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My Honour to meet “Lily”.

 

This most incredible account of the Comet Line inspired me to try and meet some of those still alive. I was determined and it was going to be difficult as I had hardly any information as to where any of these Heroic people lived, no addresses only the possible town where they lived.  For all I knew they could well have moved on or passed away. But my desire was to find any remaining members so that I could have the privilege to meet them, so it was a matter of searching the town where I thought they lived, and asking many questions from the locals.

While on holiday in Frejus in the South of France in 2006, I had read a book about the Comet Line and found some information on the internet, and found out that one of the remaining members lived only 200 odd miles from where I was.

I had the name of the village and found it on the map, so I jumped in my camper and headed for Avignon, the village I was looking for lay in the hillsides to the south-west of the city. The hours rolled by and I arrived in the tiny village at about 2 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon, it was hot and humid inland and there was no one about, surely inside and out of the heat. I knocked on one door and in my poor French asked the questions, to my delight the man pointed and explained that the man across the road would know. I walked to the big iron gates and pressed the bell, fortunately the man who came out spoke excellent English, his name was Jean Emmanuel Rey, he invited me in and we chatted, I explained my situation and he knew the couple I was looking for very well and gave me directions as to where to find the house. I drove down the hill around some hairpin bends and came to the house I was searching for, I was filled with some trepidation as to whether they were in, as I had driven for 6 odd hours to get here, but that’s the chance you have to take in these matters.

I knocked at the door and a pleasant grey headed woman answered, I greeted her and asked “are you Lily, Madame”…“yes” she answered in a shy manner. Lily and her husband Pierre invited me into their lovely house, which stands overlooking the fine hills of Provence. We talked for a long time and told me of some of her exploits when she was in the Comet Line, I was enthralled at the Bravery of such a small woman…how she had confidently confronted the German guards to be let into Fresnes prison to see her friend Martine, and then to cross the Pyrenees alone. I was absolutely amazed that this woman of such small stature of how incredibly Brave she had been.

The conversation continued about her life and she showed me photos of her during the war years, and her husband’s role in British Intelligence, how they both had met in London in 1944 and married in 1945, both still in uniform.


picture of the couple getting married and after 60 years)
We all chatted together and I asked if she would allow me to take a photo of her and her husband, they agreed willingly and I took the photo. Lily showed me a large photograph on the wall of all of her family, she was a proud woman and deserved the wonderful family she had, and the friends from the Comet Line, and many just like me who just want to meet her and in our own way…Just to say…”Thankyou...Dear Madame and Monsieur for your Bravery and Courage”.

It was time to leave, I asked them to sign the book I had, they did, and they kindly gave me a photo when they got married in London in 1945 and together on their 60th wedding anniversary, a very happy couple today. Lily gave me the address of her sister Nadine and Dedee, who I will visit this year 2007…To say…My own Thankyou…!!!  (

We went to the garden and they thanked me for coming to visit them, I kissed both Lily and Pierre on each cheek. I was a very Honoured and Privileged to meet them. I got in my camper we all waved goodbye and I drove off into the beautiful hillside roads that took me through the lovely meadows of  Provence…It certainly was a wonderful day to remember…!!!

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