Welcome to the updated ELMS website
We hope that you will find the updated website interesting and informative. The intention is to try and provide a regular update of news and items for both ELMS members and the wider community with an interest in escape line matters. We have also included a Forum (accessible from the link on the main menu) which we hope will generate questions and answers from the wider community and be used as an information exchange facility. 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
Comete Trail 2014
For the French speakers amongst us, there is an interesting video report on last year’s Comete Trail, reported by journalists of Le Pays Basque magazine. Have a look/listen here.
Sister Kate McCarthy
If you have not heard of this lady (as I hadn’t) then this is a fascinating story of an Irish nun who nursed Allied servicemen in the French town of Bethune during WW1 and WW2. During WW2 she also also joined the local Resistance and helped Allied evaders escape the clutches of the Germans. A short synopsis of her story can be found here:http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/outdoors/richard-collins/a-cork-nuns-extraordinary-life-at-war-278034.html
National Arboretum Event Sunday 10th August 2014
The ELMS summer meeting took place as planned at the NMA on Sunday 10th August. In-spite of poor weather, that prevented a number of members from actually getting to the venue, the hardy group that did make it were treated to a brave display by the band, and a dedication at the ELMS memorial. The inclement weather did serve to remind those present that those escapers, evaders and helpers had to endure much worse, with little prospect of going home to a warm dry house,a hot meal and a change of clothes!
Freteval Forest Commemoration
On the 28th/29th June 2014 the 70th Anniversary Commemoration of Operation Marathon – the secret camp that hid over 150 Allied airmen between May and August 1944 took place. The forest of Freteval is south west of Paris and between May and September 1944 152 aircrew evaders from Great Britain, America, Canada, Belgium, New Zealand and Australia lived in perfectly organised camps in the forest, in the heart of occupied France, and under the very noses of German troops. It is quite remarkable how the Resistance groups involved managed to keep such a large number of evaders hidden and a secret from the inhabitants of local villages. Due to the excellent organisation of the camps, not a single evader was lost or captured. For the full story look Here
Tribute to Signalman Smith
Just to demonstrate how chance encounters can lead to the solving of age old mysteries! The hunt for Signalman Smith began during the Freedom Trail in the Tenna Valley region of Italy in September 2013, when the walkers came across a small iron cross by the roadside. At this spot a certain “Giorgio”, known to be an escaped British POW, had been killed. Nothing else was known about him. Anne Copley, who is a member of the WW2 Escape Lines Memorial Society as well as of MSMT, took up the challenge of investigating further. With the invaluable assistance of Dennis Hill of Indiana University and British researcher Brian Sims, the whole story has been revealed. In parallel, Roger Stanton, director of ELMS, also worked on the story.We now know that “Giorgio” was in fact Signalman Sidney Seymour Smith, captured at the fall of Tobruk and imprisoned at Camp 53 Sforzacosta. How and when he escaped is unclear, but by November 1943 he was hiding at the house of the Mazzoni family, just outside Montelparo. The War Crimes file at the National Archives contains witness statements from the Mazzoni and Viozzi families (among others), from which the story of his murder by the S.S. can be pieced together. For more information look Here and for a much more detailed explanation of what happened go to this link http://www.msmtrust.org.uk/news/a-mystery-solved/