|8 Apr 44
W/O. Albert Walter Bennett was the bomb aimer of Halifax LV861. On the return journey from a mission to Berlin, his aircraft was shot down by a night fighter. Bennett bailed out near Diepenveen. He was unconscious when he landed. After he came to, he buried his parachute in a wood. Soon after he met two Dutchmen (one of them was probably W. Mees, Rande Id. at Diepenveen), who hid the airmen in a barn for the rest of the night. The next day, 16 February, he was taken to a house in Deventer by the two Dutchmen and given civilian clothes. He stayed here until 18 February when a member of a resistance group picked him up - possibly Th. van Braak (C372 at Varsseveld) - and took Bennett by train to Varsseveld. Here he came in the hands of Th. van Braak of C372 at Varsseveld. He gave at his turn Bennett over to G.C. Slotboom. This Dutchman hid Bennett in a hut in the woods (constructed by R. Knottnerus from Varsseveld). Bennett stayed here with a Dutch refugee, J. Roos (Veenenlaan 117 at Hoorn). Here he hid probably until 1 March 1944 when he was handed over to H. Leemreize ('Pietje'). On this date he was escorted by train to the southern part of the province of Limburg and 'was rowed over the river MAAS at a point South of MAASTRICHT' and reached Belgian soil soon after. He stayed on an unknown address in Belgium until 5 March when he was escorted by train to Hasselt. He hid in a house in this city until 12 March and then went by train to Liege. After two days hiding here, he left on 14 March for L'Escaillère, near Chimay at the Belgian-French border. Here he joined P/O. J. Blandford (101 Squadron) and from here they travelled together onwards. Bennett and Blandford stayed until 28 March in L'Escaillère and then walked across the border into France to Rocroi. In this village the two and their escort took a bus to Charleville where they spent the night. On 30 March they were taken by train to Nancy. In this city they stayed in a cafe until the next morning when they travelled on - again by train - to Montbéliard, near the Swiss border. From here Bennett and Blandford walked with two guides to Blamont. The people here 'were rather afraid to help' so they were obliged to sleep in barns in the neighborhood until 8 April when they crossed the border into Switzerland. The two airmen were able to reach Porrentruybut didn't manage to contact the British consul here, so they reported themselves to the local police. On 10 April they were put in quarantine at Bad Lostorf near Olten. Here they remained until 1 May, when they moved to Bern. After an interview they were given clothes and money and were then sent to the evaders camp at Montreux. Bennett stayed here until 27 August. On this day he left by train with Sgt. Simister, F/Sgt. Quinn and F/Sgt. Martin to Saint-Maurice, about fifteen km from the French border. From here they walked into France the following morning (28 August). At Châtel the four contacted the French Maquis who helped them first to Thonon-les-Bains and then to nearby Lac Léman. Here they joined a group of 23 other evaders. Soon after Bennett and his group contacted Allied troops. Bennett returned in the United Kingdom on 10 September 1944.
|* The National Archives, London, WO 208/3322/113
* National Archives, Washington, Helper Files, NAID: 286689024