Private Leonard Arlington


National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3324/45


Name: 6203442 Pte. Arlington, Leonard.

Unit: 2nd Middlesex Regiment, attached 3rd Infantry Division.

Left: France, 12th August 1944.

Arrived: U.K., 12th August 1944.

Date of Birth: 12th March 1920.

Army Service: Since 7th May 1937.

Peacetime Profession: -.

Private Address: 26, Union Road, Clapham Road, London, S.W.9.


I was captured at FURNES (N.W. EUROPE, 1:250,000, Sheet 2, H 48) on 1 Jun 40.


I was sent to a P/W assembly centre at DIXMUDE (H 58) and we then set out on foot for WAVRE (Sheet 3, J 74) which we reached about five days later.


About 13 miles East of WAVRE I escaped from the column of march. I returned to WAVRE, where I went to see the Mayor. He gave me a map of the surrounding countryside and advised me to return to DUNKIRK. I walked to BERCHEM (J 05), where I was prevented from going further by German troops who were guarding the canal. I then walked to ORROIR (J 04) where I met a woman who gave me a bicycle. Here I received information that DUNKIRK had been evacuated.


I cycled to GONDECOURT and arrived there on 1 Jul. I remained in this village for about a year, and most of the time I spent with my original helper. During the year I went to LILLE and HAISNES (H 52) trying to get in touch with individuals or organisations who would help me to return to the U.K. All the helpers I contacted with this object in view proved to be enemy agents.


About Jun 41 I went to live with another helper in CHEMY (H 6325). I remained here for about a year. About the end of 41 a man, who claimed to be a fighter pilot and an Intelligence agent, came to see me. This man (name unknown) spoke no English. During the course of conversation I found that he dud not even know the number of machine guns on a Hurricane. He told me that I was to be returned to the U.K. by air, and said I must leave my helper's house and go with him. When I refused, he left. He returned later that night with about 20 German soldiers and surrounded the house. I escaped via the roof. My host and hostess were caught and served three years' and one year's imprisonment, respectively.


Until the autumn of 1942 I moved about in the district staying with several different people for short periods. Towards the end of 1942 I went to stay with some people (names unknown) in PROVINS (H 5824) who said they could arrange my journey to SPAIN. Nothing came of this.


I have nothing to relate until Jun 44, nor am I able to give a detailed account of my movements until that date. I just moved about in the district never staying more than a few days or weeks at any one address.


In Jun 44 I was put in touch with the local resistance movement, and until Allied troops arrived in ANNOEULLIN on 1 Sep 44 I worked with the F.F.I. I went thence to TOURNAI, where I reported to an Intelligence officer in the Green Howards. I made my own way to LILLE from whence I was sent to PARIS. Here I was interrogated by I.S.9 (W.E.A.). I left PARIS by air for the U.K. on 12 Sep.


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