Private J. Farrell

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3307/12

 

Name: 2819021 Pte. Farrell, J.

Unit: 2nd Seaforth Highlanders, 51st (Highland) Division.

Captured: St. Valery-sur-Somme, 12th June 1940.

Escaped: Renaix, 28th Jun 1940.

Left: Gibraltar, 30th December 1941.

Arrived: Gourock, 4th January 1942.

Army Service: 9 years, 8 months.

Peacetime Profession: Furnaceman.

Private Address: 24 Turner Street, Coatbridge, Lanarkshire.

 

I was captured with my unit at ST. VALERY-SUR-SOMME on the afternoon of 12 Jun 40. After capture we were marched to ROUEN, DOULLENS, ST POL, BETHUNE, SECLIN, and REMAIX en route for GERMANY. I escaped on 28 Jun near RENAIX by running into a cornfield. With me were Pte BUTTERS, F., 2 Seaforths, (S/P.G.(B)414) and Pte TEMPERLEY, I., 4 Seaforths, (S/P.G.(B)209). They remained with me for 10 days, when we separated outside LILLE. After we had escaped we went to a small farm, where we got civilian clothes, food, cigarettes, and a small map. We then made our way to WATERLOO, where we decided that it was too dangerous to go further together and split up. I made my way to the neighbourhood of DOULLENS, and for two months from the middle of Jul I worked on farms there.

 

I then decided to make for Unoccupied France and went on foot to AMIENS, where I swam the canal at night, PARIS, CHATEAUDUN, and BLOIS. I went on to BLERE and crossed the Line of Demarcation at a small village near the town (21 Oct) by swimming the river. I had a sack in which I carried my few belongings and any food that was given to me. I carried my clothes across the river in this sack. I went into a wood after crossing the river and went to a farm house. The people were nervous of having me, but gave me a night's shelter. Next morning they gave me the address of another farmer near the village of CLERE (?). He gave me food and 500 frs and sent me to CHATEAUROUX (22 Oct). From there I went by train to LYONS, where I visited the U.S. Consulate who sent me along with 23 others to MARSEILLES. In MARSEILLES I was arrested and interned in FORT ST JEAN.

 

The inmates of FORT ST JEAN were all transferred to ST HIPPOLYTE early in Jan 41. I made three unsuccessful attempts to get away from ST. HIPPOLYTE. The first was in Apr when I got as far as LOURDES and was arrested and taken back to the camp. The second was at the end of May when I bent the bars of the dining hall window and got out. I was caught at once and got 14 days imprisonment. I made the third attempt in Jun without any premeditation. A horse broke loose and the guard left his post to try to catch it. While he was away I jumped a wall and went to the barn of a farm near the camp. The farmer, after promising to help me, betrayed me to the gendarmes and I was taken to the local prison. There I was beaten up by the gendarmes, who accused me of having bribed the guard and questioned me about where I was going and about the addresses I was making for. I was then sent back to the camp, where I received a month's imprisonment.

 

On 1 Sep I got out of ST HIPPOLYTE for the fourth time along with Pte. MACRAE, Cameron Hrs. We went to a small house 5 km. outside NIMES, the address of which we had been given in the camp. Pte CLARKE, J.T. (S/P.G.(F)655) joined us here next day. At this house we picked up a guide who took us to NIMES. On the next stage of our journey MACRAE was captured at NARBONNE station while we were changing trains. CLARKE and I continued with the guide to PERPIGNAN and CANET PLAGE. After eight days there we returned to NIMES and went by bys to PRATS DE MOLLO. A Spanish guide took us up the PYRENEES until we were within sight of SPAIN. After pointing out our route he left us, and we walked along to BARCELONA. We had no map and followed the signposts on the road, walking by day and part of the night and feeding on fruit we picked on the way. We reached BARCELONA on 18 Sep and reported at the British Embassy. We were taken by car to MADRID on 5 Oct. I was sent on to GIBRALTAR on 5 Nov.

 

 

Private J. T. Clarke

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3307/11

 

Name: 2755185 Pte. Clarke, J.T.

Unit: 1st Black Watch, 51st (Highland) Division.

Captured: St. Valery-en-Caux, 12th June 1940.

Escaped: Near St. Pol, 24th Jun 1940.

Left: Gibraltar, 30th December 1941.

Arrived: Gourock, 4th January 1942.

Army Service: 2 years, 7 months.

Peacetime Profession: Miner.

Private Address: 21, Back Street, Methil, Fife.

 

I was captured with my unit at ST VALERY-EN-CAUX on 12 Jun 40. We were marched first to ROUEN (14 Jun) and then to DOULLENS (23 Jun). I escaped about seven kilometres from ST. POL on 24 Jun with two other privates from my unit whom I have not seen since Jun 40. After escape we hid in a belfry, where we waited till the column had gone past. Then we got into a field and ran through a wood to a farm, where we got food, and on to another house, where we were provided with civilian clothes. We then began to walk towards the coast, but after some time we met two men of the Cameron Hrs., who said there was no hope of getting away that way. I then went on alone on a stolen bicycle to WAVRIN, South-west of LILLE, and remained there from the middle of Jul to the middle of Sep. I lived the whole of this time in one house, with friends I had made when billeted in WAVRIN, except for the last week, when I moved to another address after having been warned that it was dangerous to stay in the town. I was then take to LILLE to the house where Capt. MURCHIE was living. I was there a week, and during that time met Lieut. LANGLEY, J.M., M.C., (S/P.G.(B)213).

 

At the end of that time I travelled by train with Capt. MURCHIE and Sgt. CLAYTON from LILLE to PARIS. There a French officer took me alone by train to CASTILLON, near the Line of Demarcation East of BORDEAUX. We took a bus to a place on the actual boundary and crossed the river by boat.

 

After crossing into UNOCCUPIED FRANCE we went to PERIGUEUX where I was detained by gendarmes and taken to MARSEILLES and interned in FORT ST. JEAN. I was in hospital for some time and one of my toes was operated on.

 

In Jan 41 I made two unsuccessful attempts to get out of FRANCE and got as far as the Spanish border. I was then transferred to ST. HIPPOLYTE, where I remained till 2 Sep. I then escaped and joined Pte FARRELL, J., (S/P.G.(B)654) in NIMES. From this point my narrative corresponds with his. We reached MADRID on 5 Oct and I was kept in the Embassy till 8 Dec owing to some confusion on the part of the Spanish authorities about my name. I was then sent to GIBRALTAR.

 

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