Private R. Dunbar

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3307/72

 

Name: 2879107

Unit: 1st Battalion The Gordon Highlanders, 51st (Highland) Division.

Captured: 12th June 1940.

Escaped: 14th February 1941.

Left: Gibraltar, 20th October 1941.

Arrived: Greenock, 26th October 1941.

Army Service: 5 years.

Peacetime Profession: Labourer.

Private Address: 171 West North Street, Aberdeen, Scotland.

 

I was captured at ST. VALERY on 12 JUN 40 and was marched via ST. POL to BETHUNE. We reached BETHUNE on 20 JUN and I escaped in company with Ptes. HARPER, A. (S/P.G.(F)302) and WESTLAND, S. (S/P.G.(F)429).

 

We fell out on the road and hid behind some houses until the column was past. The inmates then gave us civilian clothes, and we walked back 8 miles to AUCHEL. We all separated in AUCHEL but I used often to see HARPER and WESTLAND until I was recaptured.

 

I spent 3 months at AUCHEL as the guest of a cafe proprietor, but a Polish girl, whose name I do not know, told a German officer that I was English. I was arrested about 20 SEP. and taken to LILLE where I was tried for attempted sabotage. I was acquitted on this charge, but was sentenced to undergo 4 months solitary confinement for having escaped. I was taken to STUTTGART in a cattle-truck and driven to a camp a few miles outside the city. I never knew its name [Note: A comment in the margin suggests that the camp could be Stalag VC]. I was in solitary confinement until the end of JAN 41 and had no chance to escape. When my sentence expired I found that the camp was full of French prisoners and that the only other Englishman was Pte. HERRING, R., R.C.Sigs. (escape recorded from FRONT STALAG 190: date unknown). He had a French wife, a school-teacher, living near LILLE and she had been arrested by the Germans.

 

The camp was so well-guarded by wire and M.G. posts that we planned to escape while we were working outside it. We made a dash for it on 14 FEB., during the afternoon, while we were shovelling coal in a rly. siding and ran along a short curving tunnel to avoid the fire of our guards. We were fired at, but at the far end of the tunnel, we hid in an air-raid shelter until dark. We boarded a goods train, having no idea where it was going, and hid in a truck. In the morning we slipped off and found ourselves in HOLLAND. I cannot remember where we left the train, but we spent some weeks wandering across HOLLAND and BELGIUM. We reached LILLE on 12 APRIL and HERRING left me to look for his wife.

 

I went on along to AUCHEL where I found that my host and hostess of the previous year had been sentenced to 7 years imprisonment each for harbouring me. I returned to BETHUNE, where another cafe proprietress, who knew about this, nevertheless gave me shelter and clothes and procured false identity papers for me. I stayed with her for some days. On 20 APR. I left by train for PARIS assisted by a French guide. I do not know his name. I stayed 12 days in PARIS and then went down to DOMPIERRE, where I crossed the demarcation line on 2 MAY with the aid of a butcher's assistant. After crossing the line I was directed to MONTLUCON, where I was arrested and sent to ST. HIPPOLYTE.

 

I escaped from ST. HIPPOLYTE on 7 MAY but was recaptured 3 days later and given 14 days imprisonment. Early in JUNE I escaped again and got as far as NARBONNE, where I was recaptured at the beginning of July. This time I was given 30 days' imprisonment.

 

On 17 Aug I escaped with Gnr. BADMAN, A.V. (S/P.G.(F)586) by sawing through the bars of a room near the dining-hall. We were directed to NINES, PERPIGNAN, and BANYULS. From BANYULS we crossed the PYRENEES in a party of seven, not including a Spanish guide. It took 3 days and 2 nights to cross because the guide missed the way twice. The others who were guided across were:

 

L/Cpl WARNETT, H.J. (S/P.G.(-)585)

Dvr. DULAN, J. (S/P.G.( )591)

Cpl. MONAGHAN, H. (S/P.G.(F)583)

Dvr. OWER, D. (S/P.G.(F)589)

Pte. WINSLADE, W. (S/P.G.(F.584)

Gnr. BADMAN, A.V. (S/P.G.(F)586)

 

On 27 Aug. we were arrested at FIGUREAS and sent to a concentration camp at MIRANDA. I was released on 14 OCT. and taken to GIBRALTAR.

 

 

Lance-Corporal H. J. Warnett

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3307/68

 

Name: 1421708 L/Cpl. Warnett, H.J.

Unit: Corps of Military Police, attached II Army Corps H.Q.

Left: 20th October 1941 (Gibraltar)

Arrived: 26th October 1941 (Greenock)

Army Service: 3½ years.

Peacetime Profession: A.A. Patrol.

Private Address: 131, Junction Road, Burgess Hill, Brighton.

 

I was being searched by a German soldier near HARDINGHEN, 25 km. N.E. of BOULOGNE, on 22 May, 40, when a comrade fired at my captor. I bolted through hedges and across fields into the village, and on the way I encountered the man who had fired at my captor. He was wounded in the chest and his name was ANDERSON, a private in, I think, the Ox. & Bucks. Lt. Infy. We were given shelter at a farm where my friend was put to bed. The next morning I was given civilian clothes and made my escape. My hosts on the previous night promised to look after my comrade who was too ill to come away too.

 

I trekked to BOULOGNE, ST. VALERY, ETAPLES, ST. OMER, thence to the SOMME which I crossed near AMIENS. After these wanderings I went to PARIS and made for the demarcation line, which I crossed on 12 Aug. at ST. AGAN. I had no guide, but I was often given small sums of money. I never remembered the people's names.

 

I proceeded to CHATEAUROUX and MONTAUBAN (20 Aug.). I worked as a porter and kitchen hand at the HOTEL DU MIDI at MONTAUBAN for a year. Then I went to PERPIGNAN via NARBONNE and was helped by the organization to cross the PYRENEES on 27 Aug. 41. We were a party of seven, not including the guide. (For details of the composition of party see report of 2879107, Pte. DUNBAR, R. - S/P.G.(C)581.)

 

I was arrested near FIGUREAS and imprisoned first there, and afterwards in BARCELONA, SARAGOSSA and MIRANDA. At MIRANDA I spent 5½ weeks. I was released and sent to GIBRALTAR in the middle of Oct., and sailed for home on 20 Oct.

 

 

Driver J. D. Dolan

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3307/62

 

Name: 7884013 Dvr. Dolan J.D.

Unit: 38th Field Company, R.E.

Captured: July 1940.

Escaped: July 1940.

Left: Gibraltar, 18th October 1941.

Arrived: U.K.

Army Service: 5 years, 8 months.

Peacetime Profession: Chauffeur.

Private Address: 187 Fountainbridge, Edinburgh.

 

I was captured at ALENÇON in JULY 40, by a German motor-cycle detachment, while on my way to ROUEN. My wallet and paybook were taken off me. I was marched some 6 miles to a village, but escaped that night and was given a lift in a car, by two priests, back to ALENÇON. Here I got rid of my uniform, took a bicycle and made for ROUEN. I was later recaptured at LISIEUX and put in the Caserne, which held 2,000 French soldiers. I exchanged my civilian clothes with one of these for his French uniform. Two nights later I climbed over the barrack wall and made for EVEREUX but was again picked up and rejoined a group of French P/W with whom I was marched to and placed in CASERNE 43 at CAEN. I escaped that night in civilian clothes but was re-arrested and lodged in the Caserne HAMELIN. I remained here for three weeks and in AUG. finally got clear away and remained in hiding in the district until NOV., when I set out with a guide and, after many delays, reached LA ROCHELLE. An attempt to get off in a fishing boat fell through and I then went to TOURS, from where I was taken by train to BLÈRÈ and guided across the line of demarcation. On 8 JAN. I arrived in MONTAUBAN, where I was directed to a refugee camp for Spaniards and Alsatians. I remained here for some while with WARNETT (S/P.G. 585). The organization helped me to escape and I was conducted through PERPIGNAN and CANET PLAGE over the Pyrenees to GERONA. Here I was arrested and spent 7 weeks in Spanish prisoners before release and repatriation.

 

 

Corporal H. Monaghan

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3307/70

 

Name: 2750391 Cpl. Monaghan, H.

Unit: 1 Bn. Black Watch, 51 Div.

Captured: 12th June 1940.

Escaped: 10th July 1940.

Left: Gibraltar, 20th October 1941.

Arrived: Greenock, 26th October 1941.

Army Service: 14 years.

Peacetime Profession: Bus Conductor.

Private Address: 49, Burnside Street, Lochee, Dundee, Scotland.

 

I was captured at ST. VALERY on 12 Jun. 40 after being slightly wounded in the chest. I made my first get-away that night but was too exhausted to go far. I was recaptured and marched with the others through ROUEN and ABBEVILLE to DOULLENS where, on 21st Jun, I was sent to hospital for 3 days. My wound was not attended to but the rest made me well. I was discharged on 24 Jun and sent to a prison camp in a farm French arty barracks at SENLIS on 25 Jun. There were only two other English there - a father and son. I don't recall the name.

 

I escaped on 10 Jul. while I was in a working party pulling dead cattle out of the SEINE. My German guard - age 19 - was friendly and sentimental, and I was able to fool him. I hid in a wood until dark and then made for PARIS on foot.

 

I reached PARIS on 14 Jul. CHARTERS on 17 Jul, LE MANS on 20 Jul and BLOIS on 24 Jul. My boots gave out on the last part of this tramp and I walked barefoot. I was befriended at BLOIS by a family of refugee POLES, who showed me where to swim the LOCRE if necessary. I tried first to cross the bridges at SALLES, but the sentry turned me back. I said I was going to fetch my papers but I had none and I therefore swam across where I had been shown. I was nearly drowned. This was on 27 Jul.

 

I walked to CHATELLERAULT, which I reached on 3 Aug. Then I went through LIMOGES, TULLE and MILLAU. I was arrested at GIGNAC, near MONTPELLIER, late in Aug. and lodged for 2 days in the common jail.

 

I escaped from my cell and came to MONTPELLIER on 27 Aug. I walked to MARSEILLES and saw the American Consul, but I was arrested and interned at FORT ST. JEAN from 1 Sep. 40 to 7 Jan 41. I escaped in Dec. 40 from FORT ST. JEAN and I got to CERBERE but a guide to whom I had paid 500 frs in PERPIGNAN in return for a promise to take me across the mountain ran away with my money and I was recaptured. I was removed to ST. HIPPOLYTE on 7 Jan. 41. and escaped on 16 Aug. by crawling through the sawn bars of a window in the dining hall.

 

I was taken in hand at this stage by the organization and guided across the PYRENEES in a party of seven made up as follows:-

 

L/Cpl WARNETT, H.J. (S/P.G.(-)585)

Dvr. DOLAN, J. (S/P.G.( )591)

Dvr. OWER, D. (S/P.G.(F)583)

Pte. WINSLADE, W. (S/P.G.(F.584)

Gnr. BADMAN, A.V. (S/P.G.(F)586)

Pte. DUNBAR, R. (S/P.G.(G)581)

 

I was arrested near GERONA and imprisoned first at FIGUREAS, then at BARCELONA, and finally at MIRANDA. I was released in the middle of Oct. and taken to GIBRALTAR.

 

 

Driver D. Ower

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3307/64

 

Name: 87474 Dvr. Ower, D.

Unit: R.A.S.C., 153 F.A.D., 51st (Highland) Division

Captured: 12th June 1940.

Escaped: 27th June 1940.

Left: Gibraltar, 21st October 1941.

Arrived: Greenock, 26th October 1941.

Army Service: 3 years.

Peacetime Profession: Jute Spinner.

Private Address: 37, Pole Park Road, Dundee, Scotland.

 

I was captured on 12 Jun. 40 at ST. VALERY and was marched through ABBEVILLE and St. POL towards BETHUNE. I escaped at AUCHEL, 3 miles from BETHUNE, on 27 Jun 40, in company with 112276 Dvr. McFarlane, F, whom I last sat at MARSEILLES in Jan 41. (He was reported to be serving a sentence of one year's imprisonment at PERPIGNAN, but may now be at ST. HIPPOLYTE). We hid in a cornfield and then walked to BEUVRY, 1 km from BETHUNE.

 

At BEUVRY we lived for over 4 months with a family which eventually put us in touch with the organization which arranged our escape. We were passed on to other families in BETHUNE, LILLE, LOOS and ROUBAIX. We were provided with false identity papers, and with 80 frs each.

 

We crossed the Zone Interdite at AMIENS about 12 Jan. 41. and the Demarcation Line at BOURGES during the night of 13/14 Jan. We had a guide each time. We went to MARSEILLES on 14 Jan by train.

 

I was arrested at MARSEILLES and sent to ST HIPPOLYTE, where I spent 6 months. I escaped alone in the middle of July by sawing through an iron bar in the dining hall window. I spent 3 weeks in MONTPELLIER and CANET - PLAGE (12 kms. from PERPIGNAN), acting under instructions, and then joined up with some others who had escaped after me. There were:

 

Gnr. BADMAN, A.V. (S/P.G.(F)586)

L/Cpl WARNETT, H.J. (S/P.G.(-)585)

Dvr. DOLAN, J. (S/P.G.( )591)

Cpl. MONAGHAN, H. (S/P.G.(F)583)

Pte. WINSLADE, W. (S/P.G.(F.584)

Pte. DUNBAR, R. (S/P.G.(G)581)

 

We crossed the PYRENEES on 24 Aug with the aid of a guide and were interned at MIRANDA after being arrested at FIGUERAS. Our internment lasted 5 weeks.

 

 

Private W. Winslade

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3307/69

 

Name: 4693383 Pte. Winslade, W.

Unit: King's Yorkshire Light Infantry, 46th Division

Captured: 9th June 1940.

Escaped: 16th June 1940.

Left: Gibraltar, 20th October 1941.

Arrived: Greenock, 26th October 1941.

Army Service: 2 years.

Peacetime Profession: Labourer.

Private Address: 9/4 St. Philipis Road, Sheffield, 3, Yorks.

 

I was captured near ROUEN on 9 Jun by German tanks. Our anti-tank gun was knocked out. I was marched through ST. POL to AUCHEL where I fell out and made for the coast. I think this was on 16 JUN. There seemed no chance of crossing the CHANNEL and I decided to make for SPAIN. I walked to TOURS, sleeping in woods and fields and crossed the demarcation line unaided late in Aug. at BLERE. I was arrested a few hours later by a gendarme and taken to CHATEAUOUX.

 

I was sent to FORT ST. JEAN and removed to ST. HIPPOLYTE about the beginning of Nov. I escaped on 6 Aug. 41. through the window of the dining-hall in which a bar had been sawn. I was accompanied by:-

 

2750391 Cpl. MONAGHAN, H. (S/P.G.(F)583)

A.U.S.402007 P.S. ROBERTS, C.A. (S/P.G.(-)561)

553501 Sgt. BURRIDGE, J. (S/P.G.(-)562)

1520790 Gnr. LIDDLE, C.A. (S/P.G.(B)524)

 

I was taken in hand by the organization and directed first to NIMES, then to BANYULS. We were guided across the mountains in a party of seven. (See report of 28791017 Pte. DUNBAR, R., 1 Bn. Gordon Highlanders, 51 DIV. - S/P.G.(G)581 - for names). I was arrested in GERONA, where lack of food made me give up. I was imprisoned for a time in FIGUREAS and then in MIRANDA. I was released in the middle of Oct. and taken to GIBRALTAR.

 

I should like to pay a tribute to the helpfulness of S/Ldr. WHITNEY STRAIGHT at ST. HIPPOLYTE.

 

 

Gunner A. V. Badman

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3307/67

 

Name: 1525033 Gnr. Badman, A.V.

Unit: 53 A.A. and C.D., R.A..

Captured: 27th May 1940.

Escaped: 29th May 1940.

Left: 20th October 1941 (Gibraltar).

Arrived: Gourek, 26th October 1941

Army Service: 1¾ years.

Peacetime Profession: Electrical Engineer.

Private Address: Aubigny House, Nailsea, Bristol.

 

I was captured in ST. OMER on 27 May '40 and escaped 2 days later while marching towards HAZEBROUCK. I stayed near ST. OMER for more than 11 months, and when I left the Zone Interdite via CALAIS with the aid of a guide nearly a year later 11 others were still in hiding in the ST. OMER district.

 

I crossed the demarcation line in a small boat. It took me over a canal near VIERZON, W.N.W. of BOURGES. I was assisted to cross the line and provided with money, but I was arrested as soon as I was across and taken to ST. HIPPOLYTE, which I reached on 16 May 41.

 

I escaped from ST. HIPPOLYTE on 17 Aug. by sawing through iron bars in a room near the dining hall. We were shepherded across the PYRENEES in a party of seven, not counting the guide. (See S/P.G.(G)581 for details of this party's composition).

 

We crossed on 24 Aug and I was arrested on 27th Aug and sent to FIGUREAS. I was taken to the camp at MIRANDA via BARCELONA and SARAGOSSA, and was released on 14th Oct. and taken to GIBRALTAR.

 

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