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Helper Biographies

HELPER BIOGRAPHIES
by Michael Moores LeBlanc

‘Dedee’ Andree de Jong. A Belgian.
Founder of the Comete Line. Arrested 15 January 1943. Although she tried to convince the Germans she was the leader of the Comete Line in order to save others, the Germans did not believe her because of her age and sex. Condemned to death, the warrant for her execution was not carried out. She was able to assume the identify of a concentration inmate who had died. Returned from the concentration camps. In the post-war period she devoted herself to working with lepers in Africa and was eventually was given a distinction by being named a Comtesse. Still alive in 2006. Her sister, Suzanne de Witick, also captured for her Comete line work in Nov ’42, but writing under the pen name ‘Cecile Jouan’, wrote the first of the line’s histories in 1947, ‘Comete historie d’une ligne d’evasion’.

Arnold Deppe. A Belgian.
Co-founder of the Comte Line. Arrested 8 August, 1941. Fortunately, he was arrested with other Belgians trying to get out of Belgium rather than with allied military personnel. He returned from the concentration camps in 1945.

‘UZH’ Alphonse Escrenier. A Belgian.
One of the founders of Group EVA. ‘Burned’ in January 1944. Escaped to England in April of 1944.

‘Jacques’ Charles Host.
A Belgian policeman and one of the founders of Group EVA. Arrested in January of 1944 while visiting with the head of group EVA, Rene Rovers, but soon released because he was not considered a suspect. After the mass arrests of the Comete evacuation line, EVA, a collection service, soon found itself encumbered by stranded airmen and in great difficulty, without the money lost with Albert Matten’s arrest, trying to keep them happy and feed them on black market were a package of cigarettes or an egg was the equivalent of a day’s wages for a working man. By March of ’44, the group was desperate and turned to the promises of evacuation being offer by the KLM Line in Antwerp. Hoste was involved in the unhappy transfer of 35 EVA airmen to this ‘false’ escape line known as the KLM, a creation of the German Military Service, the Abwehr, during in the spring of 1944. Having divested himself of his airmen, he carried on with his other resistance activities till liberation. He helped to create a private resistance museum in Brussels, a site well worth visiting for those interested in the subject.

‘Camile’ Gaston Matthys. A Belgian.
Member of the ZERO intelligence service. He broke with the EVA line in early 1944 and would have nothing to do with the new KLM line. He went into hiding and carried on till liberation delivering his airmen to the Mission Marathon Camps in the Ardennes, where they waited for liberation by allied forces. Never arrested.

‘Mme Anne’ Anne Brusselmans. A Belgian.
Never arrested. She worked closely with Michou Dumon and later with Michou’s mother Francoise. Her importance was due to her command of the English language which was invaluable in interrogating potential airmen to determine if they were infiltrators. She was cut off from Comete in December 1943 but resumed evasion line activities in the spring of ’44, together with ‘survivors’ of the old ‘Michou-Maca group’. She carried on till liberation supporting airmen in the city of Brussels having refused to take part in the Mission Marathon Plan. Immigrated to American and given citizenship in 1986 by President Ronald Regan in view of her war work. Died ca 2001 (check file details for date)

‘Lilly’, ‘Michou’ ‘Micheline’ Aline Liliane Dumon. A Belgian.
Born in 1921. Became active in September 1942 and especially so after March 1943. Though 20 plus, she passed herself off as a little girl of 14-15 and got away with a great deal. Though ‘Burned’ in mid-December 1943 after her identity was revealed by one of her captured co-workers. She left for Paris in early January after organizing a stay-behind organization and then went to Anglet to confer with ‘Tante Go’. While there, the mass arrests of Comete took place in Paris and Brussels, due to a second infiltration by Jacques Desoubri. In February she re-organized for a third time but in early March this organization was also broken up by Desoubri but Michou was soon afterwards able to identify the source of their troubles and deal with it. A fourth re-organization  took place which enable the last 10 or so successful Comete evasions to take place. In early May 1944 while observing negotiations at a public square taking place between co-workers Jean de Blommaert & Albert Ancia with a new contact, ‘Gilbert’, in regard to the transfer of airmen to them, she once again recognized Jacques Desourbri. ‘Burned’ for the last time, she was ordered to leave for Spain and go to England. Still alive in 2006.

‘Nadine’ Andree Dumon. A Belgian.
Several years older that Michou. She was one of the very early Comete Line guides to Paris. Arrested 12 August 1942 together with her parents. Returned from the concentration camps. Still alive and very active in 2006.

‘Mme Francoise’ Francoise Dumon. A Belgian.
Mother of the Dumon sisters. Arrested 12 August, 1942 with her husband and daughter.  Released a year later. Resumed evasion work and carried on till liberation co-operating with the Macas and with Mission Marathon plan.

‘Tom’ Eugene Dumon. A Belgian.
Member of the LUC-MARC intelligence service. Father of the Dumon sisters. Arrested 12 August, 1942. Died in 1945 in Gross-Rosen concentration camp, Germany. Age 50.

‘Jean Deltour’ Jules Dricot. A Belgian.
Arrested 20 January 1944. Shot by SS in April 1945 after trying to escape from a train between Magdebourg and Dessau, Germany. Age 31.

‘Marc’ Jose Grimar. A Belgian.
Arrested 12 May, 1944. Returned from the concentration camps.

‘Jean Serment’ Yvon Michiels. A Belgian.
Member of the ZERO intelligence service. Became leader of Comete Belgium in mid-summer 1943. ‘Burned’ in May, 1944. Escaped to England.

Charles Kremer & Baron Marcel de Ruyter. Belgians.
Liege area. Arrested 11 December 1943 together with other members of their Liege group. Both died in Germany.

Joseph Drion.
A Belgian from Liege area. Arrested 25 May, 1944. Died in Germany.

‘Felix’ Charles Gueulette. A Belgian.
‘Burned’ in January 1944. Escaped to England in April of ’44. Many member of his group were arrested and some did not return from Germany.

‘Tante Go’ Elvire De Greef.
A Belgian refugee who had moved to Anglet at the very beginning of the war ahead of the invading Germans. She and her family were devoted to Comete and led the southern sector. None of them were ever arrested and they carried on till liberation.

Florentino Goicoechea. A Basque.
Veteran of the Spanish civil war and smuggler ‘wanted’ by authorities on both sides of the frontier. The leader of the Pyrenees Comete guides who personally made most of the trips with airmen. A hero to every aiman who met him. He was intercepted by a German patrol, returning from a mission to Spain shortly after D-Day, was badly wounded by machine gun fire and captured. His escape from a prison hospital was arranged by ‘Tante Go’ in a scene right out of a Hollywood movie, complete with a fake German officer and ambulance crew & false papers authorizing the movement of the prisoner to another location.

‘Mr Paul Moreau’ Frederic de Jong. A Belgian.
DeDee Andree de Jong’s father. Arrested 7 June, 1943. Shot by a firing squad 28 March 1944. Age 56.

‘Baby’ Robert Ayle. A Frenchman.
Arrested 7 June, 1943. Shot by a firing squad 28 March, 1944. Age 44.

‘Jerome’ Jacques Legrille. A Belgian.
Infiltrated into France in June 1943. Became leader of Comete France. Arrested 17 January, 1944. Badly tortured. Sentenced to death, the warrant for his execution never caught up to the various concentration camps he was moved to in the chaos of the last year of the Third Reich. He returned from the concentration camps.

‘Franco’ Francois Nothomb. A Belgian.
Student. Became leader of Comete following th arrested of ‘Paul’ de Jong.Arrested 18 January, 1944. Due to his youth, the Germans never realized he was the leader of the Comete line. They dismissed him as a mere guide. Sentenced to death, the warrant for his execution never caught up to the various concentration camps he was moved to. He returned from the concentration camps and eventually became a missionary priest working with lepers. Years later, he left the priesthood, married and had a family. Still alive in 2006.

‘Jean Masson’ ‘Pierre Boulain’ Jacques Desourbri. A Belgian.
Member of the SD. Infiltrated Comete in March and again in December 1943, bringing it to its knees both time. Reinfiltrated the new structured organization again in February with the same results. Attempted infiltrating Mission Marathon France. Involved in a highly successful ‘false line’ operating in the north of France and behind the Normandy front lines. The false ‘Jean-Jacues Line netted 168 allied airmen in Paris, who against all the rules of war, were shipped off to Buchenwald Concentration Camp where two of this number died before Herman Goring secured their release in October of ’44 and had them transported to proper Pow camps. Captured by allies in 1946. Given a trial, found guilty of numerous crimes and was shot in 1949.

‘Dianne’ Amanda Stassart. French.
Belgian Frontier-Paris Comete guide. Arrested ca 17 February  January, 1944. Returned from the concentration camps. Her mother did not. Still alive in 2006.

‘Jeanne’ Odile de Vasselot. French.
Ex-Intelligence service courier. Belgian Frontier-Paris Comete guide. Never arrested. Carried on till liberation. Recently published her autobiography. Still alive in 2006.

‘Monique’ ‘Mlle Marie’ Henriette Hanotte. A Belgian.
Belgian Frontier-Paris Comete guide. Her family home was an important transit point for many evaders crossing into France. Her whole family was involved in this operation. ‘Burned’ together with Michou in early May 1944. Escaped to England. Still alive in 2006.

‘Jean-Jacques’ Albert Mattens. A Belgian.
Chief of Guides. Arrested 5-6 January, 1944 on a train with Comete funds. Convinced his captors he was a Black marketer. Returned from the concentration camps.

‘Hautfoin’ ‘Cramponne’ Germaine Bajpai. French.
Chief of Comete Safe-House System. Arrested 17-18 January, 1944. Germaine gave up and died of grief and regret in the concentration camp of Ravensbruck on 4 february 1945. She was never able to forgive herself for being captured with a list of her safe-house keepers, a fact that led to their arrests.

‘Mme Francoise’, ‘The Little Lady in Black’ Fernande Onimus. French.
Chief of Comete Safe-House System. Arrested 17-18 January, 1944. Gassed to death 23-24 April, 1945 in Ravensbruck concentration camp. She voluntarily exchanged identities with another inmate and took the place of a mother of a large family who was slated to die that day.

‘Henri Crampon’. French.
Chief of Comete Safe-House System. Originally a member of Marie-Madeleine Fourcade’s Noah’s Ark network. Arrested in Marseilles in 1943, tortured and released. Accepted by Comete who knew of his background. Possibly arrested prior to 17-18 January, 1944 and forced to co-operate with Desourbri (his pregnant wife was being threaten with beatings) into betraying other Comete members in France and Belgium. In January and February 1943 he introduced Desourbri to numerous old and new Comete Line members. Returned from the concentration camps. Sent to trial together with Jacques Desourbri in Lille. Former Comete members testified on his behalf asking for clemency. Sentenced to 5 years in prison. Moved to South America after his release, where he disappeared into anonymity.

Georges Broussine. French.
Leader of the Burgundy Line, what was perhaps the most successful of evasion lines in WWII. It evacuated men through the Pyrenees and by boats leaving Brittany. Had many contacts with other resistance organizations handling airmen. He rescuer a number of Comete airmen ‘orphanded by the arrested of Fred de Jong in June of ’43 and later handled numbers of surplus Comete airmen during the Franco-Jerome period. The group suffered relatively few arrests and eventually moved almost as many men as Comete in less than half the time. As a result of its outstanding success and lack of serious drama, it is hardly know in the Anglo world today … except to devotees of this kind of history. Never arrested. Died ca 2001

’Martin’ Edgar Potier. Belgian.
Leader of operations that involved Lysanders landing with agents and taking off with agents and/or evaders. Arrested 31 Dec 1943. Badly tortured, he managed to commit suicide on 11 January, 1944, to avoid further interrogation & saved his line’s membership. Age 41.

‘Max’ Michel Rogers.
Never arrested. Was killed in action in ‘French Indo-China’ at Dien Ben Phu (?), during the war against the French there, before American involvement in Viet Nam.

‘The Big Woman’ Rolande Whitton.
Comete Arras-Paris-Bordeaux guide. Age about 40. Arrested 17-18 January, 1944. Returned from the concentration camps. Age 40.

‘The Tiny Woman’ ‘Marie-Louise’ Marcelle Drouard/Douarre.
Comete Arras-Paris-Bordeaux guide.Returned to her home from the concentration camps but died within days of her arrival.

‘Le Leuitnant’ Lt Maurice Desson.
Leader of Comete Passage at Hertain-Camphin. Arrested in 30 July 1944. Died 10 March, 1945, in Meppen, Germany.Age 40.

Francois Boulard.
Leader of the Comete Passage at Erquennes and a Comete guide to Paris Narrowly escaped arrest 16 June 1944. His wife was captured together with 2 British Force airmen. She was liberated by the allies in Brussels.

‘Germaine’ Marie Maca. A Belgian.
Comete safe-house keeper from the summer of ’43 and guide from October till 23 January when she was ‘burned’ and had to flee to Switzerland for safety. She was designated to replace Michou, when Michou left for France.

‘Harry’ Henri Maca. A Belgian.
Henri took over all of Michou-Marie’s ‘orphaned’  airmen  and  found new shelters for them after the mass arrests of January 1944. He continued to collect and shelter more airmen until his own arrest on 27 May, 1944. Liberated in September ’44 by British forces from a Belgian concentration-torture camp. His adjutant was ‘Marcus’ Marcel Van Buckenhout. Victor Schutters was their other comrade in arms.

‘Rutland’ Jean de Blommaert. A Belgian.
An early member of Comete from the 1942 period. ‘Burned’, he had to escape to England. He was parachuted back to France to work with the Possum Line and came into contact with Jacques Desoubri who was then calling himself ‘Pierre Boulain’. Following the arrest of Ed Potier he returned to England and became involved with the Mission Marathon Operations, plans that anticipated the breakdown of transport capability in the build up to D-Day. Preparations were made to organize camps in the Ardennes in Chateaudum area of France and the forest area of southern Belgium. Airmen were to be collected in these camps and wait to be liberated by the advancing allied armies. Jean de Blommaert was in charge of organizing the successful French sector.

‘Daniel Mouton’ Albert Ancia. A Belgian.
He worked for Comete during the same 1942 period as Blommaert and acted as a liaison between Liege and Brussels. Burned in November of 1943, he escaped to Spain in the same evacuation party that saw the tragic drowning of d’Ursel and Burch. He joined the Mission Marathon team and parachuted back into France with the task of helping to re-organize Comete and prepare Belgium for Mission Marathon. He was involved in attempts to kill Desoubri following the meeting with him in early May as well as suppressing at least one other turn-coat agent.

Comte Antoine d’Ursel. A Belgian.
Look over leadership of Comete Belgium after the arrest of its former leader, ‘Nemo’ Baron Jean Greindl, on 6 February 1943. Burned in June 1943 and when into hiding but carried on with direction and made at least one trip to Spain to confer with MI-9. Drowned the night of 23-24 December 1943, while attempting to cross the Bidassoa river into Spain. Age 47.

Antonio Bouvet.
I’m an active member of “Souvenir Francais” and at the present time I’m inquiring about Bloody Hundredth of September 3rd 1943.  That day the B-17 serial 42-30089 “Sunny” EP-K was hit near Villescresnes (94) and T/Sgt Trafford L. Curry bailed out and escaped via no further details. In fact he was saved by some inhabitants of Combs-la-Ville and particularly by Mr. Antonio Bouvet of resistance network “Vengeance”.  His daughter, Mrs. Iban was twelve old at this time and recently she told me this story: Her father gave civilian clothes to the T/Sgt Curry and guided him throughout the Senart forest between Combs-la-Ville and Villeneuve-Saint-Georges.  Mr. Bouvet rode his bicycle in reconnaissance ahead of T/Sgt Curry Trafford, who was following with the little girl sitting on the bicycle bar.  Along the road Trafford was whistling little songs, and the girl was fallen under the crooner’s spell.  She was falling in love!…Jean-Louis Robbin-