Evaders Helped by the Chauny Escape Line
This article is based on a set of notes written by Captain Etienne Dromas. It was originally a list of evaders with notes added by Capt Dromas of men who received help and shelter in the Chauny area of northern France controlled by Capt Dromas during WWII.
The original notes were translated from French by Michael Moores LeBlanc for evader Virgil Marco who then edited it and made some additions of his own before sending me a copy. I have added some more background information and modified the text again to make it easier for the reader to appreciate the scale of Capt Dromas' contribution.
I particularly wanted to post the article to remind the reader that not all 'escape lines' ran from a collection area to freedom. In this case, the Chauny Line began in late 1942 as a temporary refuge that then forwarded men to other Lines - notably Comete and Bourgogne, and later Shelburn. After D-Day it evolved to shelter men in the area until allied forces advancing from the Normandy beach-heads could liberate them. Please note that the fates of some the men mentioned is not known by this writer - additional information from readers would be appreciated.
Numbers in brackets following some of the evaders' names refer to their escape reports - either British MI9/IS9 or the American equivalent.
This page updated 19 Feb 2016
102 Squadron Halifax II W7916 was returning from a raid on Frankfurt the night of 2/3 December 1942, when it was shot down by flak from the aerodrome at Crepy, north-west of Laon. Three of the crew were killed in the aircraft and five baled out. One crewman evaded but the four others were captured by Luftwaffe patrols. Later that afternoon however, W/Cdr John Embling (1108) (who had only joined the crew for operational experience) escaped from a train as it was leaving Tergnier for Germany and hid in a nearby goods wagon. He stayed there until the following evening when he began making his way south towards Paris. On 6 December he reached Beaugies-sous-Bois where he was sheltered on a farm for three weeks by Mme Pierre Degruson while she contacted Etienne Dromas at Chauny. Embling left Tergier station (again) with the help of Dromas, Alfred Logeon, Maurice Marchand, and Jean Carbonnet - described by Dromas as their 'chief of repatriation' - on 29 December. Embling reached Marseille on 3 January. It was Jean de la Olla of the Pat line and the traitor Roger le Légionnaire who took Embling to Toulouse prior to his crossing of the Pyrenees. Embling was flown home from Gibraltar 7 March 1943.
The other evader from W7916 was F/O Alfred Haines (1107) who made his way to La Chapelle-en-Serval from where he was driven to Chantilly and put in contact with the Marie-Claire escape line. Haines crossed the Pyrenees in January. He was arrested in Spain and taken to Pamplona but repatriated the following month and flown back to the UK 24 February.
On the night of 14/15 April 1943, 408 Squadron Halifax BB311 was returning from a mission to Stuttgart when it was attacked by a night-fighter. One crewman was killed and six baled out. The aircraft crashed at Montescourt-Lizerolles, south of St Quentin, about 14 kms north of Chauny. Four of the men were captured straight away but P/O Grenville Parkinson and Sgt Ian MacDonald were both helped by the Dromas organisation. MacDonald was found by Leon Dutilleul of Beaumont-en-Beine who passed him on to his neighbours Louis and Germaine Zanni at Beaumont who brought him to Dromas' home at Ugny-le-Gay. He stayed with Dromas three days before returning to M et Mme Zanni and then to stay with Dr Lupanof at nearby Flavy-le-Martel. Parkinson was found by Mme Douge of Frières-Faillouël (all these tiny villages are close to one another and within a few kilometres of Chauny) and Dromas sent him to join MacDonald at Flavy-le-Martel. On 13 May Mlle Henri de Bizien took both men (and Sgt John Fitzgerald - see below) to Paris but they were later arrested there (possibly in the wave of Comete arrests in June) and sent to POW camps in Germany.
Two nights after BB311 was lost, 90 Squadron Stirling BK725 was shot down and crash landed at Commencon, about 5 kms from Chauny. The pilot, F/O F D White was captured but the rest of the crew, all of whom were injured, were quickly found by Dromas' people. Sgt W Edward Phillips (1268) Sgt Andrew Smith (1349) P/O Donald G Ross (1255) Sgt Reginald G Gaisford (1269) Sgt John B Ford (1327) and Sgt W John Fitzgerald (1350) were all brought to Dromas' home by Mme Marcelle Ansart of Commenchon and Adolphe Alavoine of Bethancourt-en-Vaux. Dromas' wife Renée immediately gave them first-aid and next morning Dr Boury of 4 rue de la Paix, Chauny attended to them further. Most serious were Phillips with head injuries and a badly torn ear, Ross with multiple contusions of both legs, and Ford who had sprained both legs and was unable to walk.
Next day Smith was placed with Mme Henocque in Cugny (query). On the day after, Phillips was placed with Mr Magne, a banker at Chauny and operated on by the surgeon Dr Jacques-Paul Fourres, also of Chauny. That same day (19 April) Smith was moved to stay with Alfred Logeon in Chauny where he joined the seventh member of the crew, F/O Stanley Everiss (1271).
Everiss had been knocked unconscious in the crash and only awoken after several hours. M LeCure and M Qu'en of Bethancourt had helped and hidden Everiss, and alerted Dromas. Marcelle Ansart of Commonchon loaned them her wheelbarrow to transport him and Everiss was picked up by Francois Renaud and Dromas and brought back to Chauny.
Ross and Gaisford (and presumably Ford) stayed with Dromas throughout while Fitzgerald was placed with Mme Zanni at Beaumont for two weeks before returning to Dromas house.
On 13 May John Fitzgerald left Chauny for Paris with Mlle Henri de Bizien, and four days later she took the rest of the crew, plus Lt Neil MacKinnon (see below) there. Smith, Ford, Fitzgerald and Everiss all returned to the UK - Smith and Fitzgerald with Bourgogne and Ford and Everiss (probably) via the John Carter organisation in Lyon.
Also on 13 May, Lt Bjorn Raeder (1353) parachuted from his stricken 347 Sqn Spitfire during a Ramrod (fighter escort) mission of USAAF B-17 bombers to the Amiens/Meulte area. His aircraft crashed near Meaulte (Somme) and he was found by M LeBlanc of Vermand. Raeder was brought to Chauny on 8 June and placed with M Desprez, adjutant-chef of the Gendarmerie. Four days later he was taken to Paris by Mlle Henri de Bizien and passed on to the Belgian Comete line who took him across the Pyrenees the following month.
On the night of 14/15 April, 420 Sqn Wellington HE550 was shot down returning from a raid on Stuttgart. Two crew were killed but three baled out. S/Ldr F V Taylor (1787) and F/O Gordon Crowther (1230) evaded successfully - the latter via Comete, getting back to the UK in June whilst Taylor didn't get home until February 1944. The third man, Sgt H Neil McKinnon was picked up by Marcel Nicolas of Quessy on 18 April. Mlle Henri de Bizien took him to Paris on 17 May with the six crewmen from BK725 but he was later arrested and sent to Germany.
On the night of 9/10 July, 9 Sqn Lancaster ED480 was on the way to Gelsenkirchen when it was hit by flak and abandoned to crash near Cambrai. Two crewmen were taken POW and Sgt David McMillan (1457) was briefly captured but escaped that same morning. Sgt John Duncan (1388) was brought to Chauny by Jean Bruxelles of Flavy and Alfred Logeon. He was placed with M Magne of Chauny and attended to by Dr Boury. Sgt Gerard Bartley (1386) was found by M Andre Choin of the SNCF at Tergier. He was placed with René Felix, a butcher at 26 rue du Brouage in Chauny. Sgt Sidney Hughes (1387) was brought by M LeBlanc and also placed with M Felix.
All three men were taken to Paris on 21 July by 'Georges' who had replaced Mlle Henri de Bizien who was by then being hunted by the Gestapo. All three were taken across the Pyrenees by Bourgogne at the of July and back in England by early September.
Mlle Marie Henri de Bizien was taken across the Pyrenees by Comete in a mixed party of four allied evaders and two other civilians in July 1943.
P/O James McDonald was the wireless operator of 78 Sqn Halifax JD108 which was shot down over Belgium the night of 13/14 July. Three crew were killed and one taken POW but he, Sgt Denis W G Cowell (1553) Sgt L G Donaldson (1390) and Sgt R Falcus (1554) baled out and evaded - Donaldson with Comete. P/O McDonald was helped in Belgium until the end of August when he was brought to Chauny and placed with René Felix. On 11 September, McDonald was taken to Paris where he was sheltered for another two weeks until he left by train for Rivesaltes. McDonald was captured on 30 September trying to cross the border into Spain.
On 6 September the 546/BS B-17 42-3455 Lucky Thirteen was shot down near Beauvais (Oise). 1/Lt Russell Faulkiner (#172) 2/Lt Harry Hawes (#211) and T/Sgt Oscar K Hamblin (#210) were sheltered in Clermont by Gaston Legrand and Odette Sauvage until 10 September when they were taken to stay with Marcel Gerardot in Creil. On 15 September, they were taken to Chauny where Faulkiner and Hawes were placed with Alfred Logeon while Hamblin stayed with Etienne Dromas at the mairie in Ugny-le-Gay. On 29 September 'Georges' took them and S/Sgt Willard McLain (#270) to Paris ..
S/Sgt Willard D McLain (#270) was the ball-turret gunner of 547/BS B-17 42-5843 Black Ghost which was shot down 6 September near Beauvais. McLain was sheltered in Clermont by Gaston Legrand and Odette Sauvage until 13 September when he was taken to Creil where he rejoined the three evaders from Lucky Thirteen (see above). McLain and Oscar Hamblin (#210) stayed at the mairie in Ugny-le-Gay until 29 September when they left for Paris with the other two Lucky Thirteen crewmen and 'Georges'. All four airmen got back with Bourgogne, as did two other crewmen from the Black Ghost, 2/Lt Merle Johnson (#220) and T/Sgt Asbury L Perkins (#221). A fourth Black Ghost crewman, 2/Lt Ralph K Pulcipher (#168) evaded alone and crossed to Spain 16 September from Perpignan.
F/O James E Mortimer (2275) was shot down over the Somme 3 October during a Ramrod bomber escort mission in his 485 Sqn Spitfire MH490. He was found near St Quentin and placed with M Trouve, a butcher at Viry Noureuil (two tiny hamlets close to Chauny) from 3 to 10 April and then moved to the home of Henri Magniant at Coucy-le-Chateau until 6 June. On D-Day he was moved to the farm of Fernand Gregoire at Commencon until 15 June when he moved back to stay with M Trouve until liberation on 2 September 1944.
2/Lt Karl D Miller (#446) and 2/Lt Jack O Horton were crewmen on 338/BS B-17 42-3430 Carolina Boomerang shot down 14 October in the forest of Samsoussy (Aisne). Miller was picked up by Mme Suzanne Verchere of La Bovette a few days later. On 25 October M Desprey (query) brought him to Dromas' home at Ugny-le-Gay on his motorcycle. Three days later he was placed with M Chede at Frières Faillouël. Horton was found at Crepy-en-Valois and brought to Chauny by 'Jo' (Georges Kahn) the chief of the BOA (Bureau d'Operations Aeriennes) for Oise. Horton was also placed with M Chede. Both Americans left for Paris on 9 November where they were passed on to Camile Nicolas. They were later in a group of evaders taken across the Pyrenees to Andorra in January but after two days of walking, Horton was unable to continue and he was left in France, where he was captured.
2/Lt George E Glatthar (#308) and T/Sgt James E Tracy (#507) were crewmen on 331/BS B-17 42-30457 Jimmy Boy II that crashed near Crepy-en-Valois on 14 October. They were brought from Creil and placed with Jean Bruxelles at Flavy-le-Martel. On 9 November they were taken, with Miller and Horton, to Paris by 'Popol', 'Maurice' and 'Georges'. Glatthar crossed the western Pyrenees in December. Tracy was passed to Camille Nicolas in Paris and he crossed the central Pyrenees with the Dutch-Paris organisation In February 1944.
2/Lt Alden L Faudie (#1566) was a crewman on 333/BS B-17 42-30453 Thunderbird shot down 14 October 1943 whilst on a mission to Schweinfort. He evaded for several months (details not clear but helped by both the Possum and Balfe organisations) until he and 2/Lt John G Harms (see below) were found by M Crusson of Beaugies-sous-Bois on 26 April and placed with Lucien Desmet at Coucy-le-Chateau until 6 June 1944. On D-Day they were moved to stay with Fernand Gregoire where they remained until 27 June when they were moved to the home of M Fouque, also at Commenchon, where they remained until liberation.
S/Sgt John W Lowther (#2335) was a crewman on 358/BS B-17 42-29571 Charlie Horse when she was shot down 29 October 1943 near Guise. Found by a veterinarian in Guise, he was brought to Fargniers by Marcel Nicolas of Quessy, he was placed with Pierre Lubineau at Fargniers until 30 November when he left for Creil, the new centre for repatriation created by 'Jo', chief of the BOA in l'Oise. Lowther was passed on to the John Carter organisation and taken to Switzerland in February 1944.
Three other members of the Charlie Horse crew also evaded - 1/Lt Lauren Douthet (#232) and 2/Lt William Hartigan (#231) and were taken across the Pyrenees by Comete in November 1943 whilst T/Sgt Robert L Ward (#2424) evaded to Switzerland.
On the night of 18/19 November, 77 Sqn Halifax JD247 crashed at Moy-de-l'Aisne (about 11 kms north of Tergnier) on the return leg of a raid on Mannheim. Two crewmen were killed and three taken POW. Sgt John Harvey (1729) was found at the home of the chief of the Mezieres train station (station master - query) by Jean Bruxelles and Dromas. Sgt Norman B Cufley (1728) was found at the home of the local butcher. Both men were placed with Jean Bruxelles at Flavy where they remained until 30 November when they left for Creil with John Lowther (see above). Cuffley and Harvey were also helped by the John Carter organisation in Paris but then passed on to reseau Francois-Shelburn and evacuated on the first Operation Bonaparte
2/Lt Richard Schafer (#499) and S/Sgt Paul F Dicken (#500) were crewmen of 564/BS B-24 Liberator 42-63973 shot down 30 December near Ribecourt. Schafer landed near Ribecourt and was picked up by a truck driven by M Declet, a mechanic from Chauny, who took him to M Lallieu. He was soon moved the stay with M Magne, the banker at Chauny. After Doctors Fourres and Boury had attended to his broken leg, Schafer was moved to the home of Mme Gossart where he stayed from 29 January to 14 February when he was taken to Creil by Alfred Logeon. On 4 February Dicken was brought from Laon by Bob Pique 'of the SR' (Lionel Scott - see below - says Bob was introduced to him as a French secret service agent) and placed with René Felix in Chauny until 14 February when he was also taken to Creil and the 'repatriation organisation'. 2/Lt Schafer and Sgt Dicken were evacuated from France by the Shelburn line the night of 19/20 March on Operation Bonaparte 4.
T/Sgt Elmer D Risch (#498) was also shot down 30 December. He was crewman of 66/BS B-24 42-7548 Bull O' The Woods brought down at Pont St Mard. Found by Dr Matry of Folembray he was placed with Dr Boury and his daughter Jacqueline from 1 to 3 January and then moved to the home of Obled Bergers. His badly injured foot was operated on by Doctors Fourey and Boury before he joined Schafer and Dicken on the trip to Creil. T/Sgt Risch was also evacuated on Operation Bonaparte 4.
On the night of 20/21 January 1944, 76 Squadron Halifax LL116 was abandoned over Lievin as a result of flak received over Berlin and again on the return leg. One crewman was killed and three taken POW. P/O George G A Whitehead (1895) was found near Ham by Dr Auguste Puchet and placed with Edouard Ponchon. A few days later he was moved to the home of M Doucet at Viry-Moureuil where he stayed with Philip Warner (see below) until 15 March when Jean Carbonnet took them to Noyon station to get the Paris train. His destination was St Mandé and the Bourgogne escape line - Whitehead was returned to the UK at the beginning of May.
WO2 J McTrach (2/420/1072) Sgt J M Fisher (MB/1320) and Sgt Bernard Compton (2/421/1073) from LL116 are also said to have evaded but I have no further details.
2/Lt John G Harms (#1570) was crewman of 568/BS B-17 42-3427 Canadian Club, shot down at Bray (Somme) 21 January 1944. He and 2/Lt Alden Faudie (see above) were found by M Crusson of Beaugies-sous-Bois on 26 April and both men placed at the home of Lucien Desmet at Coucy-le-Cateau until 6 June. On D-Day they were moved to stay with M Gregoire at Commencon until 27 June when Harms was moved again to stay with neighbour M Francis where he remained until liberation.
1/Lt Francis Hennessy (#496) and 2/Lt Clyde C Richardson (#497) were crewmen of 562/BS B-17 42-3285 which crashed at Cambrai 29 January 1944. Hennessy was found by M Lalliac, a farmer from Ognes, on 3 February. Hennessy was placed with Emile Gossart at 23 rue Camille Desmoulins in Chauny until 7 February when he was moved to stay with the elderly Mme Buchelet at 22 rue de Noyen, supported by René Felix and his wife. Richardson was found by the directress of the Entraide Americain (sic) of Blerancourt on 7 February and joined Hennessy at M Gossart's. Alfred Logeon took both men to the 'Jo' repatriation centre at Creil on 14 February along with Schafer, Dicken and Risch. Hennesey and Richardson were evacuated from France with Schafer, Dicken and Risch by the Shelburn line on Operation Bonaparte 4 the night of 19/20 March.
2/Lt Philip B Warner (#667) baled out of 334/BS B-17 42-3545, shot down over Belgium 29 January 1944. Warner was helped almost immediately by a man who gave him food and civilian clothes before Warner made his own way south towards France. After five days, Warner reached Roupy where the mayor, M Touron, sheltered him and gave him new clothes and shoes. Three days later Guy and Marcel Nicholas collected him and took him to Nicholas' house at Quessy. On 7 March Warner was moved to stay with Lucien Doucet where he joined George Whitehead (see above) for a week until Jean Carbonnet took them to Noyon station. Warner and Whitehead were taken over the Pyrenees to Spain later that month by the Bourgogne organisation.
2/Lt Dale W Kinert (#672) was a crewman on the 327/BS B-17 42-40032 shot down near St Quentin on 8 February 1944. Kinert was found by Marcel Nicolas who collected him and on 17 February, placed him with a labourer named Marcel Thierry at Sincerny where he joined Bernard Rawlings (see below).
2/Lt Bernard W Rawlings (#671) was a crewman of 427/BS B-17 42-39786 GI Sheets shot down near Laon on 29 January. On 17 February, Bob Pique (SR) brought him to Marcel Thierry at Sincerny where he was joined by Dale Kinert (see above). On 29 March, they were collected by Alfred Logeon and delivered to the Moet family at 22 rue Sacrot, St Mandé, Paris. Both men were taken over the Pyrenees in April by the Bourgogne organisation.
This connection to the Bourgogne escape line was lost on 28 April 1944 when 22 rue Sacrot was raided and the Moet family (Gerard, Genevieve and their daughter Michele) and guide Jean Carbonnet were arrested - along with RAF evaders F/Sgt David Slack and Sgt Edwin Finlay who had been brought there from Amiens.
S/Sgt Herbert Gebers, T/Sgt Stephen Rodowicz, S/Sgt Elres Dowden (#676) and 1/Lt James P Clarendon (#620) were crewmen of 813/BS B-17 42-3357 Immortal Lady shot down 8 February near Ribecourt. An organisation at Ribecourt sheltered them until 24 February when Gebers, Rodowitz and Dowden were placed with M Debris in Amigny-Rouy for a few days. Clarenden, who was wounded in the hands and had to be treated by Doctors Fourres and Boury, was placed with M Gossart in Chauny. On 15 March he was taken to Paris and passed on to the Bourgogne organisation. Gebers, Rodowitz and Dowden were soon moved to the home of the Mingers brothers where they stayed until 30 March when Alfred Logeon took them to St Mandé. Clarenden and Dowden were taken across the Pyrenees to Spain in March and April respectively with Bourgogne but Gebers and Rodowicz (who were travelling with Dowden) were arrested on the train from Paris.
2/Lt John A Kupsick (#1487) was a crewman of 526/BS B-17 42-39782 Pistol Packin' Momma also shot down 8 February near Ribecourt. On 24 February he was placed with M Gossart in Chauny. On 12 April he was moved to stay with Etienne Dromas in Coucy-le-Chateau. On 30 May he was moved to stay with M Boulanger, the blacksmith in Brosly-Boir. From D-Day until 12 June he stayed with M Roy, a farmer at Ugny-le-Gay, and later with another farmer, M Reynes of Bethancourt-en-Vaux, where he stayed until liberation.
2/Lt Joseph W Wise (#1279) and 2/Lt George F Schmalzcied (#1571) were crewmen on 546/BS B-17 42-40005 Salvage Queen which crashed near St Quentin 11 February. They were found by Dr Boury and placed with M Marle of Dampcourt from 26 February until 15 April when they were moved to stay with Andre Lelu, a farmer from Coucy-le-Chateau. On 26 May they moved to stay with another farmer, M Laiguillettem of Selons until D-Day when they moved to the home of M Roy at Ugny-le-Gay. On 30 June both men were moved to Commenchons, Wise to stay with Mme Mathieu and Schmalzried with M Julien Pelltier - where he stayed until liberation. On 7 July Wise moved to stay with Mme Soniface, also in Commenchons, where he stayed until 10 August when he left for Noyon.
2/Lt Rodney Patterson Roehm was crewman of 335/BS B-17 42-31565 which crashed near Cateau on 4 March. He was found by M Beaurain of La Bovette and placed with M Frerlet at St Goain. Roehm and the Frerlet family were arrested by German police on 9 March.
S/Sgt Floyd Noullet and S/Sgt Charles A Strackbine (#1586) were crewmen of the same 335/BS B-17 as Lt Roehm above. Noullet was found by Marcel Nicholas and placed with M Maschellin at Villier-Aumont. On 20 March he was moved to stay with M Ponchon at Beaumont-en-Beine. On 23 July he was moved to join W/O Charles Pallett (see below) with M Guillaume at Quivry. On 3 August they were moved to stay with Mme Demarc at Villequier-Aumont. They were both captured there on 10 August when Germans surrounded the village. Strackbine was collected from Cateau by Dromas and taken to his home on 10 March. On 12 March he joined Noullet on M Maschellin's farm and moved with him to stay with M Ponchon. On 23 July Strackbine was placed with Roland at Villesseleve where he stayed until liberation.
2/Lt Donald C Aikin (#1474) and S/Sgt Mason H Mooman (#2196) were crewman of the 731/BS B-17 42-39940 Dixie Jane lost 8 February and crashed near St Pierremont. Lt Aikin was placed with M Chede from 3 March to 3 April. He was moved to stay with Adolphe Alavoine at Bethancourt-en-Vaux and then with Robert Ray at Montescourt until he left of his own accord. Sgt Mooman was brought from Bouteille by Marcel Nicholas and also placed with Adolphe Alavoine, where he stayed until liberation.
W/O Neil D Howard (2322) was flying his 1 Sqn Typhoon JP483 on a Ramrod mission when the engine failed and he force-landed near Tergnier the evening of 2 March 1944. On 20 March, Marcel Nicolas brought him back from Amegicourt and sheltered him at his home in Quesy. On 10 April Howard was moved to stay with Jacques Magnient at Coucy-le-Chateau and on D-Day moved to join John Harms (see below) at the farm of M Gregoire of Commencon, where he stayed until liberation.
1/Lt Carl W Larson (#1229) was crewman of 451/BS B-26 Marauder 41-31914 lost on a mission to St Omer 20 March 1944. He was found by Robert Posshir on 29 March and placed with Mme Lefevre of St Simon. On D-Day he was moved to stay with Raymond Coutte of Montescourt until 16 June when he moved to stay with neighbour M Cocker. On 15 August Larson left Montescourt for Paris with Courtlyn Hotchkiss - see below.
Sgt Odis R Pickering (#1280) was crewman of 364/BS B-17 42-40020 which crashed near Compiegne 8 February. He was found on 4 April and placed with M Chede at Frières. On 12 April he was moved to stay with M Briquet at Commenchon until 13 May when he moved to the home of Etieme Davreau in Coucy. On 30 May he was moved stay with M Laiguillette in Selens. On D-Day he was returned to M Briquet where he stayed until 10 August when he left of his own accord for Noyon - presumably with Wise (see above).
F/Sgt Alfred T Powell (2389) was a crewman on 88 Sqn Boston BZ359 which crashed near Ponche on 16 August 1943. On 23 April 1944 Marcel Nicholas brought him from Noy de l'Aisnes and placed him with M Labruyere at Marizelle. On 30 April he was moved to stay with M Desse at Bichancourt and on 24 May to stay with M Longler at Amigny-Roux. On D-Day he was moved to the home of Georges Cadiffet in Ugny-le-Gay and on 12 June was moved once more to stay with Kleber Thuillier at Neuflieux, where he remained until liberation.
F/Sgt Robert P Lindsay (2356) and F/O John Neal (MB/1490) were crewmen of 419 Sqn Halifax HX189 which crashed near Laon the night of 22/23 April. Bob Pique placed them with M Labruyere in Marizelle from 26 to 30 April when they were moved to stay with M Loncle. On D-Day they were moved to stay with M Cadiffet at Ugny-le-Gay until 13 June. Later they were moved to stay with M Reynes at Bethancourt where they remained until liberation.
John Neal wrote to me in 2008 to say that he had written a book called 'The Lucky Pigeon' about his evasion and that he had fond memories of the people who helped him on the Chauny Line, including Etienne Dromas, Josette Ponchaux, Albert Potelle, M et Mme Daubercies, Jean Hallade, Valeyre Reynes, and many others. Tail gunner Victor Knox was killed and two others from HX189 taken POW but pilot F/O C A Thomas USAAF (#765) and Sgt W A Greene (1990) also evaded. See also 'The Evaders' by Lavender & Sheffe.
S/Sgt James R Stuebgen (#1754)S/Sgt Elbert J Ninesling (#1572) S/Sgt Lyndon Lawrence (#1673) and S/Sgt Bernell E Keller (#1753) were crewmen of 703/BS B-24 Liberator 42-110029 which crashed near Laon on 1 April. Stuebgen, Ninebling and Lawrence were brought from Laon by Bob Pique. Stuebgen and Ninebling were placed with M Proment of Chauny until D-Day when they were moved to stay with M Cadiffet in Ugny-le-Gay. On 10 June they were moved to stay with Mme Megret where they remained until liberation. Lawrence stayed with M Blondel at Annois and then on D-Day was moved to stay with Raymond Coutte. On 17 June he was moved to stay with Mme Yve Halloit in Jussy until liberation. Keller was placed with M Chauvin in Coucy-le-Chateau from 20 April to D-Day when he joined Neil Howard and John Harms on M Gregoire's farm at Commencon. On 11 June he was moved to stay with M Terny of Very-Noureuil where he remained until liberation.
2/Lt Courtlyn W Hotchkiss (#1228) was pilot of 83/FS P-47 Thunderbolt 42-8688 shot down 14 March 1944 on a mission to Reims. He was collected by Bob Pique and placed with M Blondel of Annois from 5 May to 6 June. On D-Day he was moved to stay with Raymond Coutte in Ugny-le-Gay. On 16 June he was moved to stay with M Cocher of Montescourt. On 15 August Hotchkiss left for Paris with Carl Larson to try and rejoin the advancing American forces - which they did when the city was liberated.
P/O Lionel Ronald Scott (2311) was wireless operator of 44 Squadron Lancaster ND520 which was attacked by a night fighter and abandoned over France the night of 25/26 February on the outbound leg of a mission to Augsburg. Scott landed near the village of Lor, north of Reims where he had various adventures (see 'Parachuting to Danger' by Lionel Scott) before Bob Pique brought him to Chauny on 4 May and placed him with Dr Boury. He stayed with Dr Boury on and off, sometimes using his radio skills with Bob Pique and the local resistance, until finally joining advancing American forces.
Pilot F/O Ernest W Bartlett (2513) and bomb-aimer F/Sgt B J Hoad (2002) from the same aircraft also evaded - Jack Hoad to Spain where he is recorded at the Hotel Pessets at Sort in June 1944.
S/Sgt Eugene C Snodgrass (#1922) S/Sgt Virgil R Marco (#1921) and S/Sgt William E Bergman (#1724) were crewmen from the 366/BS B-17 42-31816 who baled out of their stricken aircraft before it crash-landed at Leuze near Aubenton on 24 April. All three airmen were placed with Alfred Tavernier in Chauny until D-Day when they were moved to stay with M Masson at Commenchon. On 11 June they returned to the Tavenier family where they stayed until liberation.
Capt Joseph 'Bill' Lincoln (#1919) 2/Lt Milton Goldfeder (#1960) 2/Lt Albert Pagnotta (#1920) and T/Sgt Joseph A Rhodes (#1701) from the same aircraft, and who were still on board when she crashed, also evaded as did navigator 2/Lt Philip Campbell (#1390) who baled out first and landed near Leuze. For more information about the aircraft and fates of her crew see Virgil Marco's website at
Lt (A) Bob Spedding RN and Lt (A) George Staveley RN (2946) and were the crew of 746 FAA Sqn Mosquito DZ680 shot down 22 October 1943. They were on a Mahmoud Intruder sortie when they were attacked by a radar directed RAF night-fighter that was itself brought down by the resulting wreckage. Both men evaded but Spedding was later betrayed by his helpers and captured. On 18 May 1944 George Staveley was brought from St Quentin and placed with M Navlet at Chauny. He stayed there until 3 June when the chief of the BOA requested he be placed with the maquis group at St Alcis.
Another report has Staveley sheltered with F/Sgt Alfred Powell (see above) by a family named Bernard until over-run by the advancing allies. As a POW at Stalag Luft 1 (Barth) Bob Spedding later met the RAF pilot who shot them down - their subsequent conversation is not recorded.
Sgt William H Brose (#1573) was crewman of 67/BS B-24 Liberator 42-94962 shot down 26 May. He was found by Dr Puch of Ham and sheltered by him. On 14 July Brose was moved to stay with M Rota at Beaumont-en-Beine. On 11 August he was moved to the home of M Roland at Villesselve until liberation.
F/Lt Ronald H Samson (3110) F/Sgt Henry Whitmore (MB/1090) and F/Sgt Albert Bryant (MB/1086) were crewmen of 156 Sqn Lancaster NE143 which crashed near Ugny-le-Gay the night of 31 May/1 June during a raid on nearby Tergnier. Three crewmen was killed and one taken POW. Samson, Whitmore and Bryant were saved from the numerous German patrols by M Chede of Frières-Faillouël. Samson was sheltered overnight with M Chede and then moved to Jules Baudry in Jussy with Bryant. On D-Day they were moved to the home of M Coutte and then on 16 June to stay with Hector Labarde at Frières-Faillouël until liberation on 2 September. Whitmore was seriously injured and only saved by Doctors Fourres and Boury. He was then placed with M Navlet in Chauny.
1/Lt Joseph Sullivan (#1520) was the pilot of 364/FS P-51 Mustang 42-106884 which crashed at Assis-sur-Serre 24 May 1944. He was found and sheltered by Mme Suzanne Verchere until 2 July when he was moved to stay with M Berteaux in Neuflieux where he remained until liberation.
F/O William W Drisko (#1273) was the pilot of 487/FS P-51 Mustang 43-6902 Babylon Panther shot down 25 June at Gunym. He was found by M Aubin of Guny and treated by Dr Maury of Folembray. Following further treatment by Doctors Fourres and Boury he was placed with M Lefevre, café owner at Chauny, from 27 June until 10 August when he left of his own accord for Noyon - presumably with Wise and Pickering (see above).
W/O Charles Pallett was crewman of 424 Sqn Halifax LW121 shot down the night of 14/15 June. Four crew were taken POW while F/O D R McCormick (2146) and F/Sgt R C McCubbin (2377) also evaded. Pallett was placed at the Painsee home in Beaumont-en-Baine until 23 July when he was moved to join S/Sgt Floyd Noullet (see above) with M Guillaume at Quivry. On 3 August they were moved to stay with Mme Demarc at Villequier-Aumont. They were both captured there 10 August when Germans surrounded the village.
F/Lt Kenneth Macdonald (2/358/1000) and F/Sgt I W Bestridge (2/359/1004) were crewmen of 90 Sqn Stirling EF294 which crash landed near Rosieres-en-Santerre the night of 2/3 June whilst on an SOE Resistance supply mission. The other five crew members were taken POW. Macdonald and Bestridge were found by Marcel Nicholas of Quessy and placed at the Poirrier home in Marizelles. On 6 August they were moved to stay with M Carillon until liberation.
2/Lt Thomas M Gerbing (#1396) 2/Lt John D McSweeney Jnr (#1397) and T/Sgt Byron Houser (#1574) were crewmen of 578/BS B-24 Liberator 42-50338 shot down 23 June 1944 during a mission to Laon. They were found by Bob Pique who brought them back to Chauny. Following treatment by Doctors Fourres and Boury, they joined Macdonald and Bostridge (see above) with M Carillon at Bacm (sic) from 12 July until liberation.
2/Lt Walter R Heldorfer (#1514) was a crewman from 326/BS B-17 42-97319 which crashed near Peronne 29 April. He was found by Dr Puch at the beginning of July and cared for by him until liberation.
2/Lt Tadeusz Skowronek (#2486) was flying 355/FS P-51 42-106445 when he was shot down on mission to Tergnier 25 August. He was guided to join the maquis by M Chede of Frières-Fallouël.
2/Lt Harry P MacClure (#2404) was flying 355/FS P-51 43-6559 when he was shot down over Tergnier 25 August. He baled out and landed near Ugny-le-Gay. MacClure was found by Adolphe Alavoine of Bethancourt-en-Vaux who sheltered him until liberation.
2/Lt Robert L Dawn (#1713) was flying 349/FS P-38 42-67268 when he was shot down over Tergnier 25 August. He was placed with M Bachelet of Viry-Noureuil until liberation.
2/Lt James C Johnston (#1712) was flying 394/FS P-38 44-23645 when he was also shot down over Tergnier 25 August. He was seriously wounded and treated by Mme Chede of Frières. Later placed with M Gaston Henot of Frières until liberation.
1/Lt Donald E Eberhardt (#1711) was flying 392/FS P-38 44-23631 when he was shot down over Tergnier 25 August and crashed at Beautor. He was placed with M Chaillon of Beautor until liberation.
2/Lt Wilson L Harrell (#2055) was flying 394/FS P-38 44-23576 when he was shot down over Tergnier 25 August. Lt Harrell was seriously injured and treated by Dr Rose of la Fere before joining Donald Eberhardt (see above) with M Chaillon of Beautor until liberation on 2 September 1944.
Added detail of British aircraft obviously come from the excellent 'Bomber Command Losses' series by W R Chorley and from 'Fighter Command Losses' by Norman L R Franks, both published by Midland Publishing. Other information comes from various sources - notably Edouard Renier and Bobbie Ann Mason.