Studiegroep Luchtoorlog 1939-1945

Evaders


Evader chart: E0179
SGLO Date crash Aircraft
T3000 20-10-43 Mosquito
MilRank First Name(s) Name
F/Sgt. Philip Henry Brown
Milregnr. Nationality Born
1451938 British
Returned Y/N Evader Fate Date Captured/Liberated Place Captured/Liberated Escape Line
No EVD-POW 6 Feb 44 French-Spanish border Dutch-Paris Line
Evader Story
						F/Sgt. Philip Henry Brown was the navigator of Mosquito DZ519 that, due to engine trouble while returning from a mission to Berlin, crashed near Mantinge in the evening of October 20, 1943. Brown bailed out first and landed near Witteveen and was picked up by Roelof Eiting, a resistance member who took Brown to his home. Because Eiting’s father was ill, another hiding address had to be found. With the help of Hendrikus Pronk of Westerbork, Brown was given civilian clothes and brought to a farmers family where he could stay. On November 11, Brown moved to the house of Minister van Nooten in Meppel. He was joined there on November 14 by two Americans, 2nd Lieutenant Victor Ferrari (E0191) and 2nd Lieutenant Omar Roberts (E0193).  They had been respectively the navigator and bombardier of B24 42-7483 ‘Big Dog’ that crashed at the Meppelerdiep near Zwartsluis on November 13, 1943. The three airmen celebrated Christmas and New Years Day with the van Nooten family and left there on January 14, 1944. Guided by Joke Folmer, former courier of the Fiat Libertas line, Roberts, Ferrari and Brown travelled by train via Venlo to Maastricht. Here they crossed the Dutch-Belgian border with help of the group of Jacques Vrij. Once in Belgium they travelled to Brussels where they were transferred to the Dutch-Paris escape line.
In Brussels more airmen were brought together by Dutch-Paris for their journey to the French-Spanish border. Ferrari and Roberts were re-united with their fellow crewmember T/Sgt. Nicholas Mandell (E0192). Mandell had travelled to Brussels with F/Sgt. George Watts (E0145). The sixth member was a Sgt. Harris. These six airmen left Brussels on the Berlin-Paris express train on the evening of January 23, arriving at the Gare du Nord in Paris early on January 24. The group spent a hungry day in Paris before a young woman took the men to Huitema’s farm outside the city. On January 29 they were brought back to Paris where they joined a second group of airmen that had just arrived from Brussels and stayed in a laboratory basement at the Rue Lhomond. This second group consisted of John McLaughlin (E0264), William McDonald (E0148), Frank McGlinchy (E0149), Norman Elkin (E0254), Harry Kratz (E0255), Clyde Mellen (E0256) and Walter Snyder (E0257). On January 30, Campbell Brigman and Harold Boyce, crewmembers of B-17 42-39759 that belly landed near Hirson in northern France, joined the group that brought the number of evaders to fifteen.

McLaughlin was the first of the group to leave Paris for Toulouse on 3 February, travelling together with eight ‘Engelandvaarders’, Dutch men trying to get to England. Late in the afternoon on February 4, the remaining airmen were taken in small groups with the Metro to Gare d’Austerlitz with the exception of Victor Ferrari. He stayed in Paris for medical treatment and would join another group some weeks later. From the Gare d’Austerlitz, the thirteen airmen and their guides took the night train to Toulouse. Having arrived there the men had breakfast at Chez Emile and next took the afternoon train to Saint-Girons. From this little town some went by taxi and others by bus to Mane where the group assembled in a shepherd's hut outside of Arbas. Their number had risen to 26 and consisted of airmen, 'Engelandvaarders' and some others. At 22:00 on February 5, they left for the crossing to Spain, led by passeurs Treillet and Marot. During the night it started to snow, making the going even harder, and early in the morning the passeurs led the group to a shepherd's hut for a break. Later that morning the weather improved and under a clear blue sky, the passeurs decided to leave the Col de Portes d’ Aspet. Passeur Treillet was the first to leave the hut around 10 o’clock and went ahead to scout. When the group started to leave the hut to follow him, Treillet spotted a pair of dog ears belonging to a German mountain patrol lying in ambush. He shouted a warning and eleven men scrambled up the mountain to hide, being fired at by the Germans. The German patrol then descended to the hut on ski and arrested the remaining fifteen men, Brown being one of them. A bus arrived on a nearby road and took the arrested men down to Foix where they were divided in civilians and airmen. After interrogation the airmen were sent to Pow camps and Brown ended up in Stalag Luft VII at Bankau-Kruelberg in mid June 1944. He was liberated at Luckenwalde by the Russian Army in May 1945.						
Source(s)
* Marcel Zantingh, Wel gebogen maar niet gebroken. Zweeloo, een Drentse gemeente in Oorlogstijd (Assen 2020)
* J. Bussels, De doodstraf als risico. Pilotenhulp in Belgisch Limburg 1941-1944 (without place 1981), page 158
* Megan Koreman, The Escape Line. How the ordinary heroes of Dutch-Paris resisted the Nazi occupation of Western Europe (Oxford 2018), page 160-168
* http://aircrewremembered.com/mellor-archibald.html