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About this product
- DescriptionIn the chaos that followed the fall of France in 1940 many hundreds of British soldiers escaped from their German captors - or evaded capture altogether - and were helped to reach the uccupied south of France. Here, however, they were rounded up by the French authorities who were forced to detain them under Article 10 of the 1940 Armistice Convention. They were joined in 1941 and 1942 by dozens of RAF airmen who had bailed out or force-landed in France. The French authorities named them 'Detachment W'. Gradually, there grew up a clandestine escape network with the object of helping men to leave France and return to Britain. This book records how the French military tried, with only limited success, to prevent escapes by moving the Detachment to more and more secure places of internment. As well as talking to veterans and studying the relevant War Office and Foreign Office files, the author also found hitherto unpublished information on the subject in archives in Edinburgh, in Washington DC, in Bern, Switzerland, and in Paris. What he learned is told revealingly in this book.
- Author BiographySince retiring in 1987 after a career in engineering with British Aerospace, Derek Richardson has - when family responsibilities permitted - pursued a variety of interests such as French philately, playing bridge, making music and reading about aspects of World War II military history. During his philatelic activity he came across a batch of correspondence sent by British soldiers and airmen in Vichy France in 1942. But surely this could not be right? Vichy France had dropped out of the war in 1940, so how can anyone be a prisoner of war in a country that is not at war? His curiosity aroused, he began a search which threw up several books dealing with escapes, written by or about men who had returned from enemy-occupied territory during those years. So there was, but very little was available in the way of official information. This all changed in the mid-1990s, though, when the Ministry of Defence permitted the release of the War Office reports of escapers interviewed upon their return to Great Britain - reports that had, under the 50-year rule , been kept out of sight on the shelves in the National Archives at Kew. At this point, a military history investigation that had begun with no thought to eventual publication started to look like a story that would be well worth telling. This was the story of Detachment W
- Author(s)Derek Richardson
- PublisherPaul Mould Publishing
- Date of Publication01/12/2004
- SubjectWar Fiction
- Place of PublicationBoston
- Country of PublicationUnited Kingdom
- ImprintPaul Mould Publishing
- Content Note15ill.
- Width147 mm
- Height210 mm
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