In Brussels networks of friends and associates became directly involved in helping the soldiers who had waited so long to go home. Already in August 1940 a group of 28 soldiers who had escaped from a train taking them to POW camps in eastern Germany were hiding out in the Foret de Soignes near Brussels. Living rough the soldiers became ill through sleeping in the open air. A man called Georges Marie GUILLON who was a director of a carpet company was a key figure. Born in Brussels in 1890 he was a member of a large family whose father had died at an early age. The family was tutored by a man named HALOT who helped the family as much as he could. Halot had a son called William who knew the family. In 1910 Georges and one of his brothers Silas left for Canada. He was a law student in Canada. In 1916, following his brothers example, he voluntered to serve as a Lieutenant in the 57th battalion of the Canadian Army, later he transferred to the Canadian Air Force and ended the war as a captain. He must have returned to Belgium sometime between the wars.
In May 1940 at the time of the German blitzkrieg, William HALOT was a Belgian liaison officer with the General Staff of the British Expeditionary Force. At this time Georges GUILLON went to the British Embassy in rue de Spa Brussels, where he reported to return to service as a former Canadian air force officer . The Air attaché at the embassy a Mr DAVIS proposed that he should stay in Belgium in charge of secret missions. GUILLON refused, preferring to join in the fighting against the invaders. He tried to escape Belgium and make his way to the Allied forces but was unable to cross over the Demarcation Line at the River Somme, and so returned to Belgium.
On about the 20th August 1940, the executive director of the Union Minière du Haut-Katanga, a mining company in the Belgian Congo informed William HALOT of the 28 British evaders hiding in the Foret de Soignes, camped in the forest and being looked after by local people. HALOT remembered the air attache DAVIS' contact with Georges Guillon and made contact with him to tell him about , the evading soldiers problems.
It was decided to gather them in Brussels and accomodated by local people and then make arrangements to take them South. At the same period, Mrs HALOT, visiting about thirty British wounded, hospitalized at the Clinique Edith Cavell, made there acquaintance with William REYNOLDS an Englishman born in Brighton working as a butler in Brussels but involved in inteligence work against the Germans.. HALOT recruted him in September 1940. He also recruted Jean VANDENHOVE a tobacconist in the rue Washington , who hid soldiers above his shop.

Samuel Slavin and Enoch Bettley in the PLACE DE BROUCKÈRE, Brussels. Typically showing they were unafraid of the German army.

In August 1940 nurse Madame Louisa BREGVADZE-COCLET of 197 rue Rogier was involved in hiding 19 soldiers in the Schaerbeek district of Brussels. Three with Mllle. Willems, two with Dr Husquin, five she hid herself and nine with Mlle VERVALCK. the soldiers were F. G. Wright, W. H Dando, B. Roberts, Enoch Bettley, Samuel Slavin, John Bell Robson, Stanley Cook, Louis Green, Isaac Rennie, John Ahearn, John Mc Cubbin,
Bernard Conville, Albert Hilditch, Jack Rothwell and Robert Smith People who had British connections or could speak English were particularly likely to be approached for help. Even six months after the fall of France many British soldiers were on the loose in Northern France and Belgium having evaded capture or escaped after surrendering to the conquering German army.

Louisa Deloge visiting a Major LANE in a Belgian hospital.
Major Lane must have been injured in the fighting in May or June 1940


Baron Jacques Donny director of the company Sofina was the person who collected the Scottish soldiers from Parike and brought them to Brussels. He was responsible financing the group and had the connections in Geraadsbergen (Grammont) the next town to where British soldiers were staying. In fact his sister Ghislaine was married to a lawyer in Geraadsbergen, François Rens. François Rens was friends with the owner of the Delbauve clothes shop where Maria De Planke worked. The soldiers in Parike had all new clothes provided by the shop.

Other helpers were:-

Arnold DEPPE a film technician, who was a link to all the safe houses and seeking routes to Spain.

78 year old Madame Anna DUCHENE nee Hodges born in County Waterford Ireland and her daughter Florence Maria DUCHENE a milliner who hid soldiers in their house.
Jeanne MONNIER-DEPOURQUE, aka Jeanot, a safe-house keeper.
Louisa DELOGE, her sister Yvonne and their mother Marceline Deloge At sometime in late 1940 Louisa must have been approached to help with the concealment of British army evaders. She had, in the early days of the occupation, visited sick or injured British soldiers who were in hospital. One photograph, probably taken in 1940 (see above) shows her visiting a British officer, Major Lane. Louisa Deloge had lived in England during the First World War and had a sister in England, so therefore was a likely candidate to help out.
Baron Donny Francois Strens

Francois STRENS a Funeral Director and his sister Clara Marie Strens. Francois Strens also had English connections, he was married to Celia an Englishwoman who had returned to England with the couples son, Roger, at the start of the war.
Marie Germaine DARMONT-COLLET and her son Jean DARMONT.
Dr Paul George Marie JANSSENS a waiter and former lawyer, Dr Jacques PENS a Chemist and his fiance Laure VIENNE, Greta Julia THIRY a dancer.
Professor Jean-Marie Eugene DERSCHEID was doctor in physics and a professor of Colonial Law of the Institut des Territoires d'Outre-Mer at Antwerp, Secretary-General of the Parc Albert [i.e. Congo Belge, the first national park in Africa and sanctuary for the Mountain Gorillas, co-founder of the Institut International pour la Protection de la Nature. Professor DERSCHEID was of particular assistance to Allan Cowan. American citizen Emile Louis TOUSSAINT was an artist and associate of DERSCHEID he travelled to the South of France to assemble an escape line and came back, mission accomplished, but the line he established (known as the LLL, Louis-Lambert-Lourdes) could never be put into use.

Outside Le Sanglier Restaurant in Boitsfort. Roy Langlois and Duncan Greig on the right with unknown friends.

Alice Marie de WERGIFOSSE a hotelier who ran the Au Sanglier restaurant in Boitsford which was opposite the racecourse on the Chausee de la Hulpe where it joins what was the Avenue des Nation, now the Avenue Franklin Roosevelt, this was a centre for the network. Here evaders were fed and taken to their new safe houses. Elise AUSSELOOS a housewife, Elise Alice de LOMBAERT a shop cashier at the Bon Marche department store, Urbain RUSCART a stockbroker, Antoinette Veronique BURY a hotel proprietor. They nearly all lived in the suburbs south east of the centre of Brussels, Etterbeek, St.Gilles, Ixelles and Boitsfort.

Left: Victor Randour
in about 1955 Middle:Jeanne Duchene & daughter Florence Duchene, Madame Monnier, Right: Georges Guillon

Other people involved in the group were Edouard CLEERENS( aka J.CLERENS a Belgian Intelligence agent) and an unnamed English woman posibly Edith Hardy born as Edith Bagshaw in 1899 in Aston Birmingham. Victor RANDOUR was also recruited into the organisation.

In April 1941 Allan Cowan, Louisa Deloge, Duncan Greig
in front of German army road sign outside the Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Avenue des Nations,
Brussels (now avenue Franklin Roosevelt)

On arrival in Brussels the four soldiers were were moved from apartment to apartment. Sixty three old grandmother Marceline Deloge was persuaded by her eldest daughter Louisa to shelter the two Scotsmen. They stayed with her for 19 days in February 1941, in their apartment at 100 Rue General Capiaumont, Etterbeek, Brussels.
From the left unknown, unknown, Marceline Deloge, Allan Cowan, Yvonne Deloge, Duncan Greig
in the back garden at 100 Rue General Caupiamont, February 1941.

Another photo taken on the same day in February 1941. This time with an unknown man and woman.

The organization was also involved in the distribution of "La Libre Belgique" an underground newspaper.

Two more Scottish soldiers were already in hiding in Brussels when the four from Parike arrived.
Two from the group of 28 hiding in the Foret de Soignes were Private John McCUBBIN 3315383 (pictured in Brussels 1941 right) from Stonyhurst Street (Possilpark) Glasgow and Private Bernard (Bobby) CONVILLE 3319526 (pictured left)serving with 1st Battalion Glasgow Highlanders 51st Highland Division also from Glasgow. McCubbin had been captured at St. Annes and Conville was captured near Cherbourg. On the 17 July 1940 after staying 8 days in a field with 30 colleagues and French POW's they were put on a train to Belgium en route to Stalag VI G Bonne in Germany. The prisoners were packed into filthy cattle trucks. Conville and McCubbin managed to escape from the train as it passed through a forest at Boitsfort, a suburb of Brussels. Their German guard's view was blocked by their colleagues as they forced open the door but he wasn't really concerned at what they were doing. Jumping from the train with bullets whining round their ears, they reached the temporary safety of the woods. Their aim was to re-unite with the British Army, little knowing that it had been driven from mainland Europe by the Blitzkreig. Their first contact with help was with an Englishman, who he was the soldiers never knew, but he put them on contact with people who could help them. They were fed and clothed by the Bruxellois for six weeks and then, as it was then getting too cold to sleep out, they were taken to the house of Madame Jeanne Duchenne and her daughter Florence Duchenne at Rue Sans-Souci in the Ixelles suburb of Brussels where they stayed right through until September 1941 when Conville was moved by Baron Donny to Madame Jeanne Monnier's house and McCubbin stayed put.

Conville and Cowan with Madame Wolf in Brussels early 1941.

Bobby Conville worked in a meat factory to earn money acting as though he was a deaf- mute so that he wouldn't be asked difficult questions. Jeanne Monnier lived on the rue du Pont Brussels and was one of the original safe house keepers recruited by Arnold Deppe. At some stage Madame Jeanie Wolf looked after the soldiers and Madame Anne Marie Roberts wife of Englishman Jesse Roberts supplied money, clothes and food to the two Scotsmen.

Madame Jeanie Wolfe.

Also arriving in Brussels from the Flemish countryside was Alfred George JONES 815209 a twenty-six year old Welshman from Port Talbot in the 23rd Field Regiment Royal Artillery who had also been captured at Saint Valery-au-Caux when France fell. He had escaped with Gunner Richard Storey BAINBRIDGE 806161 and Driver Alfred W. BERRY by breaking away from a column of prisoners and hiding in a wheatfield until it got dark. The three then made for the coast, via Zottegem, Ghent and Deinze but the presence of many Germans made progress impossible. They spent a few days with a man called Victor De TEMMERMAN at Beisloven - Stijpen Zottegem. His family back in Wales had first been told he was missing, then that he was a prisoner of war and then that he had gone missing again. Jones and his two colleagues had mainly been hiding near the village of Leerbeek for those 6 months in 1940 they met Fusilier Thomas James SIM and Corporal N.J.(Jackie) HOGAN )while they were there. The villagers gave them civilian clothes and must have got them identity cards as well. It was then felt that their hiding place had be revealed to the Germans so to avoid arrest they all went back to Brussels reaching there on the 7th January 1941. Bainbridge left for France on the 29th January 1941 accompanied by three Belgians and leaving Berry and Jones behind in Brussels. Bainbridge reached Spain on the 21st March 1941. In 1941 and again in 1943 Jones' family were told that he had been seen and that they should assume that he was evading capture in France, these reports probably came from BAINBRIDGE, SIM and HOGAN who had successfully reached home.

Other soldiers hiding in Brussels with the network were:-

Private John AHEARN 6284625 2nd Buffs 44 Division who had evaded capture at Dunkirk.

Fusilier Joseph Edward

Joseph Dixey
in Brussels
DIXEY 6460461 a private with the Royal Fusiliers 4 Division who was taken prisoner at Dunkirk on about the 28th May 1940. He escaped with two others whilst being marched through Belgium on the way to Germany at the end of May. Near Alost a farmer took them to his home and gave them food and shelter. He then left his companions and stayed with various families on the outskirts of Tournai.
Later that summer he was taken by a man to Brussels and stayed in a clinic belonging to a Belgian woman where he met Private Jimmy Clarke of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Joe Dixey was also helped in Flanders by Arthur Schrynemakers who was member of Service EVA. Schrynemakers report says:-
"In 1940 I managed to be useful to two English soldiers, James Clark and Joe Dixey, with whom I had been put in touch by Joseph A. De Backer of 23 Ambiorix Square." The "Questionnaire for Helpers, HQ, European Theater of Operations, Military Intelligence Service" in Schrynemakers' file says:
Joe Dixey - meals and pocket money only
Thomas Clark -meals and pocket money only
He stayed with Clark until 1941 when Clarke left to go elsewhere. Dixey then stayed in various homes all through 1940, he had been given false papers in the name of Jean Baptiste.

It seems very likely that this is the soldier seen by Harry Levy in St.Gilles Prison. Harry Levy was a wireless operator on a bomber shot down over Belgium on the 1st August 1942. After evading in Brussels until the 8th August he was arrested and taken to St Gilles. There he met a English soldier who had been left behind when the British Expeditionary Force had evacuated at Dunkirk in 1940. The soldier had made his way to Brussels and lived there, going from one apartment to another for nearly two years.
In a Belgian book about Comet line it says :- "About this time (1941) Jeanne Monnier hid a soldier. He did not want to go back to England. He had stolen jewels and a had mistress in Madame R. ******. He was arrested later and was in St.Gilles Prison with Monnier."
This soldier did not want to return to England and probably caused endless trouble to his Belgian helpers. Baron Donny had to threaten to have him killed. We must remember how the soldiers that had been left behind after Dunkirk in June 1940 must have felt. Abandoned by their country, alone in a strange foreign land, Germany soon to defeat and possibly occupy their homeland. The temptation to look after number one was all too great.  This soldier and his colleague would become entangled with the biggest Belgian traitor of the war, Prosper De Zitter.

Other soldiers or possibly airmen in Brussels at this time and helped by the group were called Charly (this could be Charlie Morelle an French escaped POW who was in Brussels for some time) , Louis A. Green and Albert Hilditch. Welshman Alfred JONES had been existing in Brussels helped by Marie DARMONT-COLLET, the DELOGE's and many of their friends. Soon he was again in immanent danger of re-capture so had gone back to hide outside Brussels with the D'HAESELEER family, mother, father, daughter seventeen year old Elsa and fourteen year old son. Alfred stayed there for about three months. The family didn't help in the underground movement but gave Alfred food and shelter because they belonged to the village where he had originally escaped.

Joseph De Backer who had taken Joseph Dixey and Jimmy Clark to the house of the Gillard family. the Gillards were arrested on the 18th May 1941 while the British soldiers hid in the cellar.

June 1940 onwards. Some for just a few days on the journey south, others for many months.

AHEARN Private John 6284625, 2nd Buffs 44 Division. Arrested 1/10/41 rue Washington Brussels POW
ANDREWS Private Leonard 2879532, Gordon Highlanders. Evader SeaWolf
BAINBRIDGE Gunner R.S. 23rd Field Regiment Royal Artillery. Evader
BETTLEY Private Enoch 2931828, Cameron Highlanders. Arrested 18/8/41 Rue Rogier, Schaerbeek POW. Died 1997
BUCKNALL Driver C. 114766 RASC. Evader
CLARK Private W.J. 793956, Gordon Highlanders. Evader
CLARK Jimmy Arrested January 1942 POW
COLLINS Jeffrey 7608505 from Liverpool POW Died 1991
CONVILLE Private Bernard (Bobby) 3319526, Glasgow Highlanders. Comete Line joint no.2 Evader
COOK Fusilier Stanley Howard 4261983, Royal Northumberland Fusiliers. POW. Died 1991.
COWAN Sergeant Allan Gillespie 2927284, 4th Battalion Cameron Highlanders. Comete Joint no.2 Evader. Died 2001.
CROMAR Private James 2879013, Gordon Highlanders. Comete No. 1 Evader. Died July 2004.
DANDO Fusilier W. H. (Harry) Royal Fusiliers. Arrested Bourges France January 1941 POW
DIXEY Fusilier Joseph Edward 6460461, Royal Fusiliers. Arrested Besancon France April 1942 POW. Died 1997.
EVAN-ROBERTS B. from Darwen Lancashire
FARQUHAR Lance Corporal Thomas Riddoch 2879074, Gordon Highlanders. Arrested Perpignan, France 13/10/41 POW. Died 1996.
GREEN Louis Arthur 3388174, 4th Battalion East Lancashire Regiment Home address Ribblehead Blackpool. Arrested 6th August 41 POW. Died 1969.
GREIG Duncan 2930402 4th Battalion Cameron Highlanders Evader. Died 1961.
HEWITT Private Victor James 6913999, Rifle Brigade Arrested POW
HILDITCH Gunner Albert Evan 790816, 23rd Field Regiment Evader. Died 1986
HILLS Gunner 1507776, 23rd Field Regiment Evader
HOGAN Corporal Norman James (Jackie) 3444749, RASC. Comete Line Evader. Died 1995
JONES Bombardier Alfred George 815209, 23rd Field Regiment Royal Artillery. Arrested 28/10/41. Executed Mauthausen 1944
LANE Major ? In Brussels hospital photo with Louisa Deloge. No Information.
LIDDLE Private Harold 4453504, Durham Light Infantry. Arrested Brussels c.June 1942 POW
McCUBBIN Private John 3315383, HLI. Arrested 25th September 1941, Duchene house rue Sans Souci POW
PRADY Lance Corporal E. 4449691, Royal Northumberland Fusiliers. Evader
RENNIE Corporal Isaac H. C. 7603667, RAOC. Evader
REYNOLDS Lance Corporal W. 3243731, Cameronians. Escaper from Germany.
ROBSON John Bell 835966, 23rd Field Regiment Royal Artillery.
ROTHWELL Gunner Jack 3446487, 23rd Field Regiment Royal Artillery.
SIM Fusilier Thomas James 4723947, Royal Northumberland Fusiliers. Comete Line Evader. Died 1991.
SLAVIN Private Samuel 2932027, Cameron Highlanders. Arrested 18/8/41 Rue Rogier, Schaerbeek, POW, Shot dead 14/10/1944 Lamsdorf POW camp
SMITH Trooper Robert 420050, Lothian & Border Yeomanry. Arrested Roubaix 22/7/1942 POW
TAYLOR Thomas (Tom) Sergeant Home address 12 Hunter Place Kilwinning Ayrshire Scotland. Escaped from a train near Maastricht. Arrested 6th August 41 POW
WATSON Gunner J.C. 143931, Royal Artillery. Arrested POW
WRIGHT F. G. No Information
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© John Clinch 2002