They came from Burgundy
A study of the Bourgogne escape line
This page first posted on 28 Mar 2017
After more than four years work, the book "They came from Burgundy" is as finished as I can make it. The title comes from a request made to many of the evaders as they left Paris to pass on to the British authourities the name of the organisation that had helped them. Although based around military escape and evasion reports, the main aim of the book is to introduce the reader to as many of the escape line helpers as possible because it is they who are the heroes and heroines of this particular story.
Of the three major escape lines running through France during the Second World War - the Pat O'Leary line, which covered most of the country, the Comete line, which ran from Holland and Belgium through France to the Pyrenees, and Bourgogne - Bourgogne (aka Burgundy) is the least well known. Escape lines are a largely unrecognised, or at least often overlooked, episode of the Second World War. For those who were involved - the helpers (mostly French, Belgian and Dutch civilians) or benefitted from them (mostly British, Commonwealth and American servicemen) - this was a personal war, which was, and remains, almost unknown to the outside world, despite the tragic loss of so many of those concerned. To the families of the servicemen saved, it must have seemed like a miracle to have their loved ones returned safely to them. For the helpers and their families who were caught, it often meant death. This study, which is based around contemporary reports and documentation, as well as extensive personal research by the author and others, describes the evasions of the more than three hundred Allied servicemen helped by the Burgundy line, together with details and the eventual fates of many hundreds of their helpers.
The book is available from Amazon UK
Click here to buy a copy of the book from publisher Troubador
or you can contact me to buy a copy - signed on request - price £12.99
Please note that the book (198,000 words) is quite heavy so overseas postage is expensive
This page is intended to raise interest about the book but also to provide corrections and updates to the printed version as and when further information becomes available - a sort of on-line errata - plus things I wish I'd known earlier ..
With that in mind, purchasers of "They came from Burgundy" may care to update their copies with the following notes
Latest update 5 Apr 2024
Page 12 add After " .. a new guide, Antonio .." add "this was André Pollac aka Sherry"
Page 13 correction .. the 'Countess B' - delete (Genevieve de Poulpiquet).
Page 21 add (Pierre Leonard Frazille - query) - should read (Pierre Leonard Frazille of 98 rue du Point du Jour)
Page 21 f/n add Wireless operator Sgt Noel Morley RNZAF evaded to Switzerland, arriving there on 6 May 1943.
Page 27 add Greene .. stayed with a schoolteacher (Mme Antoinette Piriou of Plouray) until 24 February ..
Page 29 add to be sheltered elsewhere - should read to be sheltered by Henri Dufermont at 42 rue Jeanne d'Arc.
Page 31 correction Emilie Cellarier at the villa Lein-au-Lan in Treveneuc, near Plouha. should read Mme Emilie Cellarie at the villa La Chimere in Treveneuc.
Page 32 correction .. they were moved elsewhere - replace text with "Greene to stay with Gabrielle Wiame at 46 rue Poliveau, Spencer to stay with her neighbour, Albert Calonne .." and delete end of sentence from "and a blonde lady"
Page 32 f/n F/Sgt Elmer Bulmer should read Elmar Bulman
Page 36 correction Mme Cellarier at Lein-au-Lan near Plouha should read Mme Cellarie at Treveneuc
Page 36 correction T/Sgt Jack Leuhrs should read T/Sgt Jack Luehrs - this error is also repeated later
Page 36 addition .. a house on rue d'Olive add (assume Jean Rene Quilien of rue des Roches Olives)
Page 42 amend amend (parents of evader Lt Claude Raoul-Duval) to (see evader Lt Claude Raoul-Duval later)
Page 42-43 amend amend "the same house on rue Greuze" and "an apartment on rue Greuze" to "an apartment at 27 rue Benjamin Franklin"
Page 43 correction .. moving to Saint-Brieuc with fourteen others should read moving to Treveneuc ..
Page 43 correction On 29 May, news was received from England should read On 7 May, news was received ..
Page 43 correction (la comtesse de Boibussel) should read (comtesse de Boisboissel) - and add "and her daughter Mlle Suzanne Legrand ..
Page 44 correction took him [Sgt Allen Fitzgerald] to stay with a man called Louis at at 101 Ave Phillipe Auguste should read took him to stay with Dr Nestor and Mme Armadine Firpi at 101 Ave Phillipe Auguste. Delete foot-note
Page 44 correction I surmised that Anthony Cucinotta probably stayed with Drs Andre and Marguerite Bohn at 116 Boulevard Raspail - this is obviously wrong. The most likely candidate is Dr Jacques Cahen-Delabre on rue Gazan.
Page 44 correction delete Drs Bohn at Blvd Raspail and replace with Dr Jacques Cahen-Delabre
Page 49 correction Mansford notes they were not required to pay their hotel bill - should read Hughes notes ..
Page 68 correction should read Mlle Simonie de Cormont at 74 rue du Rocher.
Pages 73 and 75 Miss Elsa Janine McCarthy is mentioned - her correct name is Elsa Janie MacCarthy.
Page 76 correction Olivier Richiet - should read Olivier Richet
Page 78 correction I said that Maurice and Andrée Vandevoorde had a 24-year-old son called Bernard. This is incorrect - their son Jean-Claude (who confirms that he was living with his parents at the time) was only thirteen in 1943.
Page 79 add .. where they were sheltered - add "by local resistance chief Jacques Gotkovsky of Les Essarts-le-Roi" .. and "Three days later, SOE agent Henri Frager and Red Cross nurse Germaine Royannez arrived in an ambulance to take them to the station, Frager taking Green and Ruby by train while Mlle Royannez went with Munday in the ambulance to her apartment at 9 Avenue Niel."
Page 84 add "M Bonafos" should now read "Simon Bonafos".
Page 88 add M Biscuit (real name Beret, of 33 rue de Vanise)
Pages 91 and 92 I mention Mme Renée Owen, and in January 2021, Andrew Fitzsimmons contacted me with further details about her. Born Renée Travert in Saint-Florent-le-Jeune on 28 June 1888, Renee married Englishman Hugh Owen on 3 July 1916, and their daughter Patricia was born in Scotland on 4 June 1919. Captain Hugh Owen died of cholera whilst at sea in 1926, and is buried in Bangkok.
Page 98 correction Jean Borossi - should read Jean Borrossi
Page 99 add " .. Allain and Page .." should read " .. Page (André Pollac) ..". The two airmen that Allain mentions as captured were F/Lt James McDonald (LIB/658) and F/Lt Clifford Farmer.
Page 100 add After "Carlos Mistler (nf)" delete "nf" - Mistler was an Argentinian friend of André Pollac.
Page 109 correction Gilbert Thibaut - should read Gilbert Thibault
Page 122 I thought I was being diplomatic when I declined to identify the evader who complained about the food he was receiving but Cheryl Padgham (daughter of Vic Davies) then contacted me to insist that it wasn't her father ..
Page 129 correction After the name Claude Pinchard-Deny, delete (sic) - the name is correct. Where it says " .. the two RAF evaders (McDonald and Farmer - query)" delete "query".
Page 130 additions The local organisation chief at Rivesaltes was Simon Bonafos, born 12 August 1890. After " .. and six French boys were picked up." add (including Antoine Gelma, Pierre Gand and Jacques Doquin De Saint-Preux). F/O C D Farmer should read "F/O Clifford D Farmer".
Page 138 correction Delete "(Antonio ... - query)" - the man known as "Antonio" was probably André Pollac aka Sherry.
Page 141 correction I again mention the Vandevoordes as having a 24-year-old son, this time called Jacques. William Boren's report actually says there was a 24-year-old boy called Jacques staying at the house although Jean-Claude has no recollection anyone other than himself living with his parents at the time.
Page 145 add After "Antonio" add (probably André Pollace).
Page 156 add .. by train to Cezy, near Joigny, Yonne .. where they were handed over to clerc d'huissier Louis Cordier to be sheltered at various local addresses.
Page 156 add .. arriving at two o'clock the following morning, their journey delayed because the track had been bombed. They were met at the station by Pierre Charnier who took them to spend the rest of the night at the Grand Hotel de France before going ..
Page 157 add On Friday 1 October, Jean-Claude Camors, Pierre Charnier and Antony-Marie Leriche (of 26 Quai de Paris, Joigny) took all ten airmen ..
Page 159 add On about 20 September, a girl (small, pretty, brunette) .. should read "On about 20 September, Paulette Depesme (small, pretty, brunette) .."
Page 164 f/n amend Mme Jeanne Scheidhauer died on 9 September 1944 in a catastrophic fire inside the Sidi-Carnot bomb-shelter which killed an estimated 370 French civilians and 500 to 600 German soldiers.
Page 166 correction Mme Vve Christine Aimee Magne - should read Mme Vve Christiane Aimee Magne.
Page 167 correction Mme Yvonne de la Marniere - should read Mme Yvonne de La Marnierre.
Page 167 correction (.. brought from Paris by Pierre Charnier the previous day) - should read (.. brought from Paris by Paulette Despesme and Remy Roure the previous day)
Page 167 correction .. and in the ensuing confrontation, Leneveu shot both Camors and Roure .. should read ".. and in the ensuing confrontation, both Camors and and Roure were shot (Leneveu is said to have missed Camors who was then fatally wounded by one of the Germans outside the café)."
Page 167 correction de la Marniere at 17 rue Voltaire. should read " .. de La Marnierre on rue Neptune."
Page 177 add On 23 October, a woman member of the organisation visited .. add (Marie Rose Zerling) visited ..
Page 195 correction Jean Borossi - should read Jean Barrossi
Page 196 correction Pierre Le Mogne and Henri Ruellard (neither found) - should read Henri Ruellard (not found)
Page 196 add Xavier Poincet (aka Francois) .. Martin Mary (aka Jacques)
Page 199 add .. one of the teachers, Mme Marie Droin - should read Mme Marie Ernestine Droin (née Vermot)
Page 202 add .. Mlles Solange and Yvonne Boury (and Jean Bimbault) should read .. (and their cousin Jean Bimbault)
Page 203 correction .. ball-turret gunner and bombardier should read .. ball-turret gunner and radio-operator ..
Page 207 f/n amend According to Gabrielle Wiame the three airmen .. should read "The three airmen were sheltered for six weeks with M et Mme Joseph Chautagnaut at 5 rue Jeanne d'Arc, Paris XIII."
Page 209 I've said that I had no idea who "Mlle Bourgeois" was but now, thanks to Jean Yves Thoroval, I do - her name was Mary Madeleine Davy. So please delete the sentence in the second paragraph beginning "Further research .. "
Page 210 Where it says "Mlle Bourgeois" add (Marie Madeleine Davy), and where it says a guide took Terry and heald to Toulouse, that should read ".. one of Mlle Bourgeois' guides took ..". In the same paragraph, where it says a new lady, delete (Mlle Davy aka Madeleine)
Page 217 add After "Mlle Bourgeois' headquarters .." add (assume rue Racine) - and "On 5 December, Herrick was moved again .." should read "On 5 December, Pierre Le Garrec took Herrick to stay with Rene Chanfreau (of 2 Avenue du General Maistre, Paris XIV) .."
Page 264 Where it says "(other evaders refer to her as Mlle Bourgeois)" add "Marie Madeleine Davy."
Page 265 add .. he [John Carleton] was spotted by a young boy and his mother .. should read ".. was spotted by a young boy named Jeannot Conrath and his widowed mother Marguerite ..". My thanks to John Carleton's son (also named John) for this new information.
Page 280 correction Yves Peron is listed twice, delete second entry - and correct total to read thirty-one people ..
Page 281 correction .. and seven evaders to be taken from Douarnenez .. should read .. from Ile-Tudy, near Quimper ..
Page 294 correction .. and next day, Pierre and Paulette Depesme .. should read ".. and next day, Pierre and a young girl who lived above the Wagners .." and - .. (Remy Roure) should read ".. (Remy Roure, brought to Paris that day from Lyon by Paulette Depesme) .."
Page 296 correction Where it says "Mme Malard Moeul of St Aubin par Plomb, Manche", it should say "Mme Mallard at Saint-Aubin, Malestroit".
Page 312 Where it says "Mme Bourgeois" add "(Marie Madeleine Davy)"
Page 321 add Hoyt reports a boy coming from Brest - add (this was Georges Le Droff)
Page 336 correction Thirty-six-year-old Halleck Hassan .. should read "Thirty-six-year-old Halleck Hasson .."
Page 336 add B-17 42-5746 (99BG/347BS) .. should read .. B-17 42-5746 Stardust (99BG/347BS) ..
Page 370 correction .. local schoolteacher Georges Lemourier should read ".. Georges Le Monnier of 13 rue Bretonnerie .."
Page 370 add .. sheltered on a local farm - add "by Lucien Rahir at Ferme de l'Aunay."
Page 372 add F/Lt Hugh Parry should read "Rhodesian born F/Lt Hugh Parry .. "
Page 382 f/n Delete reference to Hubert Octave Pernot being arrested - the family confirm that he was not
Page 383 amend "She led Yarwood to the fourth-floor apartment of M et Mme Francois Vignal (relatives of the Pernots) .." to "She led Yarwood to the fourth-floor apartment of her sister Johanna and husband Francois Vignal .."
Page 401 add The small village that David Slack was first taken to was Thézy-Glimont, and the gendarme who took Slack back to his home in Saint-Sauflieur was Edouard Robine (thank you Joyce Trousdale and David Tomlinson).
Page 402 correction should read ".. Robine took him [John Avery] back to his home in Saint-Sauflieur." Also, the footnote gives Edouard Robine's (post-war) address as 21 rue Boulet (should be Boullet) in Amiens but Edouard and his wife Antionette actually lived in Saint-Sauflieur during the war.
Page 414 add .. looked after by the woman who was taking care of the house - add "Marcelle Flasch."
Page 417 add .. declared themselves to the proprietor, whose daughter .. should read ".. declared themselves to the proprietor, Julien Castagnino, whose daughter .."
Page 422 correction Georges Prevot (often spelt as Prevost) .. should read "Georges Prevost (often spelt as Prevot) .."
Page 447 add The elderly couple who owned the house .. should read "The elderly couple (M et Mme Alexandre Laclau) who owned the house .."
Page 458 correction .. to crash near Autruy-sur-Joine (Loiret). should read ".. to crash near Autruy-sur-Juine (Loiret)."
Page 473 index In the text (on page 240) I correctly identified B-26 41-34763 radio-operator S/Sgt William K Lahm as being captured but in the index, I have listed him as S/Sgt Richard K Lahm.
Page 428 add .. the florist .. should read " .. the florist (Jean Bovis of rue Matabian) .. "
Page 440 add .. M Blossard (nf) .. should read " .. Henri De Brossard of 7 rue Porte de Crouy .."
I'm sure there will be more corrections and additions but that's all the ones I know about for the moment
I think the cover, created by artist Helen Duffee, deserves special mention - and it seems I'm not alone in that opinion. Here is what Irish solicitor (and budding poet) John Morgan wrote after he bought a copy of the book in April :
"Firstly, I like the title of the book, simple and very evocative. I also liked the cover very much. I may be wrong but what I take from it is a tribute to the remarkable number of women helpers on the line. The embedded text over the background map serves to highlight some of their work; and the silhouette nature of the figures - faceless - reflects that they and other women helpers on Escape Lines have often been effectively hidden while their male comrades have received proportionately more of the credit.
At the bottom of the cover, the paper-chain image speaks to me of the countless (sometimes unknown) numbers of evaders who were helped; the image is also evocative of numbers of faceless/unheralded helpers quietly working together in a chain, each equally supporting and also dependent on each other. In a sense, when you make a paper chain, you are creating a single unit but at the end it reveals itself as many, each standing behind the other, individuals yet indivisible. Maybe that's how it felt to be part of a line, you were on your own in the sense that you may know only one or two other links in the chain but you were still aware of many others out there working to the same goal from which you could draw strength to counter your natural feelings of fear and vulnerability. Very poignant and dignified."