Fred W Brown
Service No.: 1350401
Function: Mid Upper Gunner
Hometown: 11 Sevright Road, Boxmoor, Harts England
Hometown for the moment: North Brighton, South Australia
Born: 11 April 1922
Story told by Fred Brown.
I was an air gunner of a Lancaster shot down the night of 11/12th May 1944, after a raid on Louvain (Leuven).
I landed in the area of Profondsart/ Limal.
I was injured in the face and chest.
Then I hid in a loft of an outhouse of a farm.
I know I frightened someone who went to the well for water.
My face was so bruised it would frightened every one.
The man I just met was Guy Parys who helped me together with his sister Denise
I remember eating a lot of boiled eggs and listening to the cuckoo’s.
I slept on a hayloft and next day Guy Parys (61 Rue Constant Legreve, Limal) took me to Alex Voisier (I hope I have the name correct).
Alex was a retired Brussels policeman. I stayed with him for two weeks.
In that time he had a Belgium army doctor see to my wonds.
Two ladies came from Brussels and given me an identity card and work permit. One of them was Ermine Biard, Residence Gray Couronne, 42/46 Avenue de la Couronne, 1050 Brussels. (Info from Sq Leader E Hearn from the Royal Air Force Escaping Society, 1988)
My work permit said, I worked as a patissier for the Gestapo in Brussels!
They took me by tram to 52 Rue Camile Lemoniaire (not sure I spelt this correctly).
I stayed there the night, and then for about 2 weeks moved from house to house.
The last stop for several nights was with a blind lady.
I was with her on D-Day.
One day I was taken to a café and left at a table, then I saw a man who was making signs for me to follow him. He told me his name was Alfonse.
We then met his wife, he said, together we would be going to Antwerp.
If I had thought, why go to Antwerp? That’s the wrong way… but I didn’t…
So, the three of us hitch hacked on the back of a truck to Antwerp.
Also having a ride on the back of the truck were two German soldiers.
I sat very still and kept very quiet.
Before we got into Antwerp we were stopped by German guards at a checkpoint.
I thought now I will be caught, but my work permit was good, a smile from the guard, and a very sweaty Fred, and we were on our way again!
Alfonse took me to a café, were I was given a bed, and stayed the night.
Alfonse came back for me the next afternoon.
I was taken to a flat where I met two RAF aircrew who were like me in civilian clothes.
The people who lived in the flat gave us drinks and a meal, then two men came to say we would be moving on to France later in the night.
I could have started for France from Brussels, why start from Antwerp?
Anyway I was in Antwerp now, so it was the only place to start from.
About I am, we went outside, we got into a big black car, and as soon as the doors were shut one of the men pointed a revolver at us and said ‘’ you are with the Gestapo now boys!’’
We were told that because we were in civilian clothes we would be shot as spies !
We spent 3 weeks in the Antwerp jail being interrogated.
I wondered how far Alfonse would be able to trace my movements back, I feared for all my helpers lives.
As far as I knew Alfonse only knew the man who took me to the café in Brussels.
From Antwerp I was taken back to Brussels, than to Frankfurt, from there to Poland.
In January 1945, the camp, 1500 men, all aircrew were marched from Poland to Luckenwalde near Berlin. It was cold, oh so cold, snowing most of the time.
We stopped in farmyards and had very little food. Many men didn’t finish the march.
All the time we could hear the sound of the battle in the distance.
In April 1945 we were liberated by the Russians, I got back to England on 11 May 1945, just one year from the day I had landed with my chute in Belgium!
Info from Comet Line:
Brown landed behind the orangery from farmer Guy Parys at Limal (neighborhood of La Haye, near Bierges)
Guy Parys and his sister Denise hide him and contribute to the success of his escape.
Brown was guided by Marie Dumont – Plessix to Melle Biard and Marie-Eugénie Istas.
The last one could no longer stay as she is suspicious since the arrest of her husband (Marcel Jonkshere).
He stayed 8 days with Marie Van de Heuvel – Hollemans at 143 Rue Vanderkinderen in Uccle.
Marie-Eugéne brings Brown to Antoinette Kleinhaus.
Brown also stayed with Mrs Wolfe (Jeanne Pot who was blind) at 10 Rue Mercelis in Brussels from 2 till 7 June.
When he was in the resistance group EVA he left on 7 June 1944.
Fred Bown is also named on the list of crewmembers helped by Marcel Daelemans in Antwerp, which had become unconsciously assistant of Rene VAN Muylem, working for the German Abwehr.
Fred Brown was arrested in Antwerp on 16 June, he is a prisoner No. 207 in Stalag Luft 7.
Letter from 24-09-1987:
By now I had a daughter, she was born whilst I was in Poland. I stayed in the RAF until March 1946, then had to work for living.
Unfortunately, POW life had affected my health. I had contracted tuberculosis. I had two long periods in hospital and was unable to work for some years. Eventually I got fit and well again and was able to play my favorite sports.
In October 1946 our second daughter was born , that’s where we stopped, two children were enough.
I worked near London until 1965, then in June of that year we moved to Adelaide in South Australia.
I worked the first four years as an account with a company making space rockets. Then from there to when I retired in 1985 with a construction company.
My wife is still well. We live in a beachside suburb of Adelaide.
Jane our eldest daughter lives near London, she has a boy and a girl aged 12 and 16.
Suzan lives close to us, she also has a boy and a girl aged 10 and 13.