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This is how it began…

 

As the months passed many more loyal and faithful friends and family joined the Comet escape line, members gave the very best of their Courage and Bravery to form and establish this great escape network, all determined and devoted to the cause of Freedom, and were all invaluable to its success.As this band of young men and women grew so did the dreaded presence of the Gestapo and its collaborators increased, for they had heard of these escape lines and put forward every effort to capture its members and destroy it. (picture of family de greef)

Many tragedies would strike the Comet Line in the coming months, but none so devastating as what was soon to occur…on the evening of January 13th 1943, Dedee along with two assists Paul and Franco herded the “parcel” of one RAF and two Americans pilots onto the train in Paris, and headed for Bayonne. Their arrival was met with a heavy rainstorm that had been raging for many days, once out of the station they hurried to meet Tante Go at the arranged rendezvous in a café where they were delighted at seeing each other again.
Tante Go soon expressed her serious doubts about crossing the mountains that night, as Florentino had warned her that the river Bidassoa was impassable and there could be a week’s delay. Very dejected the party headed for Francia’s safe house at Urrugne,

where Florentino was waiting. As the howling tempest raged outside the small farmhouse Florentino again expressed his doubts to Dedee and the pilots about leaving that night due to the severity of the storm, he decided to wait until the weather had abated and promised to return soon. He left the farmhouse and faced the lashing rain as he headed for his home at Ciboure.(picture of francis and her farm-safe house)

It was agreed that Dedee would take the “parcel” across without Florentino, and by the next day January 15th the storm had subsided, but the river was still a raging torrent and impassable, so Dedee decided to leave that evening and cross the suspension bridge over the river at Puicgerda, despite the fact it would add another five hours on the crossing.

As the evening came the party readied themselves to leave when suddenly a car stopped abruptly outside, two armed Gendarmes burst through the door followed immediately by another ten carrying rifles and pistols, and arrested them all. They had heard of the famous Basque guide Florentino and wanted him desperately knowing that once captured he could not be used as a guide and the Comet Line would be finished. The twelve completely ransacked the house in every effort to find him, but he was nowhere to be found, despite the arrested party being severely questioned his whereabouts where not revealed. But Dedee and the Comet Line had been betrayed without doubt. They were marched to St Jean de Luz prison and interrogated…the news had spread fast, Florentino immediately crossed the Pyrenees to inform the British Consulate in Bilbao that Dedee had been captured…It was a disaster for the Comet Line…!!!

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