This article is based on Chapters IX and X of Roger Huguen's 1976 book ‘Par les nuits les plus longues'. I have translated and simplified the text to make it easier for the casual reader to follow the storyline - serious students should of course refer back to the original. Huguen includes detail from various contributors (Louis Nouveau, Henri Loch, Geneviève de Poulpiquet etc. and some of the evaders) and I have added a few notes on the airmen and their aircraft. The spelling of some of the French names and places varies with the source - I have used Huguen's spelling but with most of the accents removed to make electronic searching easier. The spelling of evaders' names is taken from official records. I have also retained a few French words (responsable for instance) as I haven't found a better English equivalent.
Evasion in Brittany – Louis Nouveau and the Pat Line connection
This page updated 06 Aug 2013
In October 1941, the Pat Line decided to extend their activities in the Occupied Zone into north-western France, and to establish a base in Paris. Jean de la Olla was the ‘responsable' for the ZO and he co-ordinated the convoys back into the ZNO. In November, Louis Nouveau (known in Brittany as St Jean) and Alex Wattebled (aka Jacques l'ami d'Achilles) went to Paris to see Jean de la Olla. They also met up with Norbert Fillerin, a wealthy farmer with his own organisation in Renty (Pas-de-Calais) who introduced them to Paulette Gouber. The young girl lived alone in a large apartment at 4 rue Yvon Villarceau that friends had entrusted to her before fleeing to the free zone, and she agreed to let Louis Nouveau stay there.
After a fruitless trip to Rouen, Nouveau decided to go to Brittany and spend some time there trying to build up a network, with responsables in each village. After several weeks, during which he went to Rostrenen (central Brittany), which had possibilities, and finally the Manoir de Kerjegu (near Ile Grande) and his hosts M and Mme Quoniam de Schompré, he returned to Paris, still with nothing firmly established.
At the beginning of January 1943, Roger Leneveu, also known as Roger le Legionnaire, called at Paulette Gouber's apartment. Louis Nouveau questioned her about the unexpected visitor who she said she knew well. Leneveu came to her with the idea that he would make an ideal recruit for the escape line with his experience in the Foreign Legion and the fact that he was supposedly promised in marriage to the sister of Barlier, companion of d'Estienne d'Orves, himself then imprisoned for acts of resistance. However, before making a decision, Nouveau wanted the opinions of Jean de la Olla and Norbert Fillerin. All four met in a small cafe opposite the National Library and Nouveau was introduced to Roger. Roger agreed to work as a convoyeur between Paris and Toulouse and he would receive wages that he would fix at no more than his travelling expenses. According to Nouveau, he seemed to understand the position perfectly, did not seem to be very enthusiastic but agreed to do the work readily enough. After an exchange of views, during which Norbert Fillerin noticed a certain reserve, Nouveau agreed to engage Roger. This decision was going to have the gravest consequences for the existence of several networks, especially those dedicated to the escape of the airmen, because the German agent had timed his penetration of the organisation well.
Nouveau noted later, not without some bitterness, how difficult it was at that time to get help from the middle-class people he knew before the war – I couldn't find anyone and so I took on an unknown …
There seem to be two ways of Roger's surname : Le Neveu or (more usually, in French at least) Leneveu - Huguen has opted for the former but I prefer the latter
Roger Leneveu, Paulette Gouber, Honoré d'Estienne d'Orves, Maurice and Suzanne Barlier had all been involved in Nemrod, an early French intelligence network in the Nantes area, until January 1941 when the group were betrayed by one of their own members, Alfred Gaessler. Roger was subsequently recruited by the Gestapo (thank you MMLB)
In January 1943, Louis Nouveau made another trip to Brittany. His intention was to establish himself in Pontivy to start organising a Brittany network and, if he found sufficient support, to start spreading out from there. He would stay for up to a month to give the people confidence in him by his example. Nouveau left Alex Wattebled in Rennes with the job of prospecting northern Brittany, roughly Rennes, Fougères and St Malo. He only had four possible contacts, a patriotic young lady that Nouveau had met in Fougères, a hotellier at Perros-Guirec, M Maraudon, and M and Mme Quoniam de Schompré at Rostrenen that Nouveau had met the previous November.
Nouveau was particularly interested in a "très sûr" man, Pierre Ropert, owner of a big drapery store at Place de Martray in Pontivy. "He was a very curious man - about forty-five years old with solid, russet-red hair and an extremely happy temperament" despite being badly wounded in the 1914-1918 war. He had a mutilated right hand with a metal stub, "To eat, he screwed a knife into the apparatus which covered the stub, which made his right hand a somewhat worrying instrument. The remainder of time, it had a small hook which he used with great skill. He also had some shell splinters in his head. He was a patriot". When the Germans had arrived in June 1940, M Ropert had built up a reserve of petrol. One day he gave some to a monk from Pontivy, who was going to Belgium. In 1942 this same monk and another, needed hospitality and M and Mme Ropert readily gave it, and when two more monks arrived, they helped them too, although they were obviously not monks at all. They felt they could express their anti-nazi sympathies safely to M Ropert and it was one of these false monks who gave his name to Norbert Fillerin.
Because the hotels were not secure, M Ropert suggested that Nouveau slept in a large attic behind his shop, overlooking the courtyard, and to take his meals in the nearby restaurant, which was used mainly by local railwaymen.
Two days after his first contact, probably on 17 January 1943, on the insistent recommendation of Pierre Ropert, Nouveau met police superintendent Henri Loch who lived above a hosiery shop close by at rue du Pont. Loch was a reserve Lieutenant, captured at the Maginot Line on 1 July 1940, he had escaped the same month from a camp in Alsace. The two men quickly came to an understanding and Nouveau told Loch of his plans to rescue downed airmen and asked him to contact other local sympathisers for his new organisation. Nouveau was very confident with these initial contacts, convinced that Henri Loch was "a good recruit" and through him, the network could be sure of the local police, as well as having an important source of information on what was happening in Pontivy and the surrounding area.
A few days later, Henri Loch introduced Nouveau to his neighbour Henri Clement, director of Autocarbone, a cultivated and charming industrialist. Although very reticent at first, he agreed to work with Nouveau after accepting guarantees from Loch and Pierre Ropert regarding the character of the Pat Line envoy. His commitment included M Jegard, a driver at his factory, because, according to Nouveau, Clement had confided in the workmen of his sawmill as well as some of the local wood-cutters. So now, if an aircraft was shot down in the Pontivy area, there were people who would help the organisation to find and hide the crews. Nouveau also knew that M Clement could, if necessary, use his company lorry to transport them. The group were also joined by l'Abbé Martin, who rented a room from M Ropert overlooking the same courtyard as Nouveau's, and André Weinzaepflen the owner of the des Travellers hotel-restaurant.
After an unfruitful voyage to Pont-Aven, Pierre Ropert suggested that Nouveau go to Locminé to meet Maitre Kerrand, "a man the thirty-five to forty years old, very sympathetic". Kerrand listened to Nouveau and finally said that he would go to Pontivy in two or three days time to see Ropert and that if he was satified then he would join them. Nouveau waited to hear from him, but in the meantime, Kerrand arranged with the farmers he knew in Locminé that if an aircraft were shot down in the area, that the airmen should be hidden and Ropert, Clement or Loch contacted at Pontivy as quickly as possible. M Jegard would then bring Clement's truck to collect them. Through Loch and Ropert, Louis Nouveau also got agreement from Pere Gwenael, the cellerier at the Abbaye de Timadeuc in Bréhan-Loudéac, that the Abbaye could be used as a refuge for aviators, secret agents, or any other person needing to escape.
Quite separately, l'Abbé Martin joined the network, and a few days later, l'Abbé Pierre-Marie Foucraud (16 rue Carnot in Pontivy) who in his turn, proposed two of his friends: l'Abbé Ando, a vicar who had been involved in counter-espionage in Belgium during the first war, and M Le Frapper, a gun maker at Place du Martray, opposite Pierre Ropert's shop in Pontivy. l'Abbé Ando, whilst talking with Nouveau and l'Abbé Foucraud, was asked what he could do. That afternoon he took his bicycle and started to recruit people in Saint-Gerand, Saint-Gonnery, Croixanvec, Stival and Sourn who would hide airmen in need.
Nouveau achieved his mission at the same time when, at the end January and beginning of February 1943, the allied bombing of Lorient intensified. Nouveau could sometimes hear the noise of the bombardment from Pontivy. It was known that aircraft hit by the AA fire had come down over western Brittany and that downed crews were wandering the countryside.
Alex Wattebled returned from his rounds in the north of Brittany. He had made many contact, mainly in Saint-Brieuc, Lamballe, Dinan and Dinard. He had even gone to Saint-Malo, crossing the area by bicycle. After staying twenty-four hours with Nouveau, he was sent to Normandy to see what could be done about the northern peninsula.
At the beginning of February, Nouveau went to Rostrenen after Jean Bach (aka Sebastien) had failed to contact M Quoniam de Schompré. Bach told him that there was an Englishman in the area, and suggested he contact M Auffret, a wine merchant in Rostrenen. Auffret, a small red-faced man and father of six children, took them to meet Jean (aka Job) Le Bec, a miller at the Moulin de La Pie in Paule, about thirteen kilometers west of Rostrenen, on the road to Carhaix. Le Bec told them that the two airmen he had been sheltering had left for Carhaix two days earlier. In Carhaix, a jeweller named Auguste Dubrez told Le Bec that Georges Jouanjean has taken them to his brother-in-law Raymond Cougard in Gourin, about thirty kilometers further south. Le Bec and Nouveau went to Gourin where they found Raymond Cougard and several locals discussing how best to help the two flyers. Nouveau was faced with hostility from Raymond Cougard and the others, and especially the airmen, because they suspected Nouveau of being a possible Gestapo agent, particularly as he spoke such perfect English. Nouveau had been told that, on their return to England the evaders were debriefed on their escape so that their experiences could help later evaders and so he spoke directly to the British airman Sgt Robert M Kidd (the other was an American) and started listing some of the airmen who had stayed with him the previous year at Quai Rive Neuve in Marseilles, and the seventh or eighth name got a reaction.
Kidd: Do you know Squadron Leader Barnard ?
Nouveau: He made an excellent forced landing and he stayed at my home. He has a face like a Red Indian and a slight speech impediment.
Kidd: And do you know Squadron Leader Whitney Straight?
Nouveau: The American millionaire who flew with the RAF and escaped from Fort de la Turbie also stayed with me.
Everyone relaxed and wine was offered to the new arrivals. Because the Bretons were new to the escape line business, they had the problem of identity cards. The police chief Loch could provide them with necessary papers. Raymond Cougard agreed to take the two men to Pontivy the following morning in his car. Jouanjean and Nouveau spent the rest of the night discussing a plan for organizing the area and Nouveau asked Jouanjean to take the command of the organization for the whole of Brittany. Nouveau told him about his contacts in Pontivy, gave him two addresses in Paris, and said that for the next visit of Loch and Alex Wattebled (aka Jacques) they would use the password: "Tu as le bonjour de John Peter". Geo Jouanjean shared his own ideas and they discussed the possibilities of repatriation by motorised fishing vessels. This was worth thinking about, but evacuations like those the Pat Line had organised from Canet Plage, using disguised Royal Naval vessels, would be very difficult to achieve, with the tides and ocean coastline so much rougher than the Mediterranean, especially in winter. The coasts also were more closely guarded by the Germans in Brittany than they were by the Vichy police in Languedoc or Provence.
The two airmen were taken to Pontivy next morning, where l'Abbé Martin sheltered them in his room. That evening the group's courier Jean Bach (Sebastien) took them by train to Paris.
Sgt Robert M Kidd (1207) was the only survivor from 75 Sqn Stirling R9248 shot down near Morlaix 23/24 Jan 43. The American was T/Sgt Miles P Jones (#29) from B-17 41-24603 Green Hornet which crashed near Garenne 23 Jan 43. They were taken to Paris in February and then to Toulouse where they joined the Pat Line to be taken (after many adventures) across the Pyrenees.
After passing the two airmen over to Jean de la Olla, Jean Bach (Sebastien) returned to Pontivy. He brought bad news – a few days earlier, Jean de la Olla had passed on an Australian flyer (sent to Paris by Geo Jouanjean before he met Louis Nouveau) to Roger Leneveu but they had been stopped at Tours and the airman (Sgt Colin E Bayliss RAAF) arrested. Louis Nouveau was intrigued by the story but when he heard that Jean had passed on the two airmen from Pontivy, plus two more brought down from the north, to Roger and Jean Weidt (aka Double Metre) he assumed that de la Olla had good reasons for trusting Roger. Sebastien also brought a letter from Pat O'Leary asking Nouveau to take over the Toulouse operation while he went to Gibraltar. Despite wanting to stay in Brittany a little longer to help Geo Jouanjean extend the network, Nouveau returned to Paris on 6 or 8 February. Next day, Roger and Double Metre returned from Toulouse, having delivering the four airmen safely. Because of this success, Nouveau decided it was inappropriate to question Roger himself about the lost airman, and Jean de la Olla seemed satisfied with their story.
W/O Colin E Bayliss RAAF (LIB/294) was the pilot and sole survivor of 103 Sqn Lancaster W4820 which was shot down on 22 December 1942 and crashed near Bar-le-Duc. He gives no indicaton in his report that his capture was anything but bad luck, saying that he was stopped by a German policeman at Blere-la-Croix railway station who guessed his identity while questioning him about black market activities.
With his boss away, Jean Bach stayed at Pontivy where he soon learned that M Foujanet, an accountant at Chateaulin, and Georges Jouanjean, had been in contact with M and Mme de Poulpiquet of Quemeneven who were sheltering five more airmen who needed to be evacuated.
In January 1942 Césaire and Geneviève de Poulpiquet had sheltered Canadian airman Sgt Albert Leslie Wright (895) at their home of Chateau du Tréfry near Quemeneven for two months before he was passed on to the Pat Line. One of the few people the de Poulpiquets had confided in was the local deputy mayor Jean Crouan. When the B-17 SUSFU was shot down near Le Cloître-Pleyben (about three miles south Lannédern) on 23 January 1943, local farmers found some of the crew. The airmen were taken to the nearby farm of M Le Moal where they were looked after and fed, but then came the question of what to do with them. Someone suggested M Balley, an insurance broker in Châteaulin. M Balley then consulted Jean Crouan and he decided he would ask the de Poulpiquet family for their help. The following day Genevieve de Poulpiquet cycled over to M Le Moal's farm. False identity papers were produced (thanks to M Merrien of Camaret) and the three airmen, Val Hannon, Edward Levering and Charles Grice, were taken to Quemeneven by M Le Bihan, a butter merchant, in his car. A few days later, two more members of the same crew, Francis Sulcowski and Wilburg Hummel, found their way to the Hascoet family at their farm of Ty-Glaz, where they stayed for two days before joining their comrades at Tréfry. Mme de Poulpiquet hoped to get them away with help from Doctor Vourc'h (who had also helped Sgt Wright the previous year) but Jean Crouan received a visit from one of his cousins who lived in Châteaulin who told him that he knew that American aviators were hidden at Quemeneven. After first trying to deny it, Crouan finally admitted it was true. The cousin told M Foujanet who passed the news to Georges Jouanjean. On 10 February, Job le Bec drove Geo Jouanjean (in a Citroen borrowed from M Barazer) from Carhaix to meet the five Americans.
On 11 February, Nouveau, in Paris, received a postcard from Jean Bach saying he would arrive on the thirteenth with "some friends". It was confirmation that contact had been established with Brittany.
The next day Nouveau invited everyone to dinner to "reinforce the links with those who worked in North" before they left. He intended to go down to Toulouse with the airmen that Sebastien was to bring the following day, with Double Metre and Mme Suzanne Gerard.
The organisation were going to try out a simple crossing of the demarcation line to Loches (in the old ZNO) courtesy of René Gerard. They were to go to Saint-Pierre-les Corps (Tours) then take a small local train to the third or fourth station (probably St Martin-le-Beau) from where it was just a few hundred meters to cross the line. M Gerard would meet them on the other side with his lorry and drive them to stay the night at his home in Loches. Roger Leneveu had persuaded Mme Gerard to accompany them so she could spend a few days with her parents.
On 13 February, Nouveau, Jean de la Olla, Norbert Fillerin and Roger Leneveu, who had asked to join the group, went to Montparnasse to wait for the train from Brittany. When the crowd got off the train, Nouveau spotted Jean Bach with two men who could be only airmen, and then Georges Jouanjean and three more. The five airmen were entrusted to Jean de la Olla who took them to the group's main lodger, Mme Marcelle Leveque at 29 Avenue d'Orleans. (At other times he also lodged men with his sister-in-law Mme Lassouquère at rue Saint-Ferdinand or with Marie Bédoura or they stayed with de la Olla himself). Jean was in charge and he arranged to meet the following day at the Gare d'Austerlitz to take the eleven o'clock train for Tours-Saint-Pierre-des-Corps. After Jean left with the airmen, the other members of the group Geo, Roger, Louis Nouveau, Jean Weidt (Double Metre) Alex Wattebled and Jean Bach had a drink together. Geo asked Nouveau if he had a revolver he could give him that he could use on any Germans who tried to stop them. Nouveau told him the organisation didn't carry guns as it was too dangerous for the airmen who might then be taken as agents rather than evaders who should be sent to a POW camp.
Nouveau notes that the first question the Gestapo asked him was about this request from Geo. Since only Roger, who was sitting between them at the time, had been able to hear the conversation, this was proof to Nouveau that it was Roger Leneveu who had betrayed them.
At the last minute they realised they had forgotten their tickets but Roger 'miraculously' managed to get some more and they left on time. Two airmen were with Nouveau in one compartment, two others with Double Metre in the corridor and Mme Gerard was with the last American in another compartment. At Saint-Pierre-des-Corps, Double Metre took them to the small local train. They got into the last carriage and as they waited to leave, Nouveau felt a hard object pushed against his back and a voice, with a very light German accent, told him "Les mains en l'air, fous êtes faits!"
"I had a horrible impression of falling, like being in an elevator whose cable breaks" Nouveau wrote. "I put my hands in the air. There was chaos in the coach, the German police officers in civilian clothes, a hand with a revolver went up. I always felt the barrel of the gun against my coat. More in anguish than despair, I saw myself fallen into an irrevocable disaster, that everything was finished."
The French agents and American evaders were held for three weeks at Tours before transfer to Paris on 5 March. On 16 March, the Gestapo began their interrogations by asking for names and details of where they'd come from. Charles Grice says they asked him about a woman they said had helped him but he refused to answer. The officer continued asking about the woman (Genevieve de Poulpiquet) and other helpers he'd met but Grice continued the play dumb. Grice said later that it was hard to be brave but neither he nor any of the other Americans told the Germans anything.
B-17 41-24584 SUSFU was lost on raid to Lorient on 23 January 1943. Two crew escaped to England from Carentec on 5 Feb 1943 on board the French cutter ‘Yvonne' but 2/Lt Charles R Grice, T/Sgt Francis Sulcofski, Sgt Edward T Levering, Sgt Val D Hannen and Sgt Wilburg F Hummel were arrested with Louis Nouveau.
It is not thought that the events of 13 February were related to the arrests which occurred a few weeks later in the area of Quemeneven, Lannedern and Châteaulin. In Finistere, at the other end of the Line, no-one knew that the five airmen had fallen into an ambush and that a main branch of the organisation had been destroyed. They had been reassured by a postcard from Geo Jouanjean in which he told them that the airmen had arrived safely in Paris. Mme de Poulpiquet was organizing a route out for the local French volunteers and among them was the young Yves Vourc'h of Plomodiern, who wanted to join his brothers in England. Yves Vourc'h was preparing to leave with Germain Favennec, a mechanic at Pleyben, and Mme de Poulpiquet was on the point of telling them that everything was ready when Favennec asked if he could go to say goodbye to his mother. Consequently, she modified her plan and, instead of going to Plomodiern in the morning of 27 March, she decided to go in the afternoon instead, which is why Mme de Poulpiquet was absent when the Gestapo went to the Chateau de Tréfry.
Louise Le Page and Mariane Cuzon knew all about their employer's route but when questioned by the Gestapo they simply said she had left on her bicycle and they had no idea where she'd gone. Other police officers took the Compte Césaire De Poulpiquet with them to her sister Mme de Lorgeril at Plounevez-Porzay. Mme de Poulpiquet had only just left but when Mme de Lorgeril was asked whether she had seen the Countess that day, she immediately denied it. Mme de Poulpiquet returned to Plounévez-Porzay that evening, where she was warned about the Gestapo and told she couldn't go back to Tréfry.
Among those arrested that day (27 March) and taken to Quimper were Césaire de Poulpiquet, deputy-maire Jean Crouan, M Balley the insurance broker at Châteaulin, the farmer M Le Moal and his two sons, M Le Bihan the butter merchant, and M Hiascoet.
It is not thought that this group were betrayed by Roger Leneveu because he didn't know who had sheltered the evaders in Brittany, nor had he not spoken to the Americans lodged in Paris chez Leveque. The Germans must have had another source. Who ?
Huguen says there was no link between the arrests of the five SUSFU airmen and the subsequent raids in Brittany but in the NARA de Poulpiquet file there is the suggestion that Francois Moal may have spoken to a norious collaborator named Seharch who then denounced at least the de Poulpiquet family ...
After her sister-in-law saved her from the souricière (mousetrap) at Tréfry, Mme de Poulpiquet went to hide on a farm. She asked one of the farmers to keep her informed about what was happening at the Chateau in her absence. She learned the circumstances of the arrest of her husband and the methodical search (renewed on several occasions) of the house by the Germans. Mme de Poulpiquet had hidden the airmen's uniforms and their escape aids, like the tiny compasses, the saws coated with rubber and maps printed on silk squares but the German police never found them. The Châtelaine de Tréfry went to see M Foujanet, the accountant in Châteaulin and her link to the Carhaix group, where she stayed the night. She asked him if she should give herself up to the Germans or not and he advised her absolutely not - they wouldn't release her husband and would simply have them both. He contacted Geo Jouanjean, Job Le Bec and Henri Loch to have false papers made for her and Le Bec agreed to shelter her at La Pie, where she stayed for fifteen days. From there she was taken to the Quoniam de Schompré home at Rostrenen. But Mme de Poulpiquet needed to know what had happened at Quimper, and if her husband had been shot or not. She wanted to go back to La Pie because the Job Le Bec would certainly know. M de Schompré said he would take his horse and go to the mill but a quarter of an hour later he returned, very agitated saying that he had been stopped by M Pennac the butcher at Rostrenen and met an Intelligence Service agent with a Canadian accent (actually it was a Russian: Vladimir Bouryschkine alias Val (Williams) or Guillaume). De Schompré told him he was looking after someone who needed to hide and whose husband has been arrested. The agent said that if that was Mme de Poulpiquet and if she wished to continue the work, then she should go to Paris. Mme de Poulpiquet knew the address of Paul Campinchi in Paris and so she went there a few days later, around Easter 1943. From that moment, she was attached to the group Labrosse-Val Williams with the mission Oaktree "whose work", Mme de Poulpiquet later said, "primarily consisted in flooding Saint-Quay-Portrieux with allied aviators."
At the beginning of June a German military tribunal was held at Quimper for those arrested at Lannedern-Quemenéven, and death sentences were handed down for Count Cesaire de Poulpiquet, Jean Crouan, M Le Bot, M Le Moal 's eldest son, M Le Bihan and M Hascoet. The sub-prefect of Châteaulin intervened and their sentences were reduced to deportation, along with nine others. The rescue of five airmen was going to be dearly paid. After transfer from the camp at Hinzert to Wittlich prison, where Cesaire de Poulpiquet died on 5 August, they were sent to Breslau and Dachau - M Le Moal, his neighbor M Le Bot, M Balley , Doctor Cozannet, M Hascoet of Ty-Glaz farm, his oldest son, and his wife, who was later released but died in Switzerland little time after. The only ones to return were Mme Le Moal, one of her children and M Hascoet's son, prisoner at Dachau with Jean Crouan. The two men managed to escape from the camp but were then held by the Americans because of a typhus epidemic. When he arrived at Strasbourg, Hascoet's son was found to have typhus and sent to the Val de Grâce hospital - he was the only survivor of his family. Louise Le Page and Mariane Cuzon were sentenced to one year in prison for not denouncing their employer Mme De Poulpiquet and were sent to Ravensbrûck - from where they returned.
The arrest of Louis Nouveau at Tours-Saint-Pierre-des-Corps on 13 February did not stop the work of the organisation in Brittany. That same night, Halifax bomber W7885, returning from a raid to Lorient, crashed in flames at Landeleau. Three crewmen (Thomas, Martin and Turenne) were quickly found nearby. Jean Solu, an electrician at Carhaix, contacted Geo Jouanjean who collected them so that Jean Bach (Sebastien) could take them to Paris. Two other crewmen (Carter and Barry) were found a few days later. They were helped by Guy Lenfant of the B.O.A. and lodged at the Cistercian abbey of Timadeuc, courtesy of Father Gwenael, Dom Dominique Nogues, abbot of the monastery, Reverend Dom Gabriel Blouridier and Brother Pierre. They found three American airmen (Robert Biggs, Claiborne Wilson and Robert Kylius) already there, delivered by the Pontivy group. [On 17 Mar] Geo Jouanjean took all five airmen to the Leveque apartment at 29 Avenue d'Orleans in Paris. While the airmen waited in a nearby café, Geo knocked at the door which was answered by a German – M Leveque and his wife had been betrayed by Roger Le Neveu and the Gestapo had set a souricière (mousetrap) in their apartment. Geo made a run for it, losing his scarf and a glove in his escape. Jouanjean collected the five airmen and took them to a cinema for the rest of the day before catching the train back to Carhaix. They had to be lodged again. Gordon Carter, who spoke perfect French, was entrusted to Geo's older sister where he first met the younger sister Janine who he married after the war. The other airmen were taken to stay with the Manach brothers. Gordon Carter was taken to England from Treboul near Dournanez on board the "Dalc'h Mad" at the beginning of April 1943. Geo Jouanjean learned that something was going on at Douarnenez through M Foujanet whose cousin M Barbé (professor at Quimper) was a colleague of Xavier Trellu who had told him in confidence. Jouanjean took the opportunity to send a message to England telling them that four other airmen were in Carhaix. He also told them that the arrests had decimated the network and it was now urgent to set up a new escape line, independent if possible of the old one.
When the Leveque apartment was raided by five men in plain clothes on 4 March 1943, they arrested Mme Marcelle Leveque and RAF evader Sgt Daniel C Young but Armand Leveque was at work at the time and warned by a neighbour not to return. Their daughter Andrée also escaped arrest and she joined Ray Labrosse and Val Williams at St Quay-Portrieux.
35 Sqn Halifax W7885 was shot down near Carhaix 13/14 Feb 43. F/O J C Thomas RCAF, F/O G H F Carter RCAF (1155) Sgt R Martin (1315) Sgt E R R Turenne RCAF (1314) and Sgt J H Barry RCAF (1299). Thomas evaded to Switzerland. Turenne, Martin and Barry were taken across the Pyrenees in June 1943.
1/Lt Robert Biggs (#41) from B-17 42-5378 Skylark which crashed about 20 kms north-west of Lorient on 6 Mar 1943.
2/Lt Robert E Kylius (#45) & T/Sgt Claiborne W Wilson (#46) from B-17 42-5717 which crashed near Guillac on 16 Feb 1943.
Click here to read about the Oaktree Mission of Val Williams and Ray Labrosse