Chapter Twelve

Andrée de Jongh

              Réseau Comète, the Comet Line was a resistance group in Belgium and France that helped Allied soldiers and airmen return to Britain during World War Two.  The line started in Brussels where the men were fed, clothed and given false identity papers, before being hidden in attics or cellars. A network of people then guided them south through occupied France into neutral Spain and home via British-controlled Gibraltar.

              The Comet line was created by a young Belgian woman who joined Armee Blanche, the Belgium Resistance. Andrée de Jongh (nicknamed "Dédée") was 24 in 1940 and lived in Brussels. She was the younger daughter of Frédéric de Jongh, a headmaster, and Alice Decarpentrie. A heroine of Dédée's in her youth had been Edith Cavell, a British nurse who was shot in 1915 in the Tir National in Schaerbeek for helping troops escape from occupied Belgium to neutral Netherlands.

              In August 1941 Andréede Jongh appeared in the British consulate in Bilboa with a British soldier, James Cromar from Aberdeen and two Belgian volunteers (Merchiers and Sterckmans), having travelled by train from Paris to Bayonne and then on foot over the Pyrenees. She requested British support for her escape network, later named 'Comet line,’ which was granted by British Military Intelligence - Section Nine, under the control of an ex-infantry Major Norman Crockatt and Leftenant James Langley.  Lt. Langley had been repatriated after losing his left arm in the rear guard defense of Dunkerque in 1940.

Chief's 1937 Renault Nervasport