The Comet line (Le Réseau Comète)

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The Comet line (Le Réseau Comète)

#1

Post by Sniper1946 » Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:55 pm

World War II resistance group in Belgium/France which helped Allied soldiers and airmen return to Britain. The line started in Brussels, where the men were fed, clothed and given false identity papers before being hidden in attics and cellars of houses. A network of people guided them south through occupied France into neutral Spain and home via British-controlled Gibraltar.

Routes

A typical route was from Brussels or Lille to Paris and then via Tours, Bordeaux, Bayonne, over the Pyrenees to San Sebastián in Spain. From there evaders travelled to Bilbao, Madrid and Gibraltar. There were three other main routes. The Pat line (after founder Pat O'Leary) ran from Paris to Toulouse via Limoges and then over the Pyrenees via Esterri d'Aneu to Barcelona. Another Pat line ran from Paris to Dijon, Lyons, Avignon to Marseille, then Nîmes, Perpignan and Barcelona. From Barcelona evaders were transported to Gibraltar. Another route from Paris (the Shelburne line) ran to Rennes and then St Brieuc in Brittany, where men were shipped to Dartmouth.
[edit]Creation and exploits

The Comet line was created by a young Belgian woman who joined the Belgian Resistance. Andrée de Jongh (nickname "Dédée") was 20 in 1940 and lived in Brussels. She was the younger daughter of Frédéric de Jongh, a headmaster, and Alice Decarpentrie. Edith Cavell, a British nurse shot in the Tir National in Schaerbeek in 1915 for assisting troops to escape from occupied Belgium to the neutral Netherlands, had been a heroine of Dédée's in her youth.
In August 1941, Andrée de Jongh appeared in the British consulate in Bilbao with a British soldier, James Cromar from Aberdeen, and two Belgian volunteers, Merchiers and Sterckmans, having travelled by train through Paris to Bayonne and then on foot over the Pyrenees. She requested support for her escape network (later named Comet line) from the British military intelligence, granted by MI9, (British Military Intelligence Section 9), under the control of an ex-infantry major, Norman Crockatt and lieutenant James Langley, who had been repatriated after losing his left arm in the rear guard defence of Dunkerque in 1940.

With MI9 she helped 400 Allied soldiers escape from Belgium through occupied France to the British consulate in Madrid and on to Gibraltar. Neave described her as "one of our greatest agents." Later Neave organised gunboats from Dartmouth, Devon, to cross the Channel and run agents and supplies to the French resistance in Brittany and to return escaped POWs and evaders to Britain.
Comet Line members and the families took great risks, De Jongh escorting 118 airmen over the Pyrenees herself.
After November 1942 escape lines became more dangerous when southern France was occupied by the Germans and the whole of France was under Nazi rule. Many members of the Comet line were betrayed, hundreds were arrested by the Geheime Feldpolizei and the Abwehr and after weeks of interrogation and torture at places such as Fresnes Prison in Paris were executed or labelled Nacht und Nebel (NN) prisoners. NN prisoners were deported to German prisons and many later to concentration camps such as Ravensbrück concentration camp for women, Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp, Buchenwald concentration camp, Flossenbürg concentration camp,
Prisoners sent to these camps included Andrée de Jongh, Elsie Maréchal (Belgian Resistance), Nadine Dumon (Belgian Resistance), Mary Lindell (Comtesse de Milleville) and Virginia d'Albert-Lake (American).
The authors of the official history of MI9 cite 2,373 British and Commonwealth servicemen and 2,700 Americans taken to Britain during World War II. The RAF Escaping Society estimated there were 14,000 helpers officially in 1945. The Comet line inspired the 1970s BBC television series, Secret Army (1977–79).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comet_line

Andree de Jongh: Founder of the Comet LineImage
http://womenheroesofwwii.blogspot.co.uk ... -line.html


http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/bene ... comet-line


List of people assisted by the Comet Line
Section A list of airmen past is originally based on the book "Comet" Cecile Jouan.
Section B list is a list of civilians who joined Britain in the same sector,
based on a 'List' exists - archives Comet Comet and Kinship
Section C contains the list of those captured during their escape.
Section D list airmen are hidden until the liberation, mainly in camps of Operation Marathon.


Compiled by the members and leadership of the Association Comet Kinship Belgium,
mainly through the work of research by Peter Clinch and John Verstraeten, Philippe Connart, Edward Renière, Michael and Victor Dricot Schutters
and coordination / edition of Brigitte Oultremont
based on archives comet, Comet Kinship and archival / historical documents, and archives in Belgium, Britain, United States of America, France and the Netherlands.

Since the voluntary departure of MM. Connart, Renière, and Dricot Schutters Association, the research in the archives was greatly diminished on our site and therefore less efficient, since these MM. continue on their own account. Research is a specialty.
The purpose of our Association is especially respect for the memory and spirit of the Line "Comet", and we welcome all interest additional details to supplement the information we provide will allow those interested to we are trying to represent. Our sources are always mentioned with the consent of their original course.
source: http://www.cometeline.org/cometaviateurpasse.html
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Re: The Comet line (Le Réseau Comète)

#2

Post by Sniper1946 » Wed Apr 04, 2012 11:13 pm

Context

In May 1940, after the battle of Dunkirk "Dunkerque", during the rapid advance of the German troops trap in the North of France and in Belgium. Many British soldiers too far away from the ports of the Atlantic and the English Channel, the crews of fell down planes were eager to join England.


The solution consist to transfer them towards the Pyrenees and handover them to the British consular authorities installed in Spain.
But it is necessary to cross occupied France, to cross the line of demarcation clandestinely then the Pyrenees, to reach pro-Franco Spain.
Since 1941, some networks manage to ensure of the passages in spite of controls and investigations of police force, for searching and the infiltrations.
The indiscretions and sometimes denounce constitute additional risks.

From November 1942, with the allied solders combined, the prisoners of French war escaped prisoners and the volunteers were ready to take again the combat in North Africa, those which is added try to be withdrawn from persecutions anti-semites, the requisitions of the Service of Obligatory Work and from the reprisals against the resistant ones.
From now on, forty networks are activated in the Low-Pyrenees, that is to say 150 to 180 frontier runners. Everywhere the difficulties are considerable, including on the Côtes Basque since this zone is occupied the end of June 1940. The movement of the people is supervised on all the transportation routes, particularly in station of Bayonne.

Comet: first steps, first events…

In the beginning of 1941 in Belgium, Andrée de Jongh, a 24 year old young girl, and his compatriot Arnold Deppé, sound engineer of the firm of Gaumont cinema who worked on the Côtes Basque, decide to create one escape line via Pyrenees.
The assistance that they already bring to the soldiers to guarantee their clandestinity appears insufficient to them. In May, Arnold Deppé is put in liaison with one Belgium family Me. Greef of Brussels refuge at Anglet.

There, his prewar knowledge recommends it to Spanish republicans having fled the pro-Franco mode.
Through them, shelterers and a frontier runner are recruited.
At the end of July 1941, in order to organize the reception of the escaped prisoners beyond the Pyrenees, Andrée de Jongh cross the border.
She goes to the British Consulate of Bilbao.

With perseverance and self possesstion, she persuades the interlocutors of the viability of his project. The network Comet can enter in action.
She starts with four stages. Those of Belgium and North recovers the candidates with the passage.

Those of Paris ensures their routing towards Western South. That of the Côtes Basque prepares and carries out the transfer

Finally that of Spain, hides the escaped prisoners while waiting to handover to the allied the diplomatic services and occasionally lodge persons in charge ofComet on mission.
During the summer 1941, with one of the first convoys, Arnold Deppé is arrested. The hard blows follow one another in 1942 (sectors Belgium and Paris) and 1943.
January 15, 1943 in Urrugne, Andrée de Jongh is apprehended in her turn in company of three aviators to the farm “ Bidegain Berri”.
The owner, Francha Usendizaga, and his farm laborer, Juan Larburu originating in Hernani, will die in deportation. However, this organization continues to function efficiently until June 1944.
http://www.comete-bidassoa.com/uk_mn.htm :thumpsup:
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Re: The Comet line (Le Réseau Comète)

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Post by Heinrich » Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:59 am

Unfortunately I havent got a name to go with it but this bar belonged to a Belgian 'Comète' member .. :salute:

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Henk
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Re: The Comet line (Le Réseau Comète)

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Post by Sniper1946 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 12:07 pm



The Comet Line was set up in 1941 by Andrée de Jongh (known as "Dédée"), a 24 year old Belgian woman. Its aim was to repatriate Allied aircrew who had been shot down over the Low Countries.

The airmen were collected in Holland, Belgium and N France and were taken usually to Brussels where they would be kitted out with civilian clothes and false papers. They would then take a train to Paris for onward passage to the French Basque country. Once there, they would cross the Pyrenees by night. In Spain, the British Consular staff from Bilbao would pick them up for a long car journey to Gibraltar and home.

The Geneva Convention applied only to military forces so that all the grisly measures available to the security forces of the Third Reich could be applied to anyone helping the airmen to evade capture. Around 2,000 people are estimated to have helped Comet - these are just some of them. 287 aviators made a "home run" via Gibraltar and several hundred others evaded capture.

In order of appearance:
Andrée de Jongh 00:16
Co-founder of Comet Line. http://www.cometeline.org/cometorgnam...
Arnold Deppé 00:22
Co-founder of Comet Line.
Pierre Aguirre 00:28
Passeur Pays Basque
Marthe Mendiara 00:33
Café Larre, Sutar. Sheltered 150 airmen.
"Be" Johnson 00:38
Englishman who lived with de Greef family. http://home.clara.net/clinchy/johnson...
Robert Aylé 00:44
Safe house in Paris. Shot Mont Valérien 28 Mar '44.
Jean de Blommaert 00:49
http://www.rafinfo.org.uk/rafescape/f...
Frédéric de Jongh 00:55
Dédee's father and organiser in Paris.Shot Mont Valérien 28 Mar '44. http://www.cometeline.org/cometorgnam...
Jean-François Nothomb - "Franco" 1:00
Succeeded Dedee in France. Arrested 18 January 1944. Survived several Nazi concentration camps.
http://www.cometeline.org/cometfranco...
de Greef family 1:06
based at Anglet, Pays Basque. Father Fernand worked as interpreter for Germans, Elvire - "Tante Go" - ran Comet South. Children Freddie and Jeanine.
Florentino Goicoechea 1:11
Legendary Basque guide.
http://theescapeline.blogspot.fr/2012...
"Nadine" et "Michou" 1:17
http://www.edenbridgetown.com/in_the_...
http://home.clara.net/clinchy/bulleti...
Elvire de Greef - "Tante Go" 1:22
Awarded the George Medal. Driving force behind Comet South. Never arrested.
http://www.edenbridgetown.com/in_the_...
Henriette Hanotte - "Monique"1:28
Belgian Frontier-Paris Comete guide.
Jean-Edouard Dassié 1:33
Safe house. Arrested in March '43. Deported to Buchenwald. Died in Paris on Liberation.
Marthe-Céline Dassié 1:39
Wife of Jean-Edouard. Arrested in Mar '43; Deported to Ravensbrück. Died shortly after returning home.
Comte Antoine d'Ursel - "Jacques Cartier" 1:44
Drowned in River Bidassoa 24th Dec '43.
Katalin Aguirre 1:50
Safe house at Ciboure (near St Jean-de-Luz). Never arrested.
"Michou" 1:55
http://www.omsa.org/files/Verstraeten...
Lucienne Dassié - "Lulu" 2:01
Guide. Arrested age 16. Deported to Buchenwald. Returned home after the war. Lives in Bayonne.
Amanda Stassart 2:07
Guide.
http://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines....
"Tante Go" & "Max" Roger 2:12
Jacques Le Grelle - "Jérome" 2:17
Comte Jacques Legrelle (aka Jerome), organised and operated line in the Paris area, linked the Belgium part of line to South of France. Was captured, tortured, sent to concentration camps and survived. Awarded the George Medal.
Frantxua Uzandizagak 2:23
Ran last safe house in France. arrested with Dédée in Jan '43. Died at Ravensbrück just before liberation;
Andrée de Jongh 2:29

Received many post-war honours incl. George Medal, the Medal of Freedom, Chevalier Légion d'Honneur, Chevalier of the Order of Leopold, received the Belgian Croix de Guerre/Oorlogskruis with palm, and was granted the honorary rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the Belgian Army. In 1985, she was made a countess in the Belgian nobility. . Trained as nurse and left for Africa where she nursed lepers for 30 years before returning to Belgium in ill-health. She died 13th October 2007 aged 90.

More info here:
http://www.cometeline.org/
http://www.belgiumww2.info/
http://www.ww2escapelines.co.uk/escap...
http://www.evasioncomete.org/
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Re: The Comet line (Le Réseau Comète)

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Post by Sniper1946 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 12:10 pm

http://www.comete-bidassoa.com/fr_resume.htm

After the arrest of Arnold Deppé she runs only organization Comet network . Sought by the Gestapo in Belgium, she moved to Valenciennes



http://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.co ... au-comete/

WWII Netherlands Escape Lines
Researching the aid given to downed Allied airmen by the Resistance during World War II in The Netherlands, Belgium, and France
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Re: The Comet line (Le Réseau Comète)

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Post by Sniper1946 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 12:10 pm

http://www.praats.be/comete.htm

rea: Belgium + Contacts in Netherlands - Escape Route by France to Spain - by Comete were 706 pilots and 64 straight travelers transferred. The line Tourcoing - Roubaix was infiltrated by the duo The Sofa and Giralt and Jacques Desoubrie which have caused much damage to the net.
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Re: The Comet line (Le Réseau Comète)

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Post by Sniper1946 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 12:12 pm

134-ad: Comet Network: Adventure in Paris
Comet Network:
an incredible adventure in Paris

by Andrée Dumon aka "Nadine"
Lieutenant ARA Network Comet

My father, Eugene Dumon, was one of the leaders of Luc Network. At first I'm active, but in December 1941, I put myself at the service of Andrée De Jongh's Comet Network escorting illegal from Brussels to Paris, do not hesitate to also take away the secret mail. Between trips, "Nadine", my nickname, would look for hidden at various locations in Brussels and took care of their accommodation airmen. Do not forget that these "foreigners" practiced very little French language ...

Here is one of my adventures for the less incredible: we did not have cold feet, we were young and desperate to achieve our full mission.En July 1942 I arrived in Paris around 7 am with my two airmen. In a hotel room, I found Mr. De Jongh waiting for us with hot coffee and croissants, what a luxury for us all. After the breakfast, he asked me to lead them to a place of rendezvous in front of a subway where "Jane" would care.

We left quite tired: we traveled by train standing in the hallway for lack of space and the trip lasted more than eight hours ... if all went well. I always traveling in third class and night because we noticed there was less.

After a quarter of an hour wait instead for the appointment, still no "Jane" on the horizon. We are about to leave when two German officers darken right at us. They are accompanied by a beautiful girl. Arrived at our height, they leave it to the subway entrance. But the girl comes to us with his best smile and asked one of my boys it was not a room to call. I speak, as a jealous woman and throws left Henry, I have one and I tend to this too beautiful girl ... which in turn flows into the subway.

The senses, I had this terrible feeling of being spied upon and inform somehow my American who knew a hint of French. For my part, the language of Shakespeare was not at that time my cup of tea.

He laughed at me and said, we do not see a thriller, you know miss "I told him that this is possible, but we can not stay here any longer" Jeanne "should have been there already... But for me this young man peeking in the corner watching us ...
So we are and nobody seems to follow us. The young "boy" mocks me. We continue our way and the first section, we perceive to the other end of the street. My Airman apologize and urge not. I quickly removed my cape. This gives me another look without getting too many illusions. American A long, thin and lanky, with a Australian bush out of his weathered face adorned with a mustache Merovingian and sporting a haircut out of fashion and among them a no higher than an apple girl, now there's an odd trio who could go unnoticed.

We reach the second section and note with anguish that comes dangerously close to the unknown. We therefore put to run and get on the wide boulevard Saint Michel near the Luxembourg Gardens where we rush.

I see on my left a small stone in which are stored the tools and other plant waste. We are hiding. It was time between the unknown turn in the garden and continue straight. Through a small hole in the wall, we observe: it stops and we insistently seeks to eventually disappear from our view. My impressions were justified: in fear and after a long time, we decided to leave our hiding place.
No way for us to return to our starting point in the morning. We could have followed since then and that was endangering not only my job but also all the escape network.

I had an emergency address. After incredible precautions we take the nearby metro to get there. We returned last. Finally arrived near our home base, I asked "my" men pacing around. I ring. "Madeleine" opens me and said: especially do not come here with them, the Germans came last night in the apartment above and one below, so that it could return tonight.

Fortunately I get the address of an attic where my protected can spend the night. "Someone" will look for the next day. We are moving towards this new drop point. I still remember after all these years. It was a Monday in Paris and everything was closed from Friday evening to Tuesday morning.

Arrived in our attic, I found the chocolate powder, milk powder, biscuits and sugar. The place was indeed precarious. I prepared for them hot chocolate and invites them to eat crackers. There is nothing else tonight. Above all, they can not go out and have to wait to be picked up. We had not eaten since morning croissants. For my part, I thought little room. But these powerful men to be hungry. They do not say anything too happy to be quiet and to consider a peaceful night.

In my case, it was unthinkable that the girl I was sleeping in the same room. I said goodbye and left with friends who had nothing to do with the resistance, but the network used for always willing to accommodate us.

Once in the street, the danger was even more now because there was "curfew" and the time was largely exceeded. I stopped in the street by French gendarmes who want to take me to the station.

Here I am begging their indulgence with force smiles, explaining that I was retarded with my boyfriend. And if my parents taught, I would have big problems especially as I was very late. I still see my police hesitate, then melting tenderness probably listening to the blue flower next to my story. They smile and invite me to go swiftly.

The next morning at dawn I resumed the direction of Brussels ready to return to Paris soon. I was not to see my French police, but I was happy to learn that after the war, my two boys had arrived safely in England and had been performing other missions. -
POSTED BY RUSRA - KUIAD AT 9:07
source: http://souvenirs-de-resistants.blogspot ... paris.html
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Re: The Comet line (Le Réseau Comète)

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Post by Sniper1946 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:37 pm

The Pat O'Leary (or PAO) Escape Line

Some of what follows may be obtained from the literature and the general story well known but it is still very difficult to give an overall impression of the way the PAO or Pat Line operated, not the least because it was continually changing. Most books on the subject are littered with random stories of individual events and so my research is aimed at putting these into perspective and adding useful detail. By examining all the literature and comparing it with official records, as well as comparing notes with other researchers and talking to some of the surviving personnel, I have been able to build up a more comprehensive appreciation of the way the Pat Line evolved.
Read more: http://www.conscript-heroes.com/Pat-Line.html#TopPage
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Re: The Comet line (Le Réseau Comète)

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Post by Sniper1946 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:38 pm

Escapers, Evaders & Their Helpers, World War ll

Television Documentary Proposal 1984 for 1985

The following are notes made in 1983 and 1984 from information supplied by Elizabeth Harrison of the Royal Air Forces Escaping Society. In 1984 Christopher Long submitted a formal proposal, based on these notes and others, for a TV documentary about Escapers, Evaders and their Helpers in wartime Europe, 1940-45. The idea of marking the 40th Anniversary of the RAFES was not accepted, despite the fact that the escapers, evaders and helpers were already vanishing fast. Fifteen years later, in 2000, a number of TV documentaries on this and related subjects appeared, but by this time there were very few witnesses still alive to tell their tales.
http://www.christopherlong.co.uk/oth/rafes.html
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