K for King

Worldwar II: B-24 crew in Belgium

Freedom was so close

With the help of the resistance, the escapeline would bring them back to England. First of all the four crewmembers were brought to another cousin of Germaine Vercruysse in Herseaux, near the French border. Hargis told us that they slept 3 nights in het mayor's house before going to France.

With the four flyers, a new group would join them to cross the border. This group consisted of Jean Lefebvre, the Fournier brothers and George Carette. First destination, Mons-en-Pévèle. There they would met their contact, a certain “Monsieur Marcel” and his secretary. That Marcel told them that he was a Canadian, belonging to the Intelligence. He would bring them with his car to Arras. Some of the crewmembers didn’t trust this situation, because driving a car in the war was already weird with all these German soldiers around.

“Follow your feeling” would be better, but they didn’t. On 14 May 1944 they were all arrested by the Luftwaffe polizei at a checkpoint. Because they were in civilian clothes, the four crewmembers were brought to the Geheime Feldpolizei and that was a bad thing. Later on they discovered that “Monsieur Marcel” was Prosper De Zitter, a well known traitor, together with his girlfriend Florentine Girault. At this time a new name came up, possible the real traitor. This part is still under investigation. One of the crewmembers, Robert M. Varty, didn’t survive. The Germans took him from the group to get intelligence, but he didn’t return. The soldiers told the others that he was sick, but in fact he was killed. To cover up all this, the German authorities gave wrong information to the International Red Cross. They said he was killed in the crash in April 1944. Out of recent documents we know that he died on 17 May 1944 at 3h10 pm due to shot wounds to his chest and abdomen.




Mission 311     -     Crew     -     First Prisoners     -     Escape     -     Trust     -     Resistance