|Returned Y/N||Evader Fate||Date Captured/Liberated||Place Captured/Liberated||Escape Line|
|Yes||EVD||2 Jan 44||Lyneham, England||Bravery Line - EVA - Comet Line|
F/Lt. Archibald Mellor was the pilot of Mosquito DZ519. In the evening of October 20, 1943, this aircraft crashed near Mantinge due to engine trouble while returning from a mission to Berlin. After bailing out he landed not far from the burning wreckage of his plane. He first buried his parachute and mae-west and then set off in a westerly direction. In the early morning hours he entered a wood to hide himself for the day and, while checking out the surrounding area, found a camouflaged shelter, probably dug by the Dutch resistance. Eventually he fell asleep and late in the afternoon was found there by a farmer’s wife. With gestures and a bit of French he made it clear to her that he was a RAF airman. Tea and sandwiches were brought to him, and the farmer's wife indicated that he had to stay in hiding there. Around 21:00 hours, a farmer - this was probably Lambert Daling - returned with a man who spoke a little English. This must have been reverend H. Heersink from Wijster-Drijber. He asked Mellor for proof of identity. After Heersink was convinced he and Mellor cycled to his home in Wijster, where Mellor stayed for the night. The next day, October 22, two young members of the resistance - Jan Naber and Albert Rozeman from Hoogeveen (according to Heersink it was a certain Van Aalderen) - collected him in Wijster, and the three of them cycled to Hoogeveen. Here Mellor met a man who spoke good English and who told him that an organization would take care of his escape. From Hoogeveen, a certain Van de Hoogen and well known resistance leader Peter van den Hurk took Mellor by train to Meppel. Having arrived there, Mellor was taken to the house of minister Willem Nicolaas van Nooten at Zuideinde 53 at Meppel where he stayed until November 3. During his stay here he was provided with civilian clothing and a false ID-card. According to Van Nooten he was ‘very sympathetic and very well educated’. On November 3, Mellor was collected by Van de Hoogen and two friends - probably also Harm van Oosten - and the four men cycled from Meppel to Zwolle. From Zwolle they took the train to Tilburg and then a bus to a small village close to the Dutch/Belgian border. Mellor was joined here by S/Sgt. Elton Kevil (E0153), the left waist gunner of B-17 42-37751 that crashed near Tollebeek on October 8, 1943. A Dutch policeman led them to a hiding place in a nearby wood, where both airmen spent the night together with two or three students. The next morning, November 4, the students led Mellor and Kevil to Marechaussee (Dutch Military Police) Karst Smit, one of the founders of the Bravery escape line. Smit guided the group into Belgium where in Weelde 2/Lt. Arthur Horning (E0161) joined them. He was the navigator on B-17 42-37737 ‘Tennessee Toddy’, that had belly landed near Apeldoorn on 10 October 1943. From Turnhout, the whole group took the steam tram to Antwerp and from there they travelled by train to Brussels. Having arrived there, they all went to the apartment of Élise Chabot and her daughter Charlotte Ambach in 4 Rue Jules Lejeune in Uccle, a suburb of Brussels. They had something to eat and drink there and then all Dutch helpers left to return to the Netherlands. Ernest van Moorleghem then took the airmen out to the corner of the street where they were handed over to Alphonse Escrinier (alias: UZH). He took the airmen to the fish shop of Prosper Spilliart where they again enjoyed a meal, and their pictures were taken by André Duchesne. They also met Charles Hoste (alias: Jacques) there. The airmen were separated here, and Mellor was taken by Hoste and Escrinier to teacher Hector Leplat and Irma Wecksteen at the 96 Rue Rubens in Schaerbeek. Escrinier showed Mellor two pictures of a V-Mann (Vertrauens-mann = German trusted person) who had to be avoided at all costs because that man had already betrayed many people to the Germans. That man was most probably Prosper Dezitter. Mellor stayed with Leplat and Wecksteen from November 4 until December 3, 1943. While he stayed there, he was regularly visited by Gaston Matthys of the EVA organization. This organization received the airmen from The Netherlands and took care of them while they stayed in Brussels. On November 29, 2/Lt. Carl Smith arrived also at the house of Leplat and Wecksteen. He had been the co-pilot of a B-17 that crashed near Montrouel-au-Bois on 17 August 1943. On 3 December Mellor and Smith were handed over to Jules Dricot (alias: Deltour) of the Comet escape line. He took them to the Belgian-French border where they stayed for the night at the house of Achille Dupont and his wife Germaine Hennebert at 173 Rue Trieux del Croix in Saumoy-lez-Sivry. At this address they were joined by 1/Lt. John K. Justice (E0164), the pilot of the B-17 42-3229 ‘Pasadena Nena’ that crashed near Harskamp on 10 October 1943, and 2/Lt. Carl L Spicer (E0150), the navigator of B-17 42-30818 ‘Salvo Sal’ that crash landed near Lippenhuizen on October 8, 1943. In the morning of December 4, all four men were guided to Paris by Amanda Stassart. Mellor and Smith were taken there to the apartment of Louise Bastin at 8 bis Rue Margueritte in the 17th arrondissement. Form here, Germaine Bajpaj-Flachet took them to an apartment above a butcher’s shop near the Arc de Triomphe. She also informed the airmen that the organization in Brussels had been betrayed to the Germans and that they had left there just in time. Mellor and Smith left Paris on December 13, travelling by train to Bordeaux together with Belgian Georges Marchand. Their guide was Marcelle Douard, but she was sitting in another compartment, together with Justice and Spicer. In Bordeaux they changed trains to Dax, guided by Jean-François Nothomb. From Dax they cycled to a wood south of that town where they joined Justice and Spicer. The four airmen cycled to the foothills of the Pyrenees with Denise Houget and Marcel Roger (alias Max). Having arrived at Sutar, the airmen were given a good meal with plenty of wine in the Larre Inn of Jeanne Mendiara and spent the night there. The next day the group left again on bicycles until they came upon the river Nive at Larressore. The bikes were left here, and the group crossed the river in a rowing boat. Then began the last stage of their journey to freedom which took four days. It was the 80th crossing of the Comet Line and it was a tough crossing for the evaders because they got very little to eat underway. On the morning of the fourth day, they arrived in a small village in Spain and found a small hotel. They had a bath there, enjoyed a decent lunch and, in the evening, left by car to San Sebastian. Here they stayed in a hotel for the night. The next day, a British consular car picked them up at the hotel and brought them to Madrid. Here the group separated with Justice and Spicer leaving Madrid on 24 December. Mellor stayed until December 30 and arrived in Gibraltar on the 31st. He left Gibraltar on New Years Day 1944 and arrived at Lyneham on 2 January 1944.
* National Archives, Washington, Helper Files, NAID: 286709545 - NAID: 286709340 - NAID: 286644741 - NAID: 286658669