9
  • Verades – 1