Studiegroep Luchtoorlog 1939-1945

Evaders


Evader chart: E0133
SGLO Date crash Aircraft
T2854 31-08-43 Halifax
MilRank First Name(s) Name
F/O. Herbert Arthur Penny
Milregnr. Nationality Born
139204 British district Poplar, United Kingdom, 1 Feb 1922
Returned Y/N Evader Fate Date Captured/Liberated Place Captured/Liberated Escape Line
Yes EVD 11 Nov 43 Whitchurch, England Fiat Libertas -Smit-Van der Heijden Line - EVA - Comet Line
Evader Story
						F/O. Herbert Arthur (Harry) Penny was the 21 year old wireless operator/air gunner of Halifax HR878. In the night of 31 August/1 September 1943 his bomber was shot down by a night fighter. The Halifax crashed near Kuinre. Penny managed to bail out. He landed near Ossenzijl and soon after contacted the farmer Jan Jette de Boer who lived at Wijk IV-10A in Ossenzijl. He took care of Penny and gave him socks and a pair of shoes. Shortly after, Peter van den Hurk, a prominent resistance worker came by to arrange his transfer. Probably on 3 September De Boer handed Penny over to policeman J.J.M. Littel from Oldemarkt. He escorted Penny by bicycle to the rectory of reverend Willem Nicolaas Nooten and his wife at Zuideinde 53 in Meppel. He hid here until 14 October 1943 in a little room on the attic. While hiding here he was joined by Sgt. Leslie C. Woollard (E0138) and Sgt. R. Fidler (E0128). Early in the morning of 15 October, Peter van den Hurk, accompanied by another Dutchman, took Penny, Fidler and Woollard by bike to Zwolle in order to catch a train to Tilburg. The three men were joined here by a fourth airman, S/Sgt. Paul F. Shipe (E1066). The four crossed the border by bicycle escorted by the Dutch gendarme Karst Smit. In the afternoon, Smit guided them by bus to Turnhout, then by tram to Antwerp and finally by train to Brussels where he handed them over to Ernest Van Moorleghem, who took the four took them to the fish shop of Prosper Spilliaert at 394 Chaussée d'Anvers in Schaerbeek where they found a hiding place in an annex building.

The next day - 16 October - Penny and Shipe were brought to the teacher Hector Leplat and his wife Irma Wecksteen at 96 Rue Rubens in Schaerbeek. They probably hid here until 19 October when they moved to René Ponty and spent an evening at the latter's home, at 18 Rue du Cadran in Saint-Josse, before being handed over to Anne Brusselmans at 127 Chaussée d'Ixelles in Ixelles. From 20 October Penny and (probably) Shipe went - via a reception center - probably to the house of Mrs René Pirart at 8 Rue des Tournesols in Anderlecht. They stayed here until 26 October. Next stop was Paris. To the French capital Penny was escorted by Amanda Stassart. In the French city he hid in the house of Lucienne Dugard, a French singer. From Paris it went to Bordeaux by train, escorted by Jean-François Nothomb. On tis part of his flee he travelled with F/Sgt. Stanley H. May, P/O. Frederick N. Lawrence and a Belgian, Antoine d'Ursel. From Bordeaux it went on to Bayonne and finally Dax.  From Dax all except the Belgian cycled to Saint-Jean-de-Luz and spent the night in Sutar at Jeanne Mendiara's Larre inn. After a postponement they left - d'Ursel had joined them again - in the morning of 31 October. On 1 November they reached Spanish soil (Comet Passage 66). Eventually they reached San Sebastian where a member of the British embassy in Madrid picked him up. Penny left Madrid on 7 November and reached Gibraltar the same day. On 11 November he landed back in a Dakota on the airfield of Whitchurch in England. 

Herbert Arthur Penny passed away on 4 February 2016 in Australia at the age of 94.
						
Source(s)
* '22 jaar later...' in: De Telegraaf, 24 April 1965
* TV-documentary 'Oogst van het verleden' (5 May 1965, NTS)
* 'Oorlogsvlieger Harry Penny' in: De Silehammer 13/1, March 2005
* https://www.evasioncomete.be/fpennyha.html
* NIOD, 896, Willemsen, W.J.M, inv.nr. 2, 'H.A. Penny'