Phil Elger/Bill Evans - The French Resistance, part 1

Running time
3 min 14 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


Bill: I was shot down and during the night or day I just stayed in this forest or walked a short distance from it.

There were fields all around and a couple tracks which crossed and I saw some men riding their bicycles along one track and they looked like farm workers and I took a chance.

I said 'Yes. They're farm workers.'

So I walked along the track and they were met by more farm workers who were coming on another track which crossed and there we were in a bunch down here, about ten of us I suppose and I just said 'Ou et les Pyrenees?' I thought I'd walk to the Pyrenees.

I said 'Which way? This way, this way, this way?'

They said 'No. No.'

I said 'How many kilometres the Pyrenees?'

They said 'Six-hundred.'

And I said 'Thank you very much.'

And nobody offered any assistance.

So I said 'Merci. Thank you. Bon voyage.'

And off I went. 600Ks to the Pyrenees.

Well I suppose I went about one kilometre, this is out in the country, way out in the country and suddenly I met two ladies. They were at a farm and I went in, they said 'Come in'. I took a chance, I really did.

They were friendly, you know, because sometimes we had, what do you call those people?

Informers out there, all over France, you know, there were spies and things but anyway I took a chance and they said 'Come in'.

I stayed there, they put me in a loft and they said 'We'll get some assistance.' So they did some homework and rang and carried on and they said 'A bloke will come here and take you to a forest which is safe and the plane will come from England and take you back.' I thought, fair enough.

This sounds really good and anyway during the night a bloke arrived on a cycle, he said 'Follow me.'

I haven't told you yet, did I tell you about my shoe? I lost a shoe on the way down and they got me this big size 19 or whatever it was and I put it on and had to walk and, of course, I got cramp in the groin but that was alright. I had to walk all night and they were taking me to this place where you're going to get help and they took me to this castle where I met the underground people, the Resistance. The Resistance.

Yeah. And oh the blood thirsty looking men. They were dreadful, really. Beards and swords and everything. Anyway I was a bit scared but they gave us something to eat and there was another guy there and he said 'Come on. I'm taking you to safety.'

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