Françoise – Partis vers 10 et 13 Mars 1944
In various files for Françoise Dissard, there is a list of evaders helped by her organisation in Toulouse, together with dates that one might assume refer to their departure dates from Toulouse. This article covers two such groups, the first dated 10 March and the second 13 March 1944 - who actually set off to cross the Pyrenees together apart from two men (Carson and Finney) from the first group who were separated from the others in Toulouse to join another group, which is generally credited to the Dutch-Paris organisation.
This page first posted 5 Jan 2021
“Partis vers 10 Mars”
Harold Freeman, Levi Collins, Alvin Sanderson, Kenneth Carson, Stanley Dymek, John McLaughlin, Reuban Fier and Robert Finney
2/Lt Harold O Freeman ( #553) from Sacramento, California was the 27-year-old navigator of 351BG/510BS B-17 42-39823 Iron Ass (Bender) which was returning from Cognac-Chateaubernard on 31 December 1943. They had been hit by flak over the target but hoped they would have enough fuel to get back but just after crossing the coast north of Royan (Charente-Maritime) it became obvious they did not, and 1/Lt Marvin H Bender turned his aircraft back and ordered the crew to bail out as soon as they were over land.
Freeman came down north of Royan, being knocked out by the landing, and when he came around, saw a man running towards him. The man took Freeman's parachute, and pointed to another chute lying on the ground not far away. There were several local men around the parachute, who then left to bring ball-turret gunner S/Sgt Levi H Collins to join him. The two men hid behind a bank until dusk, and then set off walking east to try and get clear of what they knew was a defence zone, as quickly as possible. Next morning, they reached the outskirts of Saintes, and failing to see any suitable cover, approached the first solitary farmhouse they saw. They declared themselves to the farmer, an Italian deserter who was living there with his wife, and he took them into the house, gave them some food, and put them to bed. While the Americans were sleeping, the farmer went to notify the maire of Saintes, and when the maire arrived at the farm, he told the airmen he would have to turn them over to the Germans. When he left by one door to summon a gendarme, the two Americans ran out of another, covering as much ground as they could for the rest of the afternoon.
Towards evening, they reached Colombiers (north of Pons) and approached two women on a farm who hid them in a barn, and when the farmer came home later that night, they were taken into the house, given a meal and put to bed. Next morning, the family gave them civilian clothes before they set off walking once more.
The following afternoon, they approached a farmhouse outside Bougneau but whilst trying to decide whether to approach it or not, were spotted by the people inside. There was some kind of party going on, and the two Americans soon became the centre of attraction, and when the party finally ended, one couple took the two Americans home with them.
Freeman and Collins were visited by a tall, blonde English-speaking woman (aged between 35 and 40), who said she was the mistress of the Chateau de Bougneau, and that her husband, the maire of Bougneau (Maxime Remy Pavie, born 3 June 1916) had left that afternoon to take four Americans (Dymek, McLaughlin, Fier and Hoyes – see later) across the demarcation line. Her husband came back that evening, and he told them that he would call for them in the morning. When he arrived next morning in his car, he already had S/Sgt Alvin Sanderson and S/Sgt Kenneth Carson on board.
S/Sgt Alvin E Sanderson (#579) from Highmore, South Dakota was the 21-year-old right waist-gunner of 94BG/331BS B-17 42-31110 Pacific's Dream which was also returning from Cognac-Chateaubernard on 31 December 1943. They were hit flak as they left the target, setting the aircraft on fire, and as they went into a spin, pilot 2/Lt Edward J Sullivan gave the order to bail out.
Sanderson says that he was the last man out from the waist of the aircraft, and hit his head against the exit door, knocking himself out and only coming around very near the ground; then when he pulled his rip-cord, found his feet caught in the shrouds, freeing himself just before landing in a field, close to the main Cognac to Pons highway, about three miles south of Pons.
Several men was were waiting for him, and he gave one of them his .45 pistol while the others buried his parachute, belt and holster before hiding him in a ditch, along with some food and cognac. Two of the men stayed with him while the others went to get civilian clothes but the ones they brought were too small. He was then taken to a wood where he stayed for the rest of the afternoon. At 1800 hrs, a farmer's daughter brought him a meal, and waited until her father arrived to take Sanderson back to their farm where Sanderson was put into a barn. That night, two young men brought an English-French dictionary, and after explaining that his engineer (T/Sgt Elmer L Shue), pilot (2/|Lt Edward J Sullivan), and co-pilot (2/Lt Clifford H Robinson) had been caught, said they would help him. They came back at two in the morning and took him to a blocked-off bridge near Pons in what Sanderson describes as an “artificial cave”, where he stayed for the next two days. The two young men brought a young English-speaking woman who said she would take him to Paris as soon as they found some clothes that would fit him but as they were talking, two other men arrived to tell Sanderson that the maire of Bougneau (Maxime Pavie) was waiting for him. They took him to a road where he was collected by the maire and a gendarme in a truck, and they took Sanderson back to the maire's house.
S/Sgt Kenneth Carson (#632) from West Point, Iowa was the 22-year-old tail-gunner of Pacific's Dream. As soon as he heard the bail-out order, he kicked out the escape door and jumped. He was met on landing by people who took his parachute, and a young woman took him back to the farmhouse where she lived with her parents. After three nights with the family, a young man arrived to take him by bicycle on a place on the road where the maire of Bougneau (Maxime Pavie) was waiting with a truck, which already had Harold Freeman, Levi Collins and Alvin Sanderson on board.
The maire drove the four Americans (Freeman, Collins, Sanderson and Carson) to a house on the outskirts of Cussac (Haute-Vienne) which was being used as a maquis headquarters, where they joined S/Sgt Stanley Dymek, S/Sgt John McLaughlin, 2/Lt Reuben Fier and S/Sgt Charles Hoyes, and that night, all eight Americans were taken to stay at a hotel in Cussac .
S/Sgt Stanley Dymek (#578) from North Tonawanda, New York was the 32-year-old ball-turret gunner of Pacific's Dream, and when he heard the order to bail out, he climbed out of his turret, clipped on his parachute and went out of the open door, delaying his jump until he could clearly see a church steeple, before landing in a ploughed field.
Dymek ran across two roads to hide in a wood, where he stayed until dusk when he saw two young men walking slowly along the edge of the wood, whistling softly as if to attract his attention. After watching them for a while, Dymek decided they were probably friendly, and showed himself. The two men were brothers, and they took Dymek to a barn on a the large farm where a girl brought him food and drink, and the farm owner, a tall rugged gendarme, shook his hand and gave him a meal. The two brothers then hid him back in the wood, returning at two o'clock that night to take him to an old stable, where he stayed until the following night. They had been bringing him food throughout the day, and that night they took Dymek back to their own farm, where they gave him civilian clothes, and then across country to the home of a railway-crossing guard. He was collected from there by the maire of Bougneau (Maxime Pavie) in his car, who took Dymek back to his house, where he joined S/Sgt John McLaughlin and their bombardier, 2/Lt Reuban Fier.
S/Sgt John C McLaughlin (#580) from Toledo, Ohio was the 34-year-old left waist-gunner of Pacific's Dream, and he also delayed his jump before landing in a field. He scooped up his parachute and ran to a clump of trees but a group of children and an older girl saw him, and they took his chute, Mae West and helmet and buried them in a pit. Meanwhile, two young men (Michel and Guy) arrived and gave McLaughlin civilian clothes before taking him to hide in a thicket. While he was laying there, a gendarme and a man in civilian clothes came across the field, and were obviously looking for him. The gendarme spotted McLaughlin and immediately made violent gestures for him to duck back down, and eventually, the two men left. Later, Michel and Guy came back and led McLaughlin to a barn where he met the gendarme, who explained that the man who had been with him earlier was a German security agent.
Because it was so cold that night, McLaughlin moved to a haystack, and in the morning decided to make his own way south towards Bordeaux. However, when he stopped a woman to ask the way she immediately took him to a farm, told him that two of his crew were already in safe hands, and that he was to stay where he was. That night, he was taken to meet a man in car (Maxime Pavie) who took him back to his house, collecting S/Sgt Charles Hoyes and 2/Lt Reuban Fier along the way.
S/Sgt Charles Hoyes (#768) from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania was 33-year-old radio operator of Pacific's Dream. He made a delayed jump to about 3,000 feet and landed in a field somewhere between Saintes and Pons. That evening, a farmer and his two daughters hid Hoyes overnight in their barn, and next day, a young man brought him a note from waist-gunner, S/Sgt John McLaughlin. That evening, the young man took Hoyes down the road to where the maire of Bougneau was waiting with McLaughlin in a car. The maire drove them into Pons where he picked up their bombardier, 2/Lt Reuben Fier, before taking them back to his chateau at Bougneau, and that night they were joined by their ball-turret gunner, S/Sgt Stanley Dymek.
Next morning, the maire drove Dymek, McLaughlin, Fier and Hoyes to a hotel in Cussac (Haute-Vienne), where the owner sent for the local maquis chief, a tall, husky 18-year-old man called Philippe. They stayed at the hotel for two nights, going out to a farmhouse that was the the maquis headquarters each day, and on the second night, Maxime Pavie brought Freeman, Collins, Sanderson and Carson to join them.
The eight Americans were returned to the resistance HQ next day, and the following night, Jean Pichon (foreman of a textile mill in Cussac, owned by the brother of a priest at Grand Monnerie), took them to a chateau at nearby Grand Monnerie (assume La Monnerie, which is just north of Cussac), which was also owned by the priest. They stayed at the chateau for thirteen days until a man called Alexandre (Maurice Lacherez), Jean Pichon's superior in Limoges, took them to Limoges, where they were separated; a Spanish Royalist taking Freeman, Collins, Dymek and Carlson to the home of a paralysed man and his wife, while Sanderson, McLaughlin, Fier and Hoyes went to Alexandre's café and confectionary on the outskirts of Limoges .
That night, a gendarme took Freeman, Collins, Dymek, Carson, Sanderson, Fier and McLaughlin by bus to Sussac (Haute-Vienne, south-west of Eymoutiers), Hoyes staying behind because he was ill (he later crossed the Pyrenees from Pau). The seven Americans were taken to the local maquis HQ, where they were met by a group of men, led by a dark-skinned man (a Spaniard called Petrella – query) who wore glasses, who took them to stay at another chateau. On the fourth night, they were all taken by lorry, with an armed escort of two cars, to Salon-la-Tour where they were met by a man called Jacques (20 years old, 6 feet 1 inch tall, with wavy hair; his uncle, aunt and sisters were in London, and he received material from the British by parachute) who took them to the nearby farm of an elderly man who had been a PW in the last war. Jacques brought an English-speaking girl to interprete (she was the schoolmistress at Uzerche) and then divided the group; Freeman and Sanderson going to the same farm where Jacques lived with a man, his wife, his parents and 18-year-old daughter Rosemarie, who also spoke some English. Carson and Fier were sheltered in a farmhouse, where they were joined two days later by McLaughlin but I don't know where Dymek or Collins stayed.
Fifteen days later, the group were brought back together at the first farmhouse, and then taken by car to Terrasson-Lavilledieu (Dordogne), where they were again distributed to different homes; Freeman and Sanderson staying with an elderly couple in a “well-to-do” house. Freeman reports that one of the organisation men at Terrasson was known as Georges, and owned a department store in the town. Dymek, who stayed with him, says this was Georges d'Aunois, brother of Dr Pierre d'Aunois, head of the organisation in Terrasson, and while McLaughlin stayed with Noel Dujardin, superintendant of a quarry, I don't know where Carson, Collins or Fier were sheltered.
After four days at Terrasson, Jacques returned with the same two cars and took the seven airmen to La Mothe (about 2 kms NE of Dussac), where they were put into empty houses. On their second night at La Mothe, Jacques brought an English woman (a 31-year-old brunette), supposedly with British Intelligence, who interrogated them, and S/Sgt Robert Finney (#628), who joined them. About a week later, Jacques brought a 19-year-old Frenchman who said he had just come from London, and was also with British Intelligence.
S/Sgt Robert Finney (#628) from San Fransisco, California was the 28-year-old tail-gunner of 96BG/339BS B-17 42-30665 Honeyak (Cole) which was returning from Bordeaux-Merignac aerodrome on 5 January 1944. They had been hit by flak over the target, which damaged their #1 engine, and then attacked by fighters, losing their #3 engine. Captain Donald C Cole asked his crew whether they would like to bail out over Spain (where they believed they would be interned for the duration) or France; they chose France, and the aircraft was abandoned north-west of Saintes (Charente-Maritime).
Finney landed in an open field, and saw the right waist-gunner (assume S/Sgt Clarence C Norton) and waved to him but he just waved back and said he would see Finney in Paris, so Finney set off running. He used his compass to head north-east across marshy gound and then hid in some tall grass. He stayed there until ten o'clock that night when he carried on walking north-east. Next morning he saw a man and so hid himself in a haystack (he was still wearing his flying gear) for the rest of that day before moving on, walking though the night once more. By morning, he found himself close to a large farmhouse, and using the few French words he'd picked up in lectures, declared himself as an American aviator. The elderly woman (Mme Boarde) who opened the door to him answered in English, later telling him that her husband had been a judge in Paris but had died, that she lived with her 29-year-old niece whose parents had died, and that she had never helped any evaders before. Finney was put into a part of the house where the cook wouldn't see him, taking his meals when the cook had gone home.
Finney stayed with Mme Boarde and her niece until 16 January, when a young resistance man and saboteur (a tall, slender man, aged about 23, with black hair) and his blonde, 19-year-old wife, came from a maquis in Brive (Correze). They took Finney about five miles on foot to a motorcycle, and the man took Finney on the bike to the railway yards at Saintes. The man gave Finney some sticks of dynamite (apparantly dropped by the British), which they put into the fire boxes of several railway engines – the only guard turning his back as he was also in the resistance. They then returned to collect the man's wife, before all three went to Niort. From Niort, Finney was taken to Ruffec, where he was passed on an older man who took him by train to Bellac that night. The following morning, they went on to Clermont-Ferrand, and a farm on the edge of town, where they stayed for the rest of the day. That night, he was taken on to Annecy, where Finney was turned over to a maquis and taken by car to a farmhouse 15 kilometres north of the town. Finney was sheltered by a wealthy couple, aged about 30, and their four children, being visited by various maquis people who came to shake his hand, and told him that he would be taken to Switzerland as the border with Spain was too well patrolled by German guards and French gendarmes.
Finney reports that trouble started about five days after his arrival because a maquis man had shot some Germans, and they responded with aircraft. As the Germans began advancing on Annecy, two of the maquis took Finney by car to a farmhouse about nine kilometres north of Brives-la-Gaillard, where he was supposed to wait for a British Intelligence Officer who would organise an aircraft for him. That same day, a woman arrived (tall, with brown hair, came from London and had worked for the British government for two years) and she took Finney (along with five resistance men) by car to a deserted village on a hill near (sic) Perigueux where he joined Freeman, Collins, Dymek, Carson, Sanderson, Fier and McLaughlin.
After 16 days at La Mothe, Jacques and Georges took all eight Americans back to Terrasson (where Finney stayed for two weeks with a wealthy, English-speaking woman named Odette Chalenie – married to a Jewish art dealer from Paris, they had servants and an English governess for their 11-year-old son), and on 6 March, a British Intelligence Officer called Lucien (a fat man, aged about 40-45, he wore glasses and had a “Germanic” appearance) arrived to see Georges (Georges d'Aunois). Lucien had heard about the Americans in January, and had been trying to trace them ever since. Lucien, along with a slight, dark-haired woman, aged about 35, and small 30-year-old, brown-haired man, arranged their papers before the Americans were divided into three groups, and taken by train to Toulouse.
On arrival in Toulouse, they were joined at the station by 2/Lt Hugh Shields and S/Sgt Joseph De Franze, and the whole party waited until Françoise Dissard arrived. She assigned them to different guides, and Freeman, McLaughlin, Dymek, Shields and De Franze were taken by a young girl to an office in a club-room of a young people's organisation (described by Shields as the Foyer de la Jeunesse).
“Partis vers le 13 Mars”
Joseph De Franze and Hugh Shields
S/Sgt Joseph De Franze (#581) from Hyde Park, Massachussetts was the 20-year-old radio operator of 448BG/715BS B-24 42-7754 Harmful L'le Armful (Chase) which was returning from Cognac-Chateaubernard aerodrome on 31 December 1943. They had lost manifold pressure in their #1 engine half an hour before reaching the target, and on the way back, although still with their formation, #4 engine began leaking oil. Then they were attacked by fighters, and with the aircraft on fire, De Franze bailed out at about 15,000 feet.
De Franze landed in woodland, probably not far from the Etang d'Hourtin, a tree breaking his fall. After hiding his parachute and flying gear, he set off walking south, and half an hour later met an elderly man and a boy who were mending the road. The elderly man took De Franze back to his house, gave him food and then took him to where three men were loading wood onto a truck. The driver (aged about 35) agreed to take De Franze to Pouillac but on the way, changed his mind and took him to his own house instead. De Franze stayed with the driver overnight, and next day, was taken into Pauillac to stay with Mme Rabut (aged about 27, her husband was a PW in Germany, and they had a 5-year-old child).
De Franze was sheltered by Mme Rabut for three weeks, sharing with a German civilian friend of hers (aged about 23, with long blond hair, right thumb and index finger missing, he worked in Bordeaux as a contractor, having been an engineer in Germany, and was a virolent anti-Nazi). The German and another friend (aged about 30, he worked on the board of commerce in Bordeaux) contacted an organisation in Bordeaux, and a woman (aged about 26) came took his details, while a gendarme from Pauillac gave him a rather badly forged identity card.
On 20 January, two men from the organisation (one called Germain – aged about 23, 5 feet 7 inches tall, brown hair – and a 19-year-old man with black hair) took De Franze to stay overnight in a farmhouse in Pauillac with an English-speaking woman, whose cousin was in the American Legion. Next day, the two men took De Franze by train to Bordeaux, and the north-western suburb of Le Bouscat where De Franze was sheltered in the Bains Douches building, which was owned by René Coicadin (or Caucadin) and his wife, and where he first met 2/Lt Hugh Shields .
2/Lt Hugh Caterson Shields (#554) from Mount Kisco, New York was the 22 year-old bombardier of 94BG/410BS B-17 42-30112 Lil Butch which was on the way to Bordeaux-Merignac aerodrome on 5 January 1944. Just before reaching their target, one of the engines had to be feathered, and as soon as they dropped out of formation, they were attacked by fighters, and pilot (2/Lt Allan C Powell) sounded the bail-out bell. Before the officers jumped, co-pilot (2/Lt Thomas H Hudson) said he thought they could still make it home but with none of their guns firing, and losing altitude rapidy, the aircraft was abandoned.
Shields landed in a swamp north-west of Saint-Laurent-Médoc (Gironde), near the Etang d'Hourtin. He headed west towards the lake, then north-east for two hours, and then east until morning when he was picked up a 14-year-old boy named Hubert Billa. Hubert went and fetched his father, Joseph Billar (a wood merchant in Cissac-Médoc who had been injured at Dunkirk), and a Spaniard called Jeannot (aged about 22, a short, dark man with black hair) who worked for Joseph. The two men brought Shields food and civilian clothes before taking him to a mill (complete with water-wheel) west of Cissac-Médoc, on the main road to Bordeaux, where he stayed overnight with the mill owner, a judge at Pavillac (aged about 65, he lived alone at the mill).
The following morning, Shields was taken to stay at the Spaniard's house, where he met the man's 19-year-old wife, being visited there by a resistance chief from Cissac (possibly named Leblanc) – he was a schoolteacher (a short man, aged about 30, with blond hair); and the local baker, aged about 35, who also seemed to be a resistance chief.
On 28 January, Shields was taken to Saint-Estèphe, where he met a baker (aged about 35) and a schoolmaster named Haustin (also aged about 35, he was a secretary in the maire's office, and his wife was active with the resistance), and was sheltered by Edouard Pic and his parents, Edouard's father being a wine merchant. Shields stayed with the Pic family for four days while the schoolmaster made arrangements to move him on.
On 2 February, a resistance man called Germain (a thin man, six feet tall with brown eyes), took Shields to the same house in Pauillac that De Franze had stayed in a few nights earlier. His hosts (a 35-year-old English-speaking woman, her husband and their 16-year-old son, two aunts, an uncle and a Spanish servant) had a chateau nearby but that had been bombed by the British. Shields stayed with the family overnight, and next morning, Germain took him by train to Bordeaux.
Germain took Shields to André's sister's house (André being aged about 35, 5 foot 8 inches tall, slightly bald, worked as a carpenter in the mairie at Le Bouscat), where he also met a man called Michel (aged 22, 5 feet 8 inches tall with black, curly hair). Michel had apparantly been a resistance leader, and said that British Intelligence had offered him 7,000 francs to work for them, which he had refused whilst still agreeing to turn over plans to them – he told Shields that he was the first evader his organisation had helped. Michel took Shields to the Bains Douches building in Le Bouscat, where he met Sgt De Franze.
That afternoon, Shields was taken to a café in the centre of town owned by an American of Italian birth named Charles Serra (aged about 48, he had left the US after Prohibition and was not supposed to leave Toulouse but lived in Bordeaux with his young wife Lilly) – Shields describes Charles as being a very loud man who only played American music in his café. Shields spent the night in a pension with Charles' brother Joseph (who was a French citizen) but asked Michel to take him back to the café because he felt the pension was too dangerous. Michel returned him to the café for the day, and that night, took him to his 19-year-old girl-friend's house, where she lived with her widowed mother in a vegetable shop next to Serra's café. At the shop, Shields met a resistance man named Pierrot Rabanel who told him that the head of the organisation in Bordeaux was a former colonel of French Intelligence. Michel gave Shields some good quality ID papers, and moved him back to the Bains Douches building in Le Bouscat, where he and De Franze were sheltered by M. and Mme Coicadin (or Caucadin) for the next six weeks.
During their stay at Le Bouscat, Shields and De Franze were visited by various resistance men, including André the carpenter, a painter named Vincent Abilla and a grocer named Marcel Ageon, who had a shop near the Place Thiers. They were also visited by a French policeman who said that he would take them to a maquis if they were unable to leave for Spain. Michel also came with a man from Toulouse who brought a questionnaire, and offered the Coicadin (or Caucadin) family 5,000 francs (presumably to cover their costs), which they refused.
On 1 March, Shields and De Franze were taken to the station, stopping off at Charles Serra's café only to learn from Lilly that he had been arrested by the Germans and sent to a camp north-west of Paris. From Bordeaux, they went by train, via Limoges, to Toulouse, where they met Harold Freeman, Levi Collins, Alvin Sanderson, Kenneth Carson, Stanley Dymek, John McLaughlin, Reuban Fier and Robert Finney. Shields reports that they were “picked up” by Françoise, who told them that a guide called Cherry (sic) had been captured at Perpignan by a man pretending to be a Canadian airman.
This is a reference to André Bertrand Pollac (aka Sherry) (born 12 October 1920) who worked with numerous British, French and Polish organisations helping evaders cross into Spain and Andorra – his contributions being recognised by IS9 who recommended him for an MBE. Pollac (using the name André Page) was arrested in Perpignan on 28 January 1944, having been betrayed by a French Gestapo agent known as Louis Bordes, who was living at the Grand Hotel in Perpignan, posing as an escaped reserve lieutenant in the French army.
Freeman and De Franze stayed at the club-room for two nights; Shields, Dymek, Sanderson and McLaughlin being moved to a house for the second night. I don't know where Collins and Fier stayed but Carson and Finney were taken to a rooming house over a police station where they stayed for the next six days, before joining another party to cross the mountains.
On their second day in Toulouse, two young men (19 or 20 years old) assembled the rest of the group and took them back to the station where they were joined by a third guide, who brought F/O Cliff Tucker, the Australian pilot of 175 Sqn Typhoon JP385 who was shot down and force-landed near Evreux on 5 February 1944, and had already made two attempts to cross the mountains.
The three guides took the nine evaders by train to Quillan (Languedoc-Roussillon), and then south by bus to Axat. They walked out of the town and hid until dark when the guide brought a taxi. There was a girl in the taxi, and the guide turned them all over to her. They were driven about twelve miles, and joined a group of six Poles, and a new Spanish guide led them on foot to a village about four miles from Quérigut. They spent the night in a house, being joined there by six more Poles, and the following night (11 March) were turned over to a Spanish mountain guide.
The guide set off leading them across the mountaiins but the snow was deep and soft, and after a few miles, De Franze gave out and had to be carried. As they reached a crest, the guide made them turn back and return to the village, where they stayed in a barn. Then their guide from Toulouse arrived and advised them to return to Quillan. Fier, Collins and Cliff Tucker started out first, with Freeman, Dymek and De Franze last. Freeman, Dymek and De Franze got onto a bus just past Usson (NE of Rouze), and then Shields, McLaughlin and Sanderson joined them but when they caught up with Fier, Collins and Tucker the bus was full and didn't stop, and they heard later that the three men had been caught next day in Axat.
Freeman, De Franze, Dymek, Shields, McLaughlin and Sanderson returned to Quillan where they met their old guide who took them to a hotel and where they found the Poles with the girl in the taxi. They stayed at the hotel for eight days until 25 March, when they we went back to Quérigut with their guide plus one other, who took them to the same barn. They stayed in the barn overnight, and then walked a mile to a mine filled with Spanish smugglers. A third guide brought them food, and they spent the days there and the nights in the barn. While they were in Quérigut, the Gestapo caught their guide.
On 28 March, four Englishmen (P/O Ernest Bell (1878), F/O Robert Beattie (1979), F/O Reginald Lewis (1880) and F/O James Reed (1881) the bomb aimer, rear gunner, navigator and wirelsss operator of 138 SD Halifax LW275) and six Poles were brought to join them, and that night, two new guides (one of whom had been bringing them food) and ten more Poles started off, crossing the border from Latour-de-Carol to Puigcerda on the night of 30 March.
They rested in a barn in Puigcerda while one of the guides went to Barcelona to arrange transport, returning on the night of 1 April with a truck, and driving them to Barcelona, the Americans and British being taken to British Consulate.
On 4 April, the British Consul took Freeman, Shields, De Franze and Dymek by car to the British Embassy in Madrid where they stayed until 9 April, when they were taken to Gibraltar. Freeman and Shields were flown to the UK, arriving 12 April, and while Freeman doesn't mention Sanderson or McLaughlin, and they give no details in their reports apart from arriving in Gibraltar on the same date as Freeman, they were also flown back to England, arriving on 20 April, along with De Franze and Dymek.