Occupation escapees honoured with plaque at Rozel Harbour

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A special ceremony was held at the weekend at Rozel to unveil the plaque in honour of André Courval (known as Saillard), Clément Milet (Auvray) and Henri Le Tourneur (Hennequin).

June Beslièvre, who has researched the tale of the escape, said the ceremony – which happened just two days before the 78th anniversary of the mission – was attended by members of the men’s families.

‘I have been researching the story of three French men who left Carteret in June 1940 only to find, when they landed in Jersey, that the last boat to England had already sailed,’ she said.

‘Helped by Advocate Philip N Richardson, they were hidden on farms he owned. They spent their spare time planning their escape and finally got away in a boat they found on the night of 26-27 August.’

The three Frenchmen ended up spending two months in Jersey before making their way to England.

With help from Islanders, who provided spare parts for the boat and fuel, they were able to evade German soldiers at Rozel and pilot their vessel out to sea.

They were spotted and fired upon and the men expected to be shot dead in their small craft, but the appearance of a nearby squadron of British aircraft forced the Germans to cease fire, as they sought cover, allowing the Frenchmen to make their escape.

It took 35 hours for them to sail to Dartmouth – which included navigating several mines – where they were able to hand over information gathered on the occupying forces to the Home Office.

The ceremony, which was held on Saturday, was also attended by Trinity Constable Philip Le Sueur and Xavier Souris from the French Consul.

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