Escape to Spain.

JULY 1941

On 14th July 1941 Duncan Greig was provided with false papers and two guides by the group. When the guides got lost and did not know the way Grieg decided to undertake the journey alone. He took the train to Charleville in France and from there travelled, still by train, along the Swiss frontier to Besancon and the small station at Arbois on the border between occupied and Vichy France. In a cafe in Arbois Greig found a guide to take him across the border into Vichy France. The crossing took 20 minutes through some woods and cost Greig 150 francs. He than caught a bus to Poligny and from there went by train through Lyons and Toulouse and arriving in Lourdes on the 17th July. On the way he slept in station waiting rooms and was never checked by French officials although he was once questioned by a German officer.

Duncan Greig remained in Lourdes until the 31st August waiting for Cowan and Conville, he did know that they had not yet left Brussels. When they did not arrive Greig consulted a British civilian who he had met on the best way to get to Spain and was put in touch with two Belgians, Willy Muelle from Bruges and Nestor Bodson from Liege. The three of them then travelled by train to Oloron and Tardets and then by foot and bus to the village of Licq where they were instructed to speak to the hotel owner. There they found a guide, Jean, who took them over the Pyrenees at Pic des Escaliers through the Foret D'Iraty and across the Spanish frontier.
The hotel in Licq where they met the guide Jean.      Pic des Escaliers and the Foret D'Iraty in the Pyrenees.

Another guide, a Basque, took over and took them to Aoiz where on the 12th September they were arrested by the Civil Guard and imprisoned for 6 days. He was then imprisoned in Pamplona until the 1st October in Irun for a further two weeks and in Miranda del Ebro from the 15th until the 30th October. He was then released and taken to Madrid where he remained until the 20th November when he was sent to Gibraltar and freedom.

Miranda del Ebro Concentration Camp Spain.      merci Georges Dehasse


As the soldiers hiding in Brussels left for Spain they were replaced in the safe-houses by airmen who had escaped from their crashed aircraft. One such airman was Sergeant Albert DAY 10263 RCAF a Canadian in 77 Squadron RAF. At 22.07 on the 5th August 1941 set out from RAF Topcliffe to bomb Frankfurt. Did not reach target as weather was bad so went to alternative target at Koblenz and were hit by AA fire. Fire broke out repeatedly and the plane lost height so the crew baled out near Meulebeke West Flanders. The rest of the crew Pilot Officer D.G.Barber, Pilot Officer I.A.Kayes, Sgt. W.F.Thuell and Sgt.M.B.C. Delaney RCAF all who became POW's. Day at first evaded in Flanders and arrived in Brussels on the 11th September 1941. One of the houses he stayed in was Jeanne Monnier-Deporque's.

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© John Clinch 2002