The War Log of Bill Allen – part 2

Evasion……..

“Luckily as the morning progressed the sun became hotter and I was soon dry. I had a good look round and I saw that there were two clusters of buildings, one to the south, and one to the north, the northernmost looking the most likely place to get help. The buildings in the south looked like a fair sized village, and a mast that stuck up in the sky indicated a radio location station and the presence in the village of Germans, the very people I did not wish to contact especially as I still had on my uniform, so I hid up all day until 11 o’clock that night. It was very monotonous but it gave my leg a chance to rest and to lose some of its pain. By 11 o’clock it was quite dark and I set off across the fields towards the group of farm buildings, which on getting nearer I discovered to be a small village called Trembloy le Viconte, this name I discovered later that night.

I walked very cautiously into the village, and as quiet as I was, every dog in the place barked like the devil. I think every damned house in France has a dog, much to my disgust. These dogs became a source of worry to me, because all the houses strangely enough were situated in a great yard with the house at one end and stables and cowsheds etc. at the other end, the dog usually loose in the yard. All the yards and buildings were surrounded by a high wall with a large wrought iron gate. As I passed these gates the dogs ran barking to the gates and tried to jump over them to get at me, luckily the gates were al closed.

At about midnight, I had come upon a farm with apparently no dog, so I made up my mind to approach it with a view to obtaining help. Remembering all the instructions I had received from time to time during my training I entered the yard very carefully, and noticed a light over one of the outhouses so I decided to try that first. I knocked quietly on the door, then ducked behind another small building which gave me a clear view of the door and also the way out of the yard again in the event of a Bosche opening the door.

The door opened and much to my relief a young fellow of about 17 looked out so I walked up to him and explained who I was and my position in France. He dragged me inside, and I was very surprised to find myself inside a converted cowshed with six beds along one wall, five of them occupied by youths of about the same age as the one who had let me in. The first youth whose name I learned was Jeanne, and seemed to be the senior, woke up the other youths and explained to them my predicament. The result was rather startling. At the sight of my uniform they all started chatting at once, in French of course, until the place sounded like a monkey house. One thing that amazed me, they accepted me at face value for what I was, and did not ask me to identify myself at once. I gathered that I must have been the first R.A.F. man they had contacted. The first few moments were spent by all the boys dashing around, and offering me food and wine which at the time I did not particularly want, as the shaking I had taken when being shot down had deprived me of my appetite, and had so upset my nerves that my hands were trembling like an old man with ague – this fortunately was not to be permanent. After a while they had a conference, and I gathered from signs and the little French that I knew, that nothing was to be done that night, and they invited me to sleep in the spare bed in the room which I gladly accepted as my leg was giving me hell and I was very tired…..”

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