Escape Lines Memorial Society – News Updates

Escape Lines Memorial Society – What’s New

  1. General Round-up
  2. ELMS Commemorative Journal
  3. A Family Pilgrimage
  4. Remember the film The Great Escape
  5. New Book
  6. Fundraising and Donations
  7. The Comete Trail – A Dangerous Crossing!

If any of the events listed on our calendar are of interest to you then please  do get in touch for more information.  Full details of the Comete Line Reunion weekend in Brussels in October are now available.  Please use the Learn More button on the photo above.

Escape Lines Material for Schools.

We have a section specifically for schools (under Young ELMS) and will be continuing to develop that section this year and we have produced a school’s pack (created by teachers) which is free of charge.  Just contact us for your copy.


If you have any items, photos or articles which you think may be of interest then please do contact us using the contact form available on the main menu.

ELMS  Forum

We have received recently several enquiries from individuals seeking information about either WW2 contacts that involved their relatives, or decorations and awards that their relatives might have received.  Although we do hold a significant quantity of archive material there are often occasions when we can provide little in the way of help.  We do have a Forum, where visitors can post queries which can broadcast their question to a much wider audience.  To post on the forum you do need to register, but this is free and does not require any further commitment.  The forum is available through the link on the main menu bar at the top of this page.  We look forward to having you join us.

Escape Lines Photograph Album

The is a considerable collection of photos covering many of the events and occasions attended by ELMS members.  Please click on this ELMS link

Comete Trail – 2015

The majority of the Comete Trail events take place in reasonable weather, and walkers have been, for many years able to wade across the River Bidassoa, as would have been the case for those escapers and their Helpers making the crossing to Spain.  However, just to emphasis how risky the whole operation was, not only because of the Germans forces but also the dangers crossing rivers have a look at this picture of the River Bidassoa

A Commemorative Journal


Did you attend any of the Escape Line Reunions at Eden Camp and/or the Talbot Hotel in Malton, in the early days of the Society, but in particular between 1989 and 1995, or do you know someone who did?  The Director is putting together a pictorial record to celebrate the twenty fifth anniversary of our reunion at the Eden Camp Museum, 1990 -2015. The volume will be A4 size, printed on high quality paper and filled largely with photos.

We would be grateful for ANY photos which record events covering that 25 year period, but in particular we are looking for photos of reunions during the early years.  The majority of our members in those early years were Army Escapers, together with some from SOE and also MGB crews of the 15th Flotilla (Shelburn Line) and helpers. A number of RAFES airmen also attended.

If you are willing to lend us the photo’s for copying they will be returned to you as soon as possible. Alternatively if you have electronic copies please email these to  or to

Please include a note explaining who is in the photo, and also include your own name and address so that original photos can be returned to you. We are happy to receive photos in black and white or colour and in any condition.  Although we will use as many pictures as possible we cannot guarantee that they will all be used but we will try our best.

Thank you for your help in this matter.

A Family Pilgrimage

To read the story of  what a family discovered about their father’s time as a POW, and then as a partisan in Italy during WW2, have a look here.

Do You Remember the film The Great Escape

I am sure most of us remember the film, but I am also sure that most of us didn’t realise that the character played by Steve McQueen, Virgil Hilts the ‘Cooler King’ was in fact based on a real airman.  Click on the photo to read the story behind the story!

The Great Escape


And for a short article on one of the last two survivors of that event, Flt Lt Paul Royle who was recaptured about 20 kms from Stalag Luft 111.  He died recently aged 101 and there is a short article on the RAF website. Click on this photo (Royle is back row, right)

The Great Escape 2


(With Thanks to the RAF)

New Book

Risking and Resisting

A lady by the name of Marie Le Febvre has just published an account of her family’s involvement with the Comete Line during WW2.  The book deals partially with the crew of a B-17 bomber, Moonglow, who were sheltered by the great grandparents, Christianne and Claude Le Febvre.  However it also deals with the family’s general involvement in the fight against the Nazis in France.  The book can be downloaded free until the 22nd October, and again will be available free on the 11th November.  If you wish to download a copy please go to:

The book is also available as a paperback, ISBN Number 30005077493.  We have not yet had the opportunity of reviewing the book and will do so as soon as we receive a copy.

Our latest selection of books includes an in depth study of the Nazi Concentration Camp System, the personal story of an RAF Wireless Operator/Gunner’s wartime service, including his capture, incarceration in PG 70 in Italy, escape and eventual evacuation by sea, and finally a detailed examination of what really happened on Omaha Beach on the morning of June 6th 1944.  For a short review of each one have a look here . We will also soon be reviewing a copy of Great Escapes, which tells the story of M.I.9’s escape and evasion programme.  We will publish the review as soon as we receive a copy of the book.

And we have a new addition to our Young ELMS book reviews, Run, Spy, Run by Craig Simpson.  Have a look at the Young ELMS section to see a short review


We are grateful to The Alarm Monitoring Company Ltd for their recent generous donation

As a registered charity we are entirely dependant on the generosity of our members and others whose contributions enable us to fulfill our objectives.  As the number of veterans we support slowly dwindles we are re-focusing our work on educating present and future generations about our particular part of this nation’s military history.  We produce school packs which comply with the requirements of school curriculae, and we support students from countries where civilians provided help and assistance to escapers/evaders by bringing them to the UK to attend events.  We also promote our trails, events where we can retrace the footsteps taken by our fathers and grandfathers, during which local historians deliver informal talks or more formal lectures about events in their particular area.   To enable us to continue to do this we would be grateful for any support you might wish to give us.  We have set up a donation link with BT MyDonate, which operates on a not for profit basis.  If you would like to donate to our charity please go to Donate to ELMS, or if you would like to fund raise for us by participating in or staging an event then please contact us via our website.

Upcoming Events

  1. Italian Freedom Trail, Sulmona

    April 23, 2016 @ 8:00 pm - April 25, 2016 @ 6:00 pm
  2. ELMS Reunion Week

    April 26, 2016 - May 2, 2016
  3. Tenna Valley Freedom Trail

    May 11, 2016 @ 4:00 pm - May 16, 2016 @ 10:00 am