Hugh Verity DSO &bar, DFC. No. 161 Special Duties Squadron RAF

Hugh Verity oc ‘A’ Flight 161 Squadron

No.161 Special Duties Squadron RAF was responsible for supporting SOE and other agents working in occupied France and pilots flew alone in a slow, single engine Lysander aircraft which was unarmed and had an extra fuel tank bolted between the undercarriage to allow them to fly deeper into France and return to England. Pilots used moonlight to identify land marks whilst also watching out for night fighters and ground defences and had to find remote farmland to pick up or deliver agents.  

When Hugh Verity was asked why he decided to make one pickup in pitch darkness and no moon he replied, “I wanted to see how frightening it was and that’s why I never did it again”. The truth is, he volunteered to take the mission after being told an SOE agent was attempting to escape the Gestapo and if he was not extracted he would very likely be captured, tortured then executed. Verity was the OC of ‘A’ Flight? and because it was not known whether it was possible to complete this sortie without moonlight and it was widely acknowledged it could be a one-way trip, due to the additional and unknown dangers Verity would not contemplate ordering one of his pilots to fly the sortie and decided to do it himself. After over eight-hours of fear and uncertainty Hugh Verity successfully rescued the agent.

No. 138 Special Duties Squadron RAF: a few memories told by pilots and crews who flew Halifax Bombers supporting resistance movements in occupied Europe during WW2.

Halifax at RAF Tempford

No. 138 Special Duties Squadron supported SOE, MI6, MI9, the Free French and resistance movements throughout occupied Europe. Apart from dropping agents by parachute most of the weapons, sabotage stores and money to finance resistance arrived by parachute during moon periods and 138 Squadron was base at RAF Tempsford near Sandy Bedfordshire.

Flying Officer Reginald Lewis Halifax Observer/bomb-aimer

My trips from Tempsford involved going down to the south of France, a couple of trips to Norway and one in Germany itself. That one always surprises me, because we had an agent dressed up in a German uniform.

The squadron was operating as far as Poland and that was quite a long flight in wartime conditions, from the UK up to somewhere like Warsaw was something like fifteen hours. Apart from the danger of the flight itself it was almost at the complete endurance of a Halifax. They just couldn’t hold any more octane. And a couple of crews were lost, particularly over the Baltic, to night fighter attacks.

Squadron Leader Frank Griffiths Halifax Pilot

Polish crews joined us… and they were marvellously aggressive…   The British would come back the proper way as briefed, but you’d be very surprised to come back and find that the Poles were about an hour ahead of you, because they’d come back through the middle of Germany, and they never had a bullet left. Having got rid of the packages to be dropped or the men, they would go on a shoot-up in Germany. And, of course, in many places the aircraft got hit and then we had to repair them…. You couldn’t help but admire them… They were wonderful chaps. There was no turning back with the Poles.

Wing Commander Ken Batchelor Halifax Pilot

People were attacked, intercepted, here and there. I did a dog-leg to avoid the German airfield near Caen and of course flew right over the bloody airfield and we were at nought feet. It was very interesting over the housetops with tracer bullets horizontal over and under your wings.

Pilot Officer John Charrot Halifax observer/bomb aimer

In France they had these trains which were usually carrying troops… but you couldn’t tell that on the back they had a gun, a flak gun, and this night we didn’t pick it up and they started firing. But Terry, from the rear turret was so quick that he knocked it out before much damage had been done until we heard the dispatcher screaming over the intercom, ‘All the joe’s {agents} are hit and the aircraft is riddled with holes.’

 During the same interview Frank Griffiths who was the pilot added:

As a matter of fact, the expression he used was, ‘It looks like a butcher’s shop in the back.’ None of the RAF crew were hurt, fortunately, but we turned around and came back…. After we landed the petrol was still pouring out of the aircraft and the medical officer on the station sent the casualties off to hospital. Then a medical orderly who’d been told to clean up all the syringes and things we’d used in our first aid kit, found the ear of a man… and the ear was packed in ice, rushed down to the hospital and sewn on and it was quite ok, he got his ear back. I don’t know what his hearing was like, but it was quite a gory job.

Squadron Leader Frank Griffiths Halifax Pilot

I was to drop this load off just north of Annecy, about halfway between Annecy and the Swiss town of Geneva. Most of the equipment, military equipment, was for the Plateau des Gliéres, this very high plateau, which was an excellent place for the Maquis {French Resistance} to hide out… On the third trip one engine failed. At first it sounded like fuel starvation. I wasn’t over worried. Slapped it into coarse pitch, which means less drag, and the flight engineer started to try and sort things out… we seemed to be doing quite well on three {engines} and even climbed a bit. Then {we} turned around and came back…. There’s nothing worse than having a four-engined bomber that won’t climb in the bottom of an Alpine valley in the middle of the night, even if it is a full moon.

The next thing that happened was the other engine on that wing went. That’s no.2 engine… I sent the crew to crash stations and then we hit the first house. In fact, the last thing the dispatcher said to me over the intercom was, ‘All Ok, skipper. Crews to crash stations.’ That was actually the last spoken message. Before that, this chap McKenzie, the co-pilot, who’d merely come for the trip because he was so keen, had wrestled with the escape hatch over my head and got that off. Then the aircraft broke up and I got shot through this hatch and partly through the window screen with my seat attached and about a good hundredweight of thick steel armour plating behind.

I ended up in telephone wires between two poles. Meanwhile the aircraft had crashed, and the crew were killed, though I believe Maden, the dispatcher did get as far as the hospital in Annecy and then died. It’s hard for me to say exactly what went on. There was a tremendous fire…      

SOE Wireless Operators in France.

As with all countries under German occupation, in France the Abwehr (German Military Intelligence) and the Gestapo employed huge resources to track down wireless operators. Apart from resistance movements being unable to function without arms, explosives and other support which could only be obtained through wireless links to London, Hugo Bleicher who was a senior non-commissioned officer with the Abwehr and responsible for crushing resistance in France, said they regarded wireless operators as a rich source of intelligence because they had knowledge of every message and orders received from London.

Hugo Bleicher

The headquarters of the French Section in London were aware of the dangers facing their agents and those volunteering for wireless training were told their chances of survival, with a bit of luck, was six-weeks and if captured they would very likely be tortured by the Gestapo for their personal codes which could be used by a German operator to ‘play-back’ their wireless to London. Only later did the section become aware ‘play-back’ had been used by the Germans with great success in the Netherlands and many agents along with members of the resistance had been killed or transported to concentration camps where they were later executed. (information about the Dutch section will found at the link provided)

Jacqueline Nearne, former courier with SOE French seen in the public information film ‘School for Danger: Now the truth can be told’ which was produced after the war.

Agents volunteering for wireless duties were sent on a technically challenging course at the Wireless and Security School and the two main establishments were located at Fawley Court in Henley-on-Thames and Thames House in Oxfordshire.  Apart from learning to send and receive Morse Code at a sufficient speed they needed to understand radio wave propagation, the use of cyphers and learn how to repair their wireless in the field. They also needed to prove their competence in the use of various security measures intended to make it difficult for German direction finders pin-pointing the safe houses they were using whilst in contact with London.

A recent photograph of Fawley Court

When wireless trained agents arrived in France their first task was to find several suitable locations from which to use their transmitter to pass messages to London as quickly as possible whilst ensuring they never stayed on the air for over twenty-minutes, but for a variety of reasons some operators broke the twenty-minute rule and did not survive the war.

It was not long before the Germans introduced radio jammers which apart from making it difficult to send and receive messages was also intended to force operators to remain longer on the air to pass messages.

Information about the Wireless War against SOE D Section (Dutch)

Gerry Holdsworth and the Helford Flotilla

In 1940 after SOE decided they needed a clandestine naval section to support their agents in France they quickly became aware finding officers and men with the essential seamanship skills and experience would be difficult.  They needed men who could quietly navigate rocks and sandbanks close to enemy shores in pitch-darkness and without the aid of moonlight.

Through their network of discreet contacts SOE was given the name of Gerry Holdsworth and discovered he had all the qualifications they were looking for in a commander: whilst working for D Section SIS (MI6) he used a small yacht to reconnoiter the Norwegian coast and whilst operating at night and close to the shore he frequently navigated the various hazards.

After being approached by SOE to command their naval section he accepted the appointment and he along with his wife who had also served with D Section established the flotilla on the Helford Estuary at Port Navas in Cornwall.

Those he recruited included Fishermen with extensive experience of the enemy coast and former smugglers which one officer described as the buccaneer type who if they overheard we needed something they would go out and pinch and it would suddenly appear on the quay.  Apart from transporting agents to and from Brittany they also delivered weapons and sabotage stores and rendezvoused with French fishing trawlers and loaded them with Tuna packed with explosives, detonators and timing devices.   

The Mutin

One new recruit who previously served as a quartermaster with the Royal Navy later recalled, “On my arrival at the quay I saw heaps of sails on the deck covered in blood. Shipwrights were digging out shrapnel from bow to stern and I thought to myself God what have I let myself in for! … I was later told, after dropping off an agent the Mutin {name of vessel} was spotted by a German aircraft and raked by cannon fire during which the engineer was killed…”    

Wanborough Manor :A widely forgotten historic building connected with SOE during WW2

This 16th century manor house located near the Hogs Back in Guilford, Surrey is now private property which has been divided into several expensive apartments. Located in the small village of Wanborough from which it took its name, before being converted after the war Wanborough Manor was one large property in several acres of its own private grounds with a medieval barn and a small chapel.

In 1940 this large, isolated property along with its grounds were commandeered for war service and become the preliminary training school for the French Section of the Special Operations Executive and was officially referred to as STS 5, Ironically the manor is not far from a village called Normandy, and the first ‘students’ arrived in February 1941.

Apart from fitness training and being taught basic military skills Wanborough was used to weed-out those considered unsuitable to become agents and students the training staff believed would be unable to pass the advance training in Scotland and the finishing school at Beaulieu in the New Forrest. Wanborough was used until March 1943 when the Students Assessment Board (SAB) was established at Winterfold House near Cranleigh in Surrey.

SOE agent Harry Peulevé DSO, MC (a brief overview of a very active agent)

Harry Peulevé undertook three missions to France and eventually formed a clandestine circuit called Author where he armed and trained more than 4000 members of the resistance. He was aware of being on the Gestapo wanted list but turned down an opportunity to be extracted from France by the RAF Special Duties Squadron.  Peulevé and several members of the local resistance were later arrested at a safehouse and eventually taken to the Gestapo headquarters in Paris where they were separated before being interrogated.

Peulevé was tortured for several days but refused to answer their questions and was transferred to a solitary confinement cell at Fresnes Prison. During an escape attempt he was shot in the leg and after being refused medical treatment was forced to remove the bullet by digging it out with a dirty prison spoon whilst hoping the wound would not become infected. He was later deported to a concentration camp and after eleven agents were executed and knowing he could be next he swapped his identity with a French prisoner named Marcel Seigneur who had died from Typhus. In early 1945 Peulevé, now known to the SS guards as Marcel Seigneur, was transferred to a labour detail where he was forced to dig anti-tank ditches near the River Elbe and after advancing American forces reached Magdenburg he managed to escape.

Several hours later he was stopped by two SS soldiers but managed to convince them he was a French collaborator trying to avoid the advancing Americans and then warned them to remove their tunics and insignias because the Americans were shooting members of the SS. As they began to undress Peulevé grabbed one of their pistols and later handed them over to soldiers of the 83rd US Infantry Division. After being debriefed he returned to England and landed at Croydon Airport on 18 April 1945.

SOE Memorial in Valençay, France.

The Special Operations Executive (SOE) Memorial in Valençay, France in the department of Indre was erected close to the area where the first SOE agent, George Bégue (aka George Noble) infiltrated France by parachute and made the first radio transmission to London and arranged the first weapons to be dropped by parachute to members of the French Resistance.

The role of honour lists the names of the 91 men and 13 women members of SOE who did not return from France and the monument symbolises the clandestine nature of SOE.

Dark columns evoke the clandestine side of night flights during moon periods when agents were sent to France, weapons and sabotage stores arrived by parachute to members of the resistance.

It’s clear column evokes the courage and the final victory of resistance.

Between the columns, a disk evokes the accomplice moon for the favourable full moon periods for clandestine air operations (parachute, landing and pickups

Three bright blocks evoke the markup L prepared on the ground by those receiving the agents to assist guiding the planes

The memorial was dedicated by the Minister of Veterans Affairs for France and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother on 6 May1991 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of F Section’s first agent to arrive in France. The monument is called the ‘Spirt of Partnership’.

Sonya Butt: SOE Agent with the French Section

On this day 28 May, in 1944 Sonya Butt was 20 years-old and only recently completed her training when she infiltrated France by parachute to work for SOE’s underground circuit called ‘Headmaster’ which was preparing to support the Normandy Landings. Butt travelled great distances mainly by train and bicycle throughout France delivering messages and liaising with other parts of the clandestine network during which she was regularly stopped and questioned by German troops, but her cover story and forged documents passed scrutiny. After their weapons instructor was killed as well as continuing her essential work as a courier to ensure Headmaster was ready to sabotage prearranged targets, ambushing German forces and work in conjunction with other circuits supporting the landings, Butt also became the circuit’s weapons instructor and began teaching members of the resistance how to use a variety of weapons and basic field craft.  Sonya was born in Eastchurch, Kent England and after the war married Canadian SOE agent Guy D’Artois and moved to Canada, she died in Montreal on 21 December 2014 at the age of 80. 

German Spies Executed at the Tower of London During the Two World Wars

Tower of London During WW2

The Tower of London was built by William the Conqueror during the 1070’s and later became infamous as a prison, a place of torture and execution under the Tudors and is now a popular tourist attraction noted for housing the Crown Jewels, but it is not widely known for the execution of German spies.  

Carl Lody WW1 German Spy

In November 1914, German agent Carl Lody was using the cover name Charles Inglis when he was arrested in Edinburgh for sending information to Germany on British warships and became the first person for more than 150 years to be executed at the Tower of London.

 A Yeoman Warden named John Fraser who saw Lody being taken to his execution in a purpose-built indoor firing range later wrote:

“The prisoner walked steadily, stiffly upright through the doorway, and yet as easily and unconcerned as though he were going to a tea party instead of death… The procession disappeared through the doorway of the sinister shed and shortly after came the muddles sound of a single volley – Carl Lody had paid for his crime”

During the First World War eleven German spies were executed at the Tower of London, but surprisingly some were not German nationals and included Latvians, two Dutchmen, a Swede, a Turk and three South Americans who decided to work for German intelligence.

Firing range in a shed at the Tower of London which was used for executions

Another Yeoman Warden named Kevin Kitcher explained:

There would have been a chair there… The prisoner would have been sat down either with bandages or leather straps binding him to the chair. A bandage would have been put over the eyes, and shortly after that the execution would take place. After the execution the spies were buried in Plaistow cemetery in Newham. London.”

A twelfth spy named Robert Rosenthal was hanged at Wandsworth Prison on 15 July 1915.

World War Two

Josef Jakpobs was the last person to be executed at the Tower of London.

Josef Jackpods

During the Second World War MI5 was running Operation Double Cross which mainly consisted of German spies who were turned after being captured and were passing false information to Berlin, and through this deception MI5 was aware Jakpobs was being sent to England.

On the night of 31 October 1941, Jakpobs parachuted onto a field near Dover House Farm in Ramsey Huntingdonshire, a district in Cambridgeshire, and broke his leg after landing badly and was quickly spotted by a farmer and was arrested by the Home Guard who also recovered his wireless transmitter.

He was then taken to Ramsey police station where he was found to have £500, false identity papers and a photograph of a woman calling herself Clare Bauerle who was also a German agent he had planned to meet at an address in Birmingham. Jakpobs was then transferred to Cannon Row police station in London where he was interrogated by MI5 officers.

On 4-5 August 1941 Jacobs was tried at the Duke of York’s army headquarters in Chelsea, London and sentenced for espionage.

Chair used during the execution of German spy Josef Jackpods

On 15 August 1941 at 0700 hrs Josef Jakobs was taken to the indoor firing range at the Tower of London, the same range used for the execution of eleven German agents during World War One, he was then strapped to a brown coloured Windsor chair before being shot by an eight-man firing squad from the Scots Guards. His body was then buried in an unmarked grave at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Kensal Green, London.

Additional reading, Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies by Ben Macintyre

The SOE Agent in France and her husband working for the Gestapo.

Suzanne Warenghem (Warren) who served with SOE DF Section in France

Due to conspiracy theories and published accounts which vary considerably the story of Suzanne Warenghem and her treacherous husband Harold Cole is complex and beyond the scope of this short article. Consequently, the following is an overview of events leading to the deaths of an unknown number of agents and French citizens of which Suzanne Warenghem, who later changed her surname to Warren, was unaware until her husband was exposed by other agents.    

In an article written by Jacques Ghémard he describes Suzanne Warenghem as a 19-year-old British agent serving with the Special Operation Executive (SOE) who worked with the PAT escape line. If Warenghem, as Ghémard states, was serving with SOE she was likely to be a member of DF Section which was an independent subsection within SOE responsible for escape and evasion which worked closely with similar organisations including MI9, and this would account for her connection with the escape line.

After being arrested, which is discussed later, Warenghem was sent to Castres prison in southern France where she met Blanche Charlet an agent serving with SOE’s F Section who had been captured along with her wireless operator Brian Stonehouse.  The two women quickly became friends and later escaped together during an audacious mass escape consisting of around 37 prisoners. Several decades after the war Blanch Charlet became relatively well known by historians but Suzanne Warenghem along with her war service and achievements as an agent was overshadowed by the story of her treacherous English husband Harold Cole.

After the war Airey Neave (MI9) said “Cole was among the most selfish and callous traitors who ever served the enemy in time of war”

James Langley who also served with MI9 said, “Cole was a con man, thief and utter shit who betrayed his country to the highest bidder for money”.   

The PAT Escape Line

Susanne Wareneghem and her husband Harold Cole worked for the Pat O’Leary Line which was also referred to as the PAT Line, O’Leary Line, PAO and PAT, and this underground network was financed by MI9 in London to facilitate escape and evasion of allied soldiers and airmen and is credited for assisting over 5,000 military personnel,  mainly consisting of downed aircrews, to escape occupied Belgium and the Netherland and it is thought PAT rescued over 600 allied soldiers and airmen from France.

Although PAT was the largest escape line it worked jointly with MI9, DF Section SOE, the Comet Line, Shelburne Escape Line, Overcloud and several others which were established and run by French citizens after Operation Dynamo which was the emergency evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940. It has also been estimated around 12,000 people, nearly all civilians and around half of which were women worked on the escape line and a conservative estimate of the number of those captured and subsequently executed is around 500 to 575.

All these escape lines were busy throughout the war and according to author Douglas Reanne one former member said:  “It was raining aviators at the height of WW2… On 14 October 1943, 82 bombers with 800 crew members of the US Eighth Air Force were shot down or crashed landed in occupied Europe. Most were killed or captured but some were rescued by the escape lines and made it safely back to England”.

There are also many accounts of RAF aircrews, which at the time was very cosmopolitan, being rescued by civilians who were aware if they were caught by the Germans they would be executed, and their families were also in mortal danger from being used as deterrents.   

Albert Guérisse, head of the Pat O’Leary Line which operated in France, Belgium and the Netherlands

The Abwehr (German Military Intelligence), Gestapo and Milice were always competing for the recruitment of double agents and collaborators from the small number of morally bankrupt members of society who were willing to sell people to the Germans and were not concerned those they informed on were likely to be executed or deported to concentration camps.     

This was not unique to France, in most countries under occupation could be found the morally disengaged who were willing to sell members of their communities to the highest bidder and this was often the Gestapo whose reputation for brutality was well known throughout occupied Europe. 

From Federal German Archives.

An important part of the German and Milice counter-resistance operations was the infiltration of escape lines and blocking known routes to neutral Spain and Switzerland.

The Germans were aware the escape network consisted of a large number of civilians scattered throughout France with each member being responsible for their own section of the line (route) who delivered escapers further along the escape line where other members took over and this process continued until they reached neutral Spain; occasionally small groups of escapers were taken to an isolated prearranged location in France to wait for an emergency extraction by air or sea.

Senior Abwehr and Gestapo officers also discovered the structure of the escape network presented a number of security issues they could exploit. It’s vast size, for instance, occasionally made communications and intelligence sharing difficult and due to the network being responsible for transporting people they did not know and whose identities could be difficult to verify, German agents attempted to infiltrate networks by claiming they were airmen in need of help after being shot down or crash landing in France or Belgium and some were shot after their cover stories failed to pass scrutiny.  

There is also an unsubstantiated account of the body of a German agent being placed in a packing case and posted to the Gestapo with a note saying, ‘complements of British Intelligence’.  

Apart from the security issues associated with assisting ‘strangers’ whose identities could be difficult to verify the Germans were aware a double agent or a well-placed informer could cause considerable damage to the entire network and Harold Cole began using his position in the PAT line to make a lucrative income by selling men and women who trusted him to the Germans. 

   British police photograph of Harold Cole dated 13 February 1939. Five months before the BEF was sent to France.

Harold Cole was born in the east end of London on 24 January 1906 and after leaving school at the age of 14 he quickly became known to the police as a petty criminal, embezzler and con man and was sent to prison several times. During his criminal career he used several identities, during one scam he convinced people he was a former British Army officer who had served in Hong Kong and for another he claimed to be Wing Commander Wain of the Royal Air Force.

 In 1939 he enlisted into the Royal Engineers and shortly after arriving in France as part of the British Expeditionary Force Cole was arrested after it was discovered he had stolen all the money from the officers and Sergeants mess before leaving England.  During the confusion of Operation Dynamo, the emergency evacuation of Dunkirk, his guards were naturally more concerned in surviving the German onslaught than guarding a petty thief and Cole soon found an opportunity to escape, but after being stranded in occupied France instead of attempting to escape to England Cole felt confident he could use the occupation to his advantage and began developing a new scam.   

According to Brendon Murphy who wrote ‘Turncoat’, Cole convinced a wealthy businessman named François Duprez he was Captain Delobel of British Intelligence and then persuaded him to finance an underground organisation to rescue British, French and Belgium soldiers and help them reach England. Escape lines required a string of expensive safehouses, helpers had to be paid and transport needed to be obtained and these along with other expenses finance by Duprez were considerable.  Though Cole is known to have rescued a number of servicemen and helped them reach England he is also known to have kept most of the money he obtained from Duprez.  

Eventually the mysterious Captain Delobel came to the attention of MI9 in London and they asked MI5 to conduct background checks. After discovering his real name and informing MI9 of Cole’s string of convictions which included burglary, fraud, theft and various swindles MI9 decided to disregard his long criminal background because he was helping British and allied military personnel to escape and there was no indication this was simply a continuation of his criminal career rather than patriotism.

After Cole was arrested by the Abwehr he willingly provided names and addresses of people in his network and was later accused of hiding in the back of a car whilst pointing out members in the street whose names he did not know. After a large number of arrests Cole agreed to work for the Abwehr but was offered more money by the Gestapo and as James Langley said he betrayed his country (and his friends) to the highest bidder and began working for the Gestapo.      

Cole was arrested several times by the Germans but according to witnesses he was never roughly treated and was quickly released, and because his arrest sometimes coincided with the arrest of those he identified to the Gestapo, led to speculation these were orchestrated in an attempt to prevent raising suspicion among members of his network.  Apart from Harold Cole being responsible for mass arrests in Lillie which resulted in that section of the line collapsing his close working relationship with Kurt Lischka, the Gestapo chief in Paris who after the Normandy landings helped Cole escape is testament to his importance as a double agent and his influence within the Gestapo.   

Suzanne Warenghem

Suzanne Warenghem

    According to several writers Suzanne Warenghem was 19-years-old when she started working on the PAT line with Harold Cole and if correct she was one of the youngest SOE agents in France.    

Warenghem has been described as intelligent, resourceful and brave but naive when it came to relationships and Cole was highly regarded for his politeness, charm, friendliness, his kindly disposition and concern for others which created a false sense of security. Those who trusted Cole, including Suzanne Warenghem who he married in Paris on 10 April 1942, were shocked after discovering he was working for the Gestapo and was aware members of the resistance he was informing on were being executed or sent to concentration camps.

After being identified as a Gestapo agent Cole is thought to have made his way to Paris to continue his work with the Gestapo and It is known he was at their headquarters in Paris when the allies landed in Normandy.

Suzanne Warenghem who was now pregnant and feared her husband, travelled to Marseille to join an escape line where some writers say her child was still born, and sometime in March 1943 she was arrested and sent to Castres prison where she met SOE agent Blanche Charlet.    

Blanche Charlet who served with F Section SOE

 On 16 September 1943 Warenghem and Charlet escaped from prison and made for open countryside and because they had no money and were unable to contact London they decided to approach the first farmhouse they came to and ask for help whilst hoping they were patriots and to their great relief they were in luck. After explaining they worked for the resistance and had just escaped from prison they were told to climb onto the back of an open horse drawn cart, the Farmer and his family then hid them under straw before taking them to a Benedictine monastery where the monks fed and sheltered them for two months. After the search for them had been called off and it was considered safe to move through the countryside the monks delivered Warenghem and Charlet to members of the resistance who were known to be operating in the area.    

After contacting SOE in London via a wireless link they were involved in a very long and dangerous trek across France which required putting into practice all the escape and evasion skills they had been taught whilst knowing they were on the wanted list and their prison photographs were being circulated.  

 Suzanne Warenghem and Blanche Charlet were told to make for a rendezvous point where they would meet a guide who would take them across the Pyrenees into neutral Spain but by the time they arrived the weather had deteriorated, and the snow was too deep to cross the mountains. They were then told to make their way to Paris and await orders from London and several days later they received instructions to meet a contact in Lyon but by the time they arrived this contact had been arrested. They then received orders to go to the Jura Mountains were arrangements were being made for them to cross the border into Switzerland but shortly after making the long and difficult trip they were informed the escape line contact had been arrested several days previous. They were then given the location of a rendezvous point in Brittany around 919.8 km (over 571 miles) away where an extraction by sea had been arranged. By the time they reached Brittany and were being taken by rowing boat at night to a felucca waiting a safe distance from the shore they were suffering from extreme exhaustion and had not eaten for several days. After arriving in Gibraltar, the British Consulate arranged food, clothing and accommodation where they stayed for two weeks in order to recover from their ordeal and then boarded a ship which was part of a convoy with Royal Navy escorts bound for England.

After the war there was sufficient evidence to convict Harold Cole for treason and on 8 January 1946 he was shot dead by French police whilst attempting to evade capture.