Letter from Emile Witmeur to Roy Langlois and report of crash landing and subsequent attempted escape of crew aided by Belgian escape line



Letter from Emile Witmeur to Roy Langlois and report of crash landing and subsequent attempted escape of crew aided by Belgian escape line


Writes that he had not found out how Langlois was arrested but it seem that the Belgian he was with had been betrayed. Asks about his activates after the war and tells a little of his own. Says he is enclosing report. Report covers the crash landing of Wellington W-5423 G", the climate in Belgium in August 1941. Development of the escape line in Belgium, Germans air defences and combats with RAF bombers, Germans warnings to Belgium about hiding downed RAF aircrew. Chronology of people and places who helped crew initially. List of crew and some addresses and current situation of surviving Belgian members of escape line. Continues to describe the parts others played in helping the Langlois's crew including to ascertain that they were really downed aircrew. The six were divided into two groups of three and Newton got back to England but the two in his subgroup were captured.




Temporal Coverage



One page handwritten letter and ten page typewritten document


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7 December 1945.
My dear Roy,
I did not succeed up to now to find out how you have been arrested in Belgium. From rumours it seems that Vandenhove has been betrayed by somebody who watched the house. Baron Dong was taken in the same way, and sold to the Germans by a maid-servant who wanted to get money. I have been arrested myself after somebody had sent an anonymous letter but I never knew who it was.
You will find enclosed the report I wrote about the case. It is well known that your landing rendered the Germans so mad that they issued special warnings in the newspapers after it, but we did not know at the time.
Tell me a little about your life now. Did you fly again, and what kind of ship. How are you getting on?
I left the airfield [sic] in August after the Atom got hold of the Japs. Since then I am out of work though I have so many things to do that I am glad to be free for the moment. I have left the Army definitely. They did not accept to take me back as pilot as I am 38 years old and that I belonged to the reserve. May be that I shall get a new job soon.
The economical situation in Belgium is growing better but the political one is far to be favourable. Compared with France and Holland, we are recovering faster but our problems are not so hard to solve. Moreover, a small country like Belgium, even prosperous, will never weigh in the universal balance and that is why the big nations let her recover and help her. There is no need to speak of competition on foreign markets when speaking of Belgium, as the volume of business will never be big enough in the same branch to trouble a competition of the big nations.
The problem is more political than economical and the communists work a lot. They are very active and take profit of all disunions to win some ground.
I am sending this letter to your club, as you very probably did not receive the ones I sent to the Officer’s Mess. What is your address where I can always reach you? Did you go back to the Channel Islands? I think that you once lived there.
I wish you and your folks a very merry Christmas and a Happy new Year


E V Witmeur, “Letter from Emile Witmeur to Roy Langlois and report of crash landing and subsequent attempted escape of crew aided by Belgian escape line,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed February 26, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/27327.

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