|Occupied Paris 1943 - Andre Zucca|
|Carte d' Identité|
|Three Allied Evaders Walk Behind a German Kriegsmarine Officer at the Trocadero Paris|
- 'Ticket To Freedom' - H J Spiller
1) If you have landed at night and are not badly injured, count your blessings. You are mobile and still free.
2) Bury or conceal your parachute, dispose of any secret papers, operational maps etc. and get away from the landing area immediately otherwise your liberty may not last long. Enemy patrols usually motorised, will reach the area within half to three quarters of an hour. If you’ve not been spotted already, full searches and sweeps will begin at first light.
3) If you’ve crash landed destroy the aircraft and all secret documents, divide into parties of no more than two and head off initially in different directions (should have been decided before take-off). Endeavour to get clear of a five mile radius from the aircraft, searches rarely cover beyond that.
4) Once you are well away from the landing point - hide. Good places are woodland, bushes, a ditch next to a hedge or a haystack. Treat farm buildings with care. Surveillance of the place in daylight is advisable before any approach is made. If you land in a town or city, find a deserted shed, hut or garden to conceal yourself until it is daylight.
5) If you bale out during the day, avoid opening your parachute until the last moment so as not to make yourself too visible. Once your chute is sighted there may be a race between the locals and Germans to reach you first. * Airmen reported seeing parachutists machine gunned or shot at from the ground whilst drifting down.
6) When you reach the ground, unclip and bundle up your chute, then run away from the site, checking the lie of the land as you go. Make for any nearby trees; observation without being seen is vital to the next decision you will have to make.
7) On your way to the first hiding place, carry out minor alterations to your uniform to make it resemble as far as possible civilian clothing. Try to avoid being seen and do not arouse suspicion by being too furtive. Evaders have bluffed the Germans by carrying a bundle of wood, or pretending to work in fields and vineyards.
8) Try to make your hiding place as near to water as possible – searches can last for three days. During this time use the rations from your escape kit box sparingly. From your ‘bolt hole’, look and listen, wait to see if you spot anyone that looks friendly. The local inhabitants may contact you first.
9) If there are signs of the enemy searching (especially with dogs), the hiding place may have to be abandoned.
10) Make sure you are clear on the names and descriptions of members of your crew. Individual members of an aircrew may be picked up by the Resistance in different locations, this will enable the Underground to check up amongst themselves that each airman is genuine and not an enemy agent masquerading as an Allied airman to try and infiltrate escape lines.
11) Be prepared for further travel alone before you manage to obtain help, and always adopt the attributes, clothing and manners of the local population on your journey back.
12) It is imperative to remember that one evasion has begun, the sailor,soldier or airman adopts the guise of a civilian, all arms and weapons must be discarded and force must no longer be employed. This does not rule out the rare occurrence where an evader may have to dispose of an enemy, but even then, this method will only be used if and when the lines of helpers are not thereby jeopardised and there are no eye-witnesses.
13) If travelling on foot across the countryside, try to move at night, resting up in the day in a suitable hiding place.
14) Keep close to hedges and avoid walking in the centre of fields. It is harder to notice a moving object if it is set against a dark background. Also be wary of crossing the skyline.
15) Keep to the edges of woods as opposed to walking through the middle; this improves your field of vision and decreases the noise you will make.
16) Conserve your energy and rations (in case you are chased), take care of your feet and try to sleep in the day when holed up.
17) Exercise caution if approaching civilians and never approach anyone who is not alone, unless instructed by a helper.
18) Consider isolated farms off the main roads for assistance. Watch the buildings and activity during the day from a hidden vantage point and if the location is considered free of the enemy make an approach for help once it is dark. Once you are convinced of the owner’s or inhabitant’s good intention, you should declare your true identity and give full particulars. This will assist in verifying who you are.
19) Remember that the punishment for helping an evader is death, whereas the evader if discovered will eventually be transferred to a POW camp.
20) Never take chances.
Some extracts taken from ‘Escape and Evasion Chapter One’ held at the National Archives.
© Keith Morley