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The story of Lily…”Michou”.

 

There was a terrible betrayal in Brussels, the Comet Line members were under serious threat from the Gestapo as hundreds were being arrested and taken the prison at St Gilles, there to be brutally manacled and tortured. (picture of st gilles prison Brussels)The Gestapo was ruthless, brutal, and sadistic in their interrogations and intended getting any information from them whatever indescribable pain they caused. They demanded names of the Comet and Pat Line members, where the safe houses were, who was running these escape lines, and more importantly the addresses of all the top men and women involved. It became a horrendous time for all those in the Resistance and escape networks, as everyone who seemed a suspect was dragged off the streets to the torture chambers.

In fear of the Gestapo Lily had to get out of Brussels as they were searching for her, she traveled down to Bayonne and met up with fellow Comet members, explaining how devastating the situation was in Brussels as the Gestapo were putting the pressure on to find the Comet Line members and eventually destroy it. Lily went to Tante Go’s house in Anglet and rested there until she felt it was safe to return. In a short while Lily decided it was time to leave and returned to Paris to set up faster escape procedures, they wanted to get the line moving again after all the terrible round-ups in Brussels, many members were lost to the cause they were now in prison at St Gilles. British Intelligence MI9 had warned Comet officials that double agents were again infiltrating the line and that safety precautions should be taken. Lily would with another Comet member be co-ordinating the escapes in Paris that were soon to be resumed. A meeting had been called at a restaurant in Paris in February, 1944, Lily was shrewd for she knew that the underground never met in such places, certainly where the German secret police and Gestapo would be, for a meeting such as this would “never” happen in Belgium. There was a strange feeling in the air before she left and Lily’s intuition proved wise, she was cautious but was prepared to continue with this strange affair and made her way to the restaurant. Lily arrived and chatted with her operatives and helpers when she spotted a man wearing a polka-dot tie and he looked familiar, she went over to chat with him though she did not particularly like him, he was certainly a strange one, he introduced himself as Pierre Boulain. She had heard the name before, and was suddenly aware of what her father had warned her of some time before…”If you see someone wearing anything garish it could be a signal, so pay attention”. In fact a priest had brought this man along so Lily thought he must be trustworthy, but she was right to be suspicious, and her hunch was right, for as they chatted for a while the realization suddenly came to her who the man really was. He didn’t realize at all that she knew the truth of the man sitting opposite her. The meal was good and the evening went well, but work was on her mind as the next day would be busy, so she bade her farewells and left. The following day she had an important task ahead, she had recieved a message that was top priority and had to travel down to the south of France and cross the Pyrenees with a “parcel” of two evaders; an MI9 agent who had to get out as his life was in imminent danger, and another airman. Lily arrived at the destination and hurried the “parcel” along to the safe house where they rested for a short time, soon they were on their way climbing over the mountains, arriving in San Sebastian many hours later with her “parcel”, they had made it to safety. She rested there for a few days then headed back to Paris. Lily was completely shocked at the news that her dear friend Martine had been betrayed and arrested.

D-Day was approaching and the Gestapo were stepping up their raids on the all the escape lines, especially the Comet line. Lily’s dear friend Martine a dentist had been betrayed and was held in the notorious Fresnes prison. Lily was desperate to see her and try and find out who had betrayed her. Petit Lily confronted the prison guards and demanded to see her friend. She convinced the guards and finally she entered, she shouted out to Martine “who betrayed you?” Martine shouted back “it was Pierre…Pierre Boulain”. Lily knew at once who Boulain was, and she was now determined to get the traitor, or the soon the whole Line would be compromised and lost.

It had clicked with Lily that the man wearing the polka-dot tie, that she had met and immediately disliked was…Pierre Boulain, and he, that same man was in fact Jean Masson, he was the traitor who denounced the names of the Comet Line members to the Gestapo. Lily had to announce this terrible news and quickly found two Comet Line members, telling them of her findings, but it was hard for them to accept this unconvincing news, it was dangerous to accuse anyone of such an horrendous crime, but that was the truth. It was imperative that Lily convince the men of the traitor’s identity, so a plan was hatched to confirm it.

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