Escapers from the Camp de Chambaran
This article first posted 19 June 2020

On 27 November 1942, nine men were released from the French internment camp at Chambaran: four servicemen, four SOE agents and Pat Line radio operator, Alex Nitelet.

Two of the SOE agents, Richard Heslop and Ernest Wilkinson (captured with Rake on 15 August), made their own way but Dick Cooper (brought from Laghouat, the Vichy French camp in Algeria, and delivered to Chambaran on 17 October) and Denis Rake were helped by the Pat Line, as was (of course) Nitelet; and two of the servicemen, Allen and Foster, travelled to Spain with Rake.

Lt Anthony A Masson (see later) had been discussing various plans to escape with Lt-Cdr Prior, none of which came to fruition, but in November, following the German occupation of southern France, Prior wrote to Colonel Malraison, the local military commander, “and as a result of this letter”, Prior, Masson and “some other internees” were liberated on 27 November.

L/Cmdr Redvers Michael Prior RN (1037), a 49-year-old rubber merchant from East Finchley in London, had served with the Royal Navy from January 1912 untl retiring. He returned to active service in February 1940, and took part in the evacuations from Dunkirk in June 1940. On 19 August 1942, he was in charge of the beach at Pourville during the Dieppe raid, and says that he considered it his duty to stay behind with the rearguard, holding out until their ammunition was exhausted. He and his assistant, Lieutenant Miller, were captured with the South Saskatchewan Regiment, under Colonel Merritt.
The men were marched to the grounds of a hospital in Dieppe, and at about seven o'clock that evening, the wounded (which included Prior) were put on a hospital train, from which Prior escaped in the early hours of the following morning near Forges-les-Eaux.
He walked for the rest of the night and then hid in a barn, where he stayed for the next two days, being supplied with food, civilian clothes and 1,500 francs by the farmer. On the morning of 22 August, Prior took a train to Paris, meeting an elderly lady on the train who worked for a government official, and she sheltered him for three days in her apartment in the east of the city. He then moved to “a place” in Montparnasse for four days, a girl secretary of the government official providing him with an identity card, and making arrangements to travel with him to the unoccupied zone.
On either 1 or 2 September, the unnamed girl took Prior by train to Dax, from where they walked to Sallespisse, on the demarcation line north-east of Orthez. They stayed overnight at a chateau, and next morning, the daughter at the chateau took them through the woods and across the demarcation line. They were soon stopped by a French soldier asking for identity papers, and Prior explained that he was a British officer – both he and the girl being under the impression that British personnel would not be arrested in the southern zone. Prior was sent to Pau, and then to a military barracks at Lyon, and straight on to Fort de la Duchère (on the outskirts of Lyon), where he stayed until 2 October, when he was transferred to Chambaran.
Sgt Wilfred Harold Allen (1128), a motor mechanic from Heywood in Lancashire, had joined the Regular Army in November 1928, and in May 1940, was serving with 19 Army Field Survey Company, Royal Engineers in Paris. On 21 May, he was returning from Boulogne on his motorcycle when he ran into a German patrol near Hesdin, and was captured. He was being taken by motorcycle and sidecar towards Hesdin when the German pillion dropped the parcel he was carrying, and as they stopped, Allen was able to escape, swimming across the river Canche. He found and joined a group of French soldiers that afternoon, staying overnight at a chateau near Desvres, and setting out on motorcycles the following morning, only to run into another German patrol. Allen was able to make his way across the fields to a village near Etaples, where he was sheltered overnight. Next morning, he was woken by Cpl J R Thomas CMP (473) and an RASC driver whose name he doesn't know, and they walked for three days towards Boulogne, being joined along the way by another unnamed CMP lance-corporal. When they reached Saint Martin Choquet, the men separated into pairs, Allen and Thomas going to Frevent and then to Berck Plage but on finding it impossible to find a boat, returned to Frevent, where they were sheltered with an unnamed French family.
Thomas left (he says on 5 August) and Allen moved to be sheltered at Rebreuviette with another family until a French girl took him via Paris, Blois, Selles and Chateauroux to Marseille, arriving there on 23 December. Allen reported to Mr Dean at the US Consulate who told him to report to Fort Saint-Jean, which he did (but without staying there), and in January, the French girl took him by train (he says to Port Bou) but the weather was too bad for them to cross into Spain, and so they returned to Marseille. In February, Allen was sent to Saint Hippolyte, and in July was passed as unfit by the MMB and recommended for repatriation. In March 1942, Allen was with a repatriation party that got as far as Perpignan station before being turned back, and they were returned to Saint Hippolyte.
Allen was transferred to Fort de la Rivère later that month, and following the mass break-out in September, was with the other ORs when they were sent to Chambaran.
Sgt Harry J Foster (1188) (born June 1911), from Bideford in Devon, had been in the Regular Army since December 1929. He was serving with 1 Bn South Lancashire Regiment, and part of a composite unit stationed near Forges-les-Eaux when, on the night of 8-9 June 1940, they were told to withdraw to La Haye, and his experiences during the withdrawal are as described by Lt Fairclough (446), Pte Southers (393) and Pte Jones (1004). They crossed the demarcation line near Manthelon on 2 August, and Foster was later interned at Fort Saint-Jean. His MI9 report says that he escaped from the camp in November, travelling to Perpignan, where he had an address but was arrested at Perpignan station and returned to Marseille. He was transferred to Saint Hippolyte in January, making one escape in May when he and Sgt Wood RAF (query) were caught at the station, and in March 1942, transferred to Fort de la Rivère (where he says that he worked with Sgt Allen on the mass escape), and on 22 September, to Chambaran. (see also Harry Foster Article)
Prior says that a group of them (seven men including Lt Masson) managed to get round one of the guards who allowed them to get over the wire and out of the camp. They made their way to Saint-Marcellin and took a train to Grenoble, where “arrangements were made for us to travel to Spain in a party of Allied personnel”.
In his 1957 book “The Tartan Pimpernel”, Donald Caskie, who first met Prior when visiting Chambaran, says that Prior came to his hotel room that evening, and Caskie took Prior to be sheltered overnight with a Jewish contact that he names as Harris Radowitch. He also asked a Polish colonel named Julius to arrange Prior's onward journey.
Note that although Prior doesn't include any names from this point on, Anthony Masson (1062) says that his journey after leaving Chambaran is as described by Prior.
They (Prior doesn't say who but assume just him and Masson) left Grenoble that night for Perpignan, where they stayed until 2 December, when they took a train to Cerbere . At the station, they passed the German police successfully but the French told them their papers were false and took them under arrest to the Commisariat. It seems the French weren't really trying too hard because Prior and his group were soon able to escape from the office and through a café to the railway goods yard where they where they hid in one of the wagons. Prior says there were five of them in the party , and he believed that a Polish colonel who was also on his way to Spain had a fight with the German police and was killed a few minuted before the train left. Their guide found them on the train, and travelled with them across the border to Port Bou. However, on arrival in Spain, the guide was spotted jumping from the train, and the group in the wagon were arrested.
Prior and Masson were taken to the police station at Port Bou, and then moved to a police station at Figueras for twenty-four hours before being moved to the prison. On about 4 January, they were transferred to Miranda but only stayed a week before being taken to Madrid and on to Gibraltar, arriving there on 16 January. Prior left Gibraltar by air for Portreath on 20 January 1943, and Masson by sea for Gourock on 26 January.
Note that in his 21 January 1943 interview with MI9, Prior says that Alex Nitelet (who he probably last saw in Grenoble on 27 November) had told him that the Germans were aware of the Petit Poucet café in Marseille, the Hotel de Paris in Toulouse and had the name of Louis Nouveau, along with many other members of the organisation, either Nitelet or a friend having seen a book containing this information at a German Kommandatur .
Harry Foster says that he left Chambaran on 27 November with Sgt Allen (1128) and eight officers, guided by Lt-Cdr Prior, and with the connivance of the French authorities. He went to Marseille with Allen, Nitelet and a Frenchman called Nardin, and says that his experiences, including crossing the Spanish border, are the same as Allen's. The name Nardin caused some confusion as Louis Nouveau had been using identity papers in the name of Ludovic Nardin that Germaine Chéron in Rouen had arranged for Raymond Pierdet to make for him.
Foster crossed the frontier into Spain at about eleven o'clock on the morning of 7 December, along with Allen, Nardin and an officer called Captain Greer (this was SOE agent Denis Rake). Allen and Nardin went ahead, with Foster and Greer about half an hour behind them. At about 0300 hrs on 8 December, Greer discovered that he had sprained his ankle, and Foster left him by the roadside while he went on ahead to try and catch up with Allen and Nardin. He failed to catch the other two men and so returned to Greer, and they walked together into Campdevànol , where they were arrested by Guardia Civil . They were held at Girona until 14 December, then sent to Miranda, where Foster stayed until 16 April 1943 – Greer having been taken to Jaraba in January (Rake says at the end of February). Foster left Gibraltar by sea for Gourock on 25 April 1943.
Wilfred Allen says that he was one of the party of eight officers and two ORs, guided by Commander Prior, which got out of the camp on 27 November and went to Grenoble. He travelled to Marseille with F/O Nitelet (sic), Sgt Foster (1188) and a Frenchman called Nardin , where he and Foster were sheltered with Mlle Rosemonde Lebourgeois of 69 rue de la Joliette. He says that Nitelet obtained false identity cards and some money for them before they went by train to Villefranche-de-Conflent, where they took the light mountain railway to Saillagousse. They were met by a guide who took them across the mountains, crossing the Spanish border at 0800 hrs on 7 December, where the guide left them. Nardin could speak some Spanish, and they decided to walk to Barcelona, Allen walking ahead with Nardin while Rake (this is the first time that Rake is mentioned by Allen) and Foster followed. Next morning, Allen and Nardin arrived at Ripoli but Rake and Foster failed to catch up with them, and were presumed caught. Allen and Nardin boarded a train for Barcelona only to be arrested on the train and sent to Vic for questioning, where Allen claimed to be soldier who had escaped from the Germans while Nardin said he was “Sgt Mason, Royal Canadian Field Artillery”, who had escaped from Dieppe.
They were sent to Barcelona, and on 10 December, held at the Carcel Modello, where they were visted by the British Consul, Mr Whiteford. On 23 January, they were sent to Irun, first in “a concentration camp” and then, following the intercession of Mr Goodman, British Consul at San Sebastian, to a hotel. On 16 February, Mr Goodman took Allen to San Sebastian, and later sent him to Madrid, arriving there on 26 February and leaving again next day for Gibraltar. Allen Left Gibraltar by sea for Liverpool on 11 March 1943.
On 28 November 1942, Winwick Hewit and Bob Milton escaped from Chambaran
Lt Winwick Miller Hewit (1063), an insurance inspector from Glasgow who had been in the TA and Supplementary Reserve since May 1936, was serving with 5/2 Searchlight Regiment, Royal Artillery at Frethun near Calais when Germans surrounded the village on (about) 24 May 1940. Hewit and about twenty other men from various units spent the next four days trying to get to Dunkirk but when it became clear they couldn't all travel together, Hewit ordered the men to disperse, taking only Sgt Hargrove (4970381 L/Sgt A E Hargrove, Sherwood Foresters) with him. They made their way to the Pont de Coulogne on the outskirts of Calais where a farmer sheltered them for about three months, during which time they made various visits to the coast in search of a boat. They then spent a month at Riviere Neuf (query) before returning to Calais, and a house where they joined Gnr C Hillier (272) (who was sheltered on a farm at Coulogne at this time but makes no mention of meeting Hewit or Hargreaves in his report). In December, their hostess heard there was a Frenchman in Marles-les-Mines who might be able to help them, and Hewit and Hillier cycled there. They stayed for a day and night before being taken by train via Abbeville to Paris, and on to Moulins. They were stopped by a German control on the train at Moulins and taken to the Kommandatur, where Hewit suceeded in passing himself off as French while Hillier pretended to be a deaf mute, and they were released. They were put on a train which they thought was bound for Paris but actually went to Saint-Laurent-d'Andenay, north of Macon, where they quickly found a road leading to the demarcation line. A young boy guided them across but they were soon arrested by French gendarmes, sent to Marseille and interned at Fort Saint-Jean.
Hewit says that he had intended to escape to Spain but on 7 January, the camp was moved to Saint Hippolyte-du-Fort, and having discussed the matter with Ian Garrow, Hewit agreed to take charge of the men at Saint Hippolyte, where he was SBO (Senior British Officer) until the arrival of Whitney Straight (787) on 9 August.
In March 1942, the internees were moved to Fort de la Rivère, and on 25 August, the officers were sent to Fort de la Duchere, where Hewit reports that internment was strict, and at the end of October, they were transferred to Chambaran.

On 13 November 1942, Hewit escaped through the window of a dentist's house in Chambaran but was caught a few hours later by a garde mobile and returned to the camp where he served 15 days in the cells. On his release from the cells, Hewit had arranged to escape that night (28 November) with Bob Milton (1039), and the two men walked out of the camp disguised as French NCOs.

Milton explains that they had “secured the co-operation” of a French lieutenant and sergeant, who supplied the necessary badges and stripes to convert their clothes into “passable imitations” of French uniforms. The sergeant walked out of the camp with them, to be met by the lieutenant, who took them to a house nearby where they were given civilian clothes, identity cards and demobilisation papers. They stayed for a few days until their host (no name given) arranged for the Commandant's army chauffeur to take them in the Commandant's car to the railway station at Saint-Marcellin, where they took a train to Marseille.
Milton says that shortly after he and Hewit arrived in Marseille, they met Captain Cooper (SOE agent Dick Coope) (released from Chambaran on 27 November, the day before Hewit and Milton escaped) in a café [which Cooper says in his book was the Petit Poucet] , where he introduced them to S/Ldr Pat Leary's organisation. On 13 December, they were taken to Toulouse with Cooper, Ray Glensor (1041), Thor Waerner (1056), Mr Gosling and two guides.
Glensor agrees being taken to Toulouse on 13 December with Waerner, Cooper, Mr Gosling, Milton, Hewit and two guides, saying that on arrival at Toulouse, he (and Waerner) stayed with Paul Ulmann. On 15 December, Glensor, Milton, Hewit, Cooper and Mr Gosling (but not Waerner) went by train to Banyuls where they were met by a guide and began their crossing of the Pyrenees. He says that the going was rough and difficult, and that they had to leave Mr Gosling behind. They reached “the summit” on the night of 16-17 December, and waited until light to cross into Spain, along with “about 20 other people congregated together for the same purpose”, the crossing itself being “without incident”. They walked to Figueras but got lost in the suburbs, and then when they went to the house arranged for them, found the inhabitants unfriendly, and so hid in a ravine instead. At 0300 hrs on 19 December, their guide left them in a brickworks near Figueras, saying that he would go to Barcelona to get help but they never saw him again. However, Cooper, who spoke Spanish, persuaded a smuggler who had joined their party to go to Barcelona and tell the British Consul where they were, and on 23 December, one of the Consul's representatives (probably Dorchy) took them by car to his house in Barcelona. On 29 December, Glensor, Hewit, Milton and Cooper were taken by car to Madrid, where they stayed until 13 January, when they left for Gibraltar, arriving there on 15 January. Glensor, Hewit, Milton and Cooper left Gibraltar by sea for Gourock on 20 January 1943.
On 6 December 1942, three men escaped from the Camp de Chambaran, and a fourth whilst en route for Grenoble .
Pte Peter Ferguson Inglis (1076), from Whitburn in East Lothian, had served in the Regular Army from September 1925 until April 1933. He gives his peacetime profession as hotel waiter until being recalled on 1 September 1939. He was serving with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, attached to 4 Company AMPC near Forges-les-Eaux, where he was a Company runner, and was captured by a German patrol on 8 June 1940 whilst making his way to Company HQ. He was taken to Forges-les-Eaux and put into a hut with some French POWs but escaped the following morning. Inglis made his way to a wood where he found two South Wales Borderers, Sgt Hume and Pte W J Brooks (168), and a British tank crew (who Brooks says had abandoned their tank after coming under heavy mortar fire). The tank crew (no names given) aimed for Le Havre while Inglis, Brooks and Hume headed south of Rouen. Whilst trying to cross the river Seine, they lost sight of Hume, and on the night of 13-14 June, Inglis and Brooks found a boat and crossed the river to Elbeuf. They “procured” civilian clothes, stole two bicycles, and cycled towards Saint Malo but were stopped at Saint-Rémy, south of Caen, by a German patrol, and taken to Falaise. Next day, they were taken to a prison camp near Rouen, where they joined “about 2,000 Frenchmen”, with Inglis and Brooks being the only British POWs.
On 30 June, Inglis and Brooks escaped from the camp at Rouen, and headed south, walking via Alencon, Le Mans and Blois to Nazelles-Négron (where they stayed for a week in a house) before crossing the Loire at Amboise, and “at 0600 hrs on 4 Aug”, were guided across the river Cher at Bléré. They were soon stopped by French soldiers, who took them to Chateauroux, and then sent them by train to Port Vendres and Agde. On 17 November, Inglis was sent to Fort Saint-Jean in Marseille. Inglis was transferred to Saint Hippolyte on 6 January 1941, to Fort de la Rivère on 17 March 1942, and the Camp de Chambaran on 22 September .
Pte Thomas Francis McGlasson (1077), and ammunition worker from Workington in Cumbria, had already spent seven years in the Regular Army before he was recalled in February 1939, and was serving with 1st Border Regiment when he was captured by a German patrol in the suburbs of Lille on 24 May 1940. Next day, he was marched “eastwards”, and on 27 May, escaped the POW column near Ath by hiding in a cornfield. He made his way towards Valenciennes, being given civilian clothes along the way but had to stop for week at Onnaing while his feet healed. A girl that he knew at Valenciennes obtained a bicycle for him, and he cycled to Rumegies, where his unit had been stationed. Next day, he cycled on to Lille where a girl in a café soon realised he was English, took him to a bombed out house, and gave him some food. The following day he headed for Calais, and at the end of June reached the village of Slack, south of Ambleteuse, where a man in a café recognisied him as English, took him to his house and sheltered him for the next two weeks. The man's sister-in-law eventually found a boat that was hidden just south of Audresselles but McGlaason failed to find it, and on his way back, was stopped by a German soldier and recaptured.
McGlasson insisted that he was an eighteen-year-old English civilian who was looking for his sister, married to a Frenchman in Valenciennes but their house had been bombed, and he was unable to find her. Despite repeated questioning, McGlasson stuck to his story, and eventually he and about 30 British civilians (including the writer P G Wodehouse) were taken to the prison at Loos. McGlasson was then transferred to a caserne (military barracks) in Lille.

Visitors were allowed at the caserne, and one day a girl that McGlasson didn't know, came to see him. She spoke perfect English, brought him civilian clothes, food and an identity card, and on 10 November, McGlasson escaped over the caserne wall and the girl took him to Tourcoing, where his journey to Marseille was arranged.

McGlasson arrived in Marseille on 27 December 1940, where he was soon arrested and held at the Prison Chave from 27 December until 26 February 1941, when he was brought to court and aquitted the same day. He was then sent to Saint Hippolyte to join the other internees of Detachment W.

Gnr Harold William Smith (1078) from Ipswitch in Suffolk, with 9 years in the Regular Army, was serving with 17 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, attached to the Corps of Military Police when he was captured on the beach at Saint-Valéry-en-Caux on 11 June 1940. He was marched across the country, passing through Doullens, Saint-Pol-sur-Ternois, Bethune and La Bassée until 28 June, when he escaped from the POW column near Illies, along with Cpl C Carter (558) and L /Cpl Edgar Fryer (301). They were helped by a family at Illies, who gave them food and civilian clothes, and later a farmer gave them more food, some money, and hid them in his “shooting box” near Herlies.

At the end of July, Smith set off for Croix where he had friends but when he got to Loos, he was befriended by an Englishman who had served in the last war, and married a Frenchwoman. The Englishman (no name given but probably Thomas Chiverton at the Café de la Gare) introduced Smith to a Frenchman was worked for the Fire Brigade in another town, and Smith went there and enrolled in the Fire Brigade. He stayed with the Fire brigade for two months until September, when some Gestapo men came to the town, making occasional use of the Fire Brigade barracks, and Smith's friends thought it better for him to move elsewhere.
On 20 September, Smith went to Radinghem-en-Weppes, where he lived, alternating with friends in Croix, for the next four months until January, when Smith went to Seclin where helpers gave him false papers and arranged his journey to Marseille.
Smith arrived in Marseille on 9 February 1941, and says that he stayed in a lodging house for three weeks before being interned at Saint Hippolyte. He escaped from Saint Hippolyte on 3 March, along with William Thomas and Robert Brown but was recaptured at Le Boulou.
On 17 March 1942, the internees at Saint Hippolyte were transferred to Fort de la Rivère at La Turbie, in the hills above Nice, and on 22 September, to the Camp de Chambaran, near Marcilloles, Isère.
Inglis reports that on 6 December, about a hundred Italians came to the camp with motor buses and ambulances to take the internees away, and that they were given half an hour to pack. Inglis, McGlasson and Smith were all in the same room, and they decided they would hide themselves in the loft above the barracks. Two other men helped them through the trap door, McGlasson and Smith bringing their kit with them, and the Italians and other internees duly left the camp at about six o'clock that afternoon.
Once everyone had left, the three men climbed down and searched about until they found enough civilian clothing for all them, and at about nine-thirty that evening, Smith went down to the main gate and called one of the French Gardes Mobile. He brought a French officer and the camp's interpretor, Mr Wood, and the officer gave them 300 francs each from the camp's funds, and suggested they go to Viriville and then Lyon, after which it was “up to them”. An hour or so later, the adjutant and some of the guards escorted the three soldiers to the village of Chambaran, from where they set off on foot for Viriville but wound up in Roybon instead. They asked at a house if they could stay the night, and with their bad French and because they were carrying Red Cross parcels, the inhabitants recognised them for what they were, and insisted they stay for two or three nights at least as the Italians were sure to be out looking for them. Next day, a friend of their host arrived with identity cards for them, and that night they were taken on borrowed bicycles to the railway station at Saint-Marcellin. They were given tickets to Marseille, 250 francs and an address but missed the midnight train and so spent the rest of the night in the porter's room before taking an early morning train, arriving in Marseille at seven-thirty that evening, 7 December .
McGlasson had heard about the Petit Poucet café, and when they went there for a drink, they were quickly recognised as British. Inglis was able to explain to the proprietor who they were and where they had come from, and he brought an interpretor who took them to his flat nearby, where they found “a Danich woman in bed”. They stayed the night at the flat, and next day, their host took them by tram and handed them over to Mlle Therese (Thérèse Martin) who took them back to her flat (at boulevard Cassini). The three soldiers stayed with Mlle Martin for two weeks, only going out once to visit a photographer. During their stay, Pat (O'Leary) came to see them, and gave them clothes and personal kit.
On 22 December, they were taken to the station and put on a train to Toulouse, where Pat met them and took them to stay at Paul Ulmann's house. On 27 December, Pat took Inglis and McGlasson to Bergerac, where they stayed first with Maurice Loupias on avenue Pasteur, where they met Captain Garrow (1075) (recently escaped from Mauzac), and later with Henri Nicolet on rue Gambetta, where they met F/Lt Goodwin (Tom Groome), who had a wireless transmitter that he removed the day after their arrival.
On 8 January, Guy Berthet took Inglis and McGlasson back to Toulouse, where they were joined by Smith (who had remained at Paul Ulmann's house) and Lt Thor Waerner (1056), and on by train to Banyuls. Pat met them at Perpignan and travelled with them for another four stations, he and Guy also staying with the four evaders for the first hour of their walk across the mountains. They crossed the border that night but continued walking for another four days, being joined (accidently) at some stage by a party of Jews and their guide but losing them again at Figueras, carrying on for about 30 kms past Figueras where their guide left them in a field while he went on to Barcelona. That afternoon, Mr Dorchy (Paul Henry Alfred Ghislaine Howard Dorchy was the British Vice-Consul at Barcelona) collected them in his car and drove them back to the British Consulate in Barcelona.
On 11 January, Mr Dorchy took them to Barcelona, where they stayed with his chauffeur, Frederick Haddock. They left Barcelona on 14 January, taken by car to the British Embassy in Madrid. On 27 January they left Madrid by train for Gibraltar, and on 5 February, left Gibraltar by sea for Gourock onboard the SS Letitia.
The fourth escaper from Chambaran in December was Captain George Browne, who got away durung transfer to Grenoble, and although he wasn't helped by the organisation with his escape and subsequent evasion, parts of his story are linked to Anthony Masson (1062), who was.
Captain George Alleyne Browne (1061), a Canadian Broadcasting Company announcer from Ottawa, who joined the army in 1939, was serving with the Royal Canadian Artillery, attached to the Royal Regiment of Canada when he was landed at Dieppe on 19 August 1942. That afternoon, he was in a party of about twenty men, pinned down by an AA position and trapped in a wood at Puys-les-Bains. When they realised that the operation (Jubilee) was over, and they weren't going to be evacuated, they surrendered to a German patrol.
Browne and his party were taken to the Notre Dame de Bon Secour school and searched before being moved to Hotel Dieu Hospital in Dieppe. Most of the Canadian unwounded and walking wounded were marched to Bellengreville while Browne stayed behind to help in the wards. The following morning, the remaining officers were sent to Envermeu, leaving just Browne, who was driven there with a German major at noon. Later that afternoon, they were all put on a train for Verneuil (assume Verneuil-sur-Avre), officers in carriages and the ORs in cattle cars, arriving at a Dulag (Durchgangslager – prisoner transit camp) about 2 kms outside the town the following morning. On 28 August, they were put on a train bound for Germany, and Browne escaped “from the same tunnel at Chennevières (just east of Paris) as Lt Masson (S/P.G.(F) 1062)”. There were no lights, and no guard in the compartment, and the train was moving very slowly when he jumped from the window of his compartment. Browne made his way out of the tunnel, and at about two in the morning, and “after looking round a small village”, met Lt Masson .

Lt Anthony Augustus Masson (1062), a ski manufacturer from Outremont in Quebec who had joined the army in May 1940, was serving with Les Fusiliers Mont Royal when he was landed at Dieppe on 19 August 1942. His company commander had been killed during the landing when their boat was blown up, and Masson was wounded in the leg. He was captured at about ten-thirty that morning after being told to surrender by the senior commmander.

Masson, along with five other officers and about 150 men from his unit, were taken to a hospital in Dieppe, where they joined the “remnants” of his regiment, and the South Saskatchewans. From the hospital, they were sent to Envermeu, where the officers were housed overnight in an empty church. Next morning, they were taken by overnight train to a Dulag near Verneuil – the officers in a special third-class coach and the men in 37 of what Masson describes as “horse trucks”. The officers (at least) left Verneuil by train for Germany on 28 August, and Masson escaped by jumping from a window as the train was passing through a tunnel at Chennevières, and meeting Captain Browne a short while later.

The two men walked east along a path for about half a mile until they came to some workmen's cottages. Browne sat in the shadows while Masson knocked at the door of the nearest house and explained to the occupants that they were Canadians from Dieppe. An elderly man took them into his kitchen and then went to a neighbour for advice, the neighbour and his wife returning to the kitchen, and deciding that the Canadians should be put to bed. Next day, the elderly man took the two soldiers, now in civilian clothes and carrying food and wine, back along the path and hid them in some brambles. The man returned for them that evening and took them to his neighbour where a big dinner had been prepared for them. One of the guests was a restaurant owner from nearby Champigny-sur-Marne who gave them 1,700 francs that he had collected for them at his restaurant that day. He also gave them more clothes, and for Masson, an identity card with a photograph “which resembled him”, and which described him as an Alsation. The following morning, Browne and Masson were taken to the restaurant where “a large and hilarious luncheon party” had been arranged in a back room. That afternoon, they were passed to another Frenchman who took them back to his flat in Paris, where they stayed for about ten days, during which time Browne was also provided with an ID card, and demobilisation papers. Arrangements were also made for a guide to take them to Nimes.

Browne and Masson left Paris on 10 September (guided by Tonio, Elisabeth Rival's fiancé, Antoine Carrion Parilla), taken by train to Nevers, then by taxi to Neauce. They went to a farm where a young boy guided them down to the river Allier and demarcation line. The two Canadians and their guide waded the river and walked to a small village, to be collected by taxi and driven to Sancoins. Unfortunately all cars were obliged to stop outside the local police station, and when Masson was asked for his identity card, had the misfortune to be questioned by an Alsation, whose dialect he could not understand. Masson quickly changed his story to say that he was travelling to see his sick mother in Toulouse, and was not connected with either Browne or their guide. Browne was then questioned, his (genuine) photograph queried, and finally Masson explained that they were Canadian officers from Dieppe. The admission seems to have softened the French attitude although it didn't stop them from turning Browne and Masson over to a Deuxieme Bureau captain, who had them taken by car to a military barracks at Chateauroux. On 15 September, they were sent to Fort de la Duchère for internment, and on 2 October, transferred to Chambaran. From this point, Masson says that his journey is “as described in Lt-Cdr Prior's report”.

Lt George Browne made his first escape from Chambaran on 23 October, disguising himself as one of the plasterers who were still working on the camp, and leaving with them that afternoon. He walked to Romans-sur-Isère, and next day, took an early morning train to Valence but was caught at the station exit by a gendarme who asked for his papers. Browne was then returned to the camp where he was given fifteen days in solitary confinement.

Browne reports that the Italians took over the camp on 7 (sic) December, and put the internees onto buses (eleven in all), with the officers and most of the sergeants in one of them. There were two guards, one at the front with the driver, and one by the rear door, where Browne was seated next to him. They were heading for Grenoble but the convoy was stopped at Saint-Marcellin. The guard at the rear of the bus got out but failed to close the door properly before rejoining the bus via the front door. The convoy stopped again at Moirans that evening to get water for the radiators, and the two guards got out. When they rejoined the bus at the front door, Browne left through the rear door and ran into a small cul-de-sac, crossed a couple of fences and hid himself by the river bank.
After the searchers had passed his hiding place, Browne crossed the river, and some parkland to the main road behind the convoy to an isolated house. The man at the house was unable to take him to Grenoble as he had to be in work early the following morning but did give him food and a good pair of socks, along with directions and the advice to go to Sassenage (just west of Grenoble) and try one of the railwaymen's cottages near the station.
Browne didn't manage to follow the directions very well, and at dawn, found himself well to the west at L'Albenc. He went to a farm where he used Bob Milton's RAF wings to convince the inhabitants that he was a genuine escaper, and they gave him breakfast. While Browne was sleeping, his host went to Grenoble, and that evening, a de Gauliist came to the farm with civilian clothes, and on 9 December, took Browne back to his apartment in Grenoble. Browne was given 3,000 francs, an identity card, ration tickets, a railway ticket to Toulouse, and a contact address in the city, and on 11 December, he took an overnight train to Toulouse.
People at the given address refused to help Browne, and so after sending a postcard to his friend in Grenoble, Browne set off on foot for Andorra. He walked to Castanet-Tolosan (where he had supper and watched a film) and on to Montgiscard, where he met a girl who took him to a farm at Calmont. From Calmont, he walked on through Mazères to Le Vernet, where a plumber gave him a meal and bought him a railway ticket from Pamiers to Ussat (Ariège), where he spent the night in a hotel. After lunch the next day, Browne headed for Auzat , meeting a Frenchman along the way who told him that Auzat was full of Germans, and advised him to turn off (left) for Goulier. At Goulier he found a farmer who advised him to go to Olbier for a guide to take him across the mountains, which he did, finding three young men who were going home after some sort of celebration. A few days later, two of the young men took Browne up as far as the snow line, and Browne made a difficult crossing via the Porte de l'Albeille, in high winds and snow, to Andorra. Browne left Andorra for Spain on the morning of 21 December, walking to Escaldes (where he joined a group of smugglers) and Viliella, where he stayed until travelling to Barcelona on 28 December. He was taken to Madrid, arriving there on 14 January, and leaving for Gibraltar two days later (query), his report also saying that he left Gibraltar by sea for Gourock on 16 January 1943.