Letter from Emile Witmeur to Roy Langlois

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Title

Letter from Emile Witmeur to Roy Langlois

Description

Thanks him for his letter and says that he had not been helped in his enquiries by the Belgian escape service. Writes of a member of his group that was shot by the Germans and that he had now traced the escape line from the beginning. List names and places involved in Langlois's attempted escape. Mentions that Jack Newton had successfully evaded but he did not know what happened to the other three crew. Writes a little about their crashed Wellington.

Creator

Publisher

IBCC Digital Archive

Date

1945-10-14

Contributor

Rights

This content is available under a CC BY-NC 4.0 International license (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0). It has been published ‘as is’ and may contain inaccuracies or culturally inappropriate references that do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Lincoln or the International Bomber Command Centre. For more information, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ and https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/legal.

Format

Two page handwritten letter

Temporal Coverage

Transcription

Liège, 14th October 1945.
My dear Roy,
Thank you so much for your kind letter of 9th inst. Unfortunately I have not been helped at all in Belgium by the escape service. I wrote several letters and got no answers so that I have been obliged to do the job by myself and it is very long as the agents have changed of residence.
However I shall not give up until I know the whole chain and I think that I have made a step further with your letter of to-day.
I have traced Baron Dong. He has been shot also, but I know where to contact his widow. The poor man was betrayed by a maid-servant who received money from the germans. [sic] He had been bringing meat regularly for people and airmen, hidden in a house of his friends. This became suspicious to the maid who sold him. He was sentenced to death.
I still want to know the name of the agent who transferred you from the small station Ans (outskirts of Liège.) to Brussels. Were you with Newton or not? Then the name of the Lt. and his sister in Brussels Had she something to do with a Miss TELLIER or LE TELLIER?
At last the name of the man who sheltered you one night before you went to Jean Vanderhove.
Now I have found the line from the beginning.
The man who contacted you there on the road and hid you in a wheat field was Mr. DEMOULIN (presently 14 rue MONTEBELLO. ANVERS).
He led you to the farm of Mr. VAN DE VOEGD, KAPPELLENVELD, BOUCHOUT Antwerp, where you stayed one night and were given civilian clothes.
Next day you went to the house of Mr. DUQUENNE. Avenue de Belgique Anvers. The transfer was accomplished by help of Miss VAN EECKHOUD, living presently 14 rue MONTEBELLO (Anvers) and Mr. DUQUENNE.
Next day, you travelled by train to Brussels with Mr DUQUENNE and miss Raymonda TROCKAY, 32 QUAI ORBAN LIÈGE) who led the way till the house of Doctor de BIE. There you met Mr Pastegu, manager of the rubber factory that you had bombed on your mission, then Hacha, who went with you to his sister (Mrs DE RYCKER). After that the villa François where I met with you there. You know the rest, Debacts who sheltered Newton is also dead in the concentration camp of Bramienburg. His widow still hopes but from information that [two missing words] have been transported to the gas chamber when he was last seen in a terrible
[page break]
I had been surprised to be asked at the end of September 1941, to pass three British airmen belonging to a bomber that had landed on an airfield in the neighbourhood of Antwerp.
I accepted to take them, but in order to be sure they were true British, I gave your three names to my informer so that he could ask them the names of the rest of the crew.
I must tell you that it seemed to me so amazing that I had fears. The three men were MacLaren, H. BURREL and R. PORTEUS. BURREL was your co-pilot, I think. They were all sergeants, (co-pilot, navigator, rear-gunner).
What became of them I do not know thoroughly. They stayed more than a month at Mrs. DE BEUKELAERS, Rue GUEULLINCKS, Antwerp.
When I got the O.K., I was told that they did not need my help, any more.
A little later I was informed that three [inserted] more [/inserted] airmen, belonging to the same aircraft were in Brussels. It was too much. I knew that you were six, all in all. But the three in question were Langlois, Newton and Copley. I had been contacted by another way.
Burrel, MacLaren and Porteous were visited in Antwerp, by Lt. Commander W. GRISAR, Royal Navy, H.M.S. “Royal AHTELSTAN”. This man, who reached England later on, went to the AIR MINISTRY and testified for Newton who had alone had the luck to return.
Your aircraft had not burnt entirely. There was a famous panic among the germans [sic] when you set fire to your bomber. They came with their fire extinguishers and saved only one of the Merlin Engines. Then they sent their police on your track. The whole city knew about the extraordinary story and was high time to send you outside Antwerp. The germans [sic] were absolutely mad. All over Belgium they put advertisements promising a lot of money to the people who would give information and telling that those helping the [inserted] airmen [/inserted] would be sentenced to death. They did the same in all the newspapers and I remember to have shown you the text, cut from our local newspaper.
Within a few weeks, I shall write to you the result of my correspondence with Brussels and I hope to be able to put the final point to your trip in Belgium.
Thank you again for what you do concerning Vandenhove and our men. Life goes on and the families already suffer from the lack of interest shown to those who died for their country. The people here only think to live by all their means.
Cheerio my dear Roy,
I remain yours very sincerely
[signature]
195 Rue de Campine
Liège. Belgium

Citation

E V Witmeur, “Letter from Emile Witmeur to Roy Langlois,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 11, 2021, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/27326.

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