People Who Helped Tom Applewhite


11-13 NOV. 1943: HEDIKHUIZEN & WELL, THE NETHERLANDS

  1. Unknown family – They feed Tom and dispose of his parachute and flight suit.  This may be the Van Crugten family.
  2. *Jan van Bommel – An English-speaking teenager who tells Applewhite to run across the dike and hide in a barn; he translates for Applewhite and Peter de Noo.
  3. *Peek and Nellie de Noo -  Dutch farm couple in the village of Well, on the north bank of the Maas River.  They hide Tom for two nights in their home.
  4. *Adriaan de Noo -  Brother of Peter, chauffeur to Dr. Nuboer, notifies Dr. Nuboer about the need to evacuate Tom Applewhite.

13 NOV. 1943:‘s-HERTOGENBOSCH (DEN BOSCH), VUGHT, & BOXTEL, THE NETHERLANDS

  1. Dr. J.F. Nuboer – He is a surgeon of the nearby city of Den Bosch (‘s-Hertogenbosch), a member of the Dutch armed Resistance, and also aids some airmen.  His chauffeur is Adriaan de Noo.  After the war Nuboer becomes the doctor to the Royal Family.
  2. Miss C.J. (Cunigunda Josephina) (“Koeni”) de Haes – Dr. Nuboer’s secretary, also known as “Dollie” (“Dolly?), who also works with the doctor in the Resistance.  She contacts Nol van Dijk, who works at his family bank in Den Bosch, about Applewhite.
  3. Nol van Dijk – Member of the Resistance and married to Josina Swane, a member of the Dutch-Paris Line, a separate escape line specializing in aiding Jews plus airmen.  An internist from the hospital in Den Bosch lives with him and he has an uncle who is a local doctor.  Nol is a friend of the Raaijmakers brothers of Vught, a town just south of Den Bosch.  He arranges for Applewhite and Adriaan de Noo to meet the Raaijmakers brothers in the village of Bokhoven.  Nol probably guides the Raaijmakers brothers to the meeting since he most likely would be able to recognize Adriaan.
  4. Jacques and Alphonse (Fons) Raaijmakers – They are members of Karst Smit’s escape line.  Fons is the line’s contact person for the region including Den Bosch.  Jacques, a Dutch Army Lt., and Fons guide Applewhite from Bokhoven to some point to the south where two new guides take over.
  5. Two Unknown New Guides – Two new guides take over from the Raaijmaakers brothers and guide Tom to “De Jonge Hertog” (“The Young Duke”) tavern between the villages of Oisterwijk and Moergestel.  They may be Theo Vogels and his half-brother Bert de Kanter, both of the city of Tilburg.  Other possibilities would be Ton Hoogenraad of Tilburg and one of his contacts, or Hubert van Dooren and Fons van der Heyden of Netesel, both referred to in Carol Schade’s file.  Another pair of guides operating in the area were “Cor” and “Klein Jan,” mentioned in the helper file of Joh. Gevers of Berlicum.  Gevers said that airmen were taken by “Cor” and “Klein Jan” from Boxtel (south of Den Bosch and roughly midway between it and Oisterwijk) to Hilvarenbeek.

13 NOV. 1943: MOERGESTEL, THE NETHERLANDS

  1. Carol Schade – Owner of “The Young Duke” tavern.  He leaves the tavern open after curfew for the rendezvous of Applewhite’s guides and Jan Naaijkens.
  2. Jan Van Kasteren – Manager of “The Young Duke” tavern.  He may be in a back room of the tavern, watching over everything.

13-14 NOV. 1943: HILVARENBEEK & ESBEEK, THE NETHERLANDS

  1. *Jan Naaijkens – A Dutch school teacher who guides Applewhite from the tavern to the Van der Heijden home in Hilvarenbeek near the Belgian border.  Mrs. Van der Heijden serves Tom dinner while he watches the children practice Christmas music.
  2. Albert Wisman, Theodorus (Theo) Backx, or Gijsbertus (Gijs) Aarts – There were three Marechaussees (members of the Dutch Royal Military Police) assigned to Esbeek in the summer of 1943.  It appears likely that it is one of them who guides Applewhite from Hilvarenbeek to the hiding place used by the Dutch students near the border.
  3. Karst Smit – He is a sergeant major in the Marechaussees who heads the escape line along with Eugene van der Heijden.
  4. Jan Wolterson, Dick Los, Johannes Oudemans, Jan de Koning, and Jan van Dongen – They are Dutch students from the University of Wageningen in Utrecht.  Wolterson, Los, and de Koning, because they refused to sign the oath of loyalty to the Germans, hide from the German labor draft in a cabin, later a chicken coop, in the Landgoed de Utrecht, a forest near the Dutch/Belgian border, and provide shelter to Allied airmen for Karst Smit.  The other students have other housing arrangements but are at the forest hideout periodically.
  5. Adrianus de Bruijn – The chicken coop in which the students and airmen hide is located on De Bruijn’s farm in the Landgoed de Utrecht.  He and his wife assist the students and know about their activities.

14 NOVEMBER 1943: ESBEEK, THE NETHERLANDS & WEELDE, BELGIUM

  1. *Eugene Van der Heijden – A Dutch school teacher in Hilvarenbeek, he guides Applewhite from the chicken coop to Brussels via the Belgian cities of Weelde, Turnhout, & Antwerp.
  2. Maria Segers-Ooms – As proprietor of the Segers Café in the town of Weelde on the Belgian side of the Dutch-Belgian border, she provides a place for airmen and their guides to wait for the bus to Turnhout.  Applewhite and Eugene Van der Heijden stash their bicycles there before catching the bus.
  3. Unknown café owner – Turnhout, Belgium RR station.  He serves as a contact for the Dutch escape line.

14-16 NOVEMBER 1943: THE FISH MARKET, BRUSSELS, BELGIUM

  1. Elise Chabot and Charlotte Ambach – Their apartment in the Ixelles canton of Brussels is the reception center for escaping Allied fliers.  For an interview with Charlotte Ambach, click here.
  2. Ernest Van Moorleghem – Assistant police commissioner for Ixelles (canton of Brussels) and fiancé of Ambach, he guides Applewhite to The Fishmarket.
  3. Prosper Spilliaert and Yvonne De Rudder, owners of The Fishmarket, Service EVA’s processing center for arriving Allied airmen.
  4. René Warny – Teenage stepson of Prosper Spilliaert.  Applewhite helps him organize his collection of pictures of fighting aircraft.  Warny shows him where the two German agents posing as Americans were shot.
  5. André Duchesne – Known as “the man with no face,” he photographs Applewhite for his false ID as “Ludovic Oskar Ronquet, clerk de notaire.”
  6. Van Elegem – He fabricates the stamps for false ID.  Identified by historian Remy.
  7. Pulinckx Family–Emile, Desiree, and son Jean – They operate a dry cleaners, providing civilian clothing to airmen.  Are aided by a Red Cross contact.  Applewhite is outfitted with a beret and suit with a vest and detachable collar and cuffs.
  8. Charles Hoste – Recruits “safe houses” for fliers for Service EVA, including that of Schrynemakers.  He and Alphonse Escrinier guide Applewhite to Schrynemakers’ home.
  9. Gaston Matthys – As “welfare officer” for Service EVA, he visits the homes where the fliers are hidden to take care of any needs they or their host may have.  Later he takes Tom to the RR station (23 Dec.) for his trip to the French border.  Gaston provides Tom with false ID, both Belgian and French.

16 NOV. – 19 DEC. 1943: SCHRYNEMAKERS’ HOME, BRUSSELS

  1. *Arthur Schrynemakers – He hides Applewhite for 34 days, from Nov. 16 –Dec. 19, 1943.  Two Jewish families are also living there.  Schrynemakers is a cousin of Maurice Olders.
  2. The Neukircher family – Their daughter, Inge, buys a pipe and pipe tobacco for Tom and teaches him ballroom dancing.  Karl Julius Neukircher and Tom discuss the progress of the war.
  3. Yvonne Pelerin – She is the wife of Maurice Olders.  Tom is taken, either by Schrynemakers or Bienfait (see below), to visit her.  Tom refers to her as Mme de Chateau.  Olders and Pelerin have been harboring airmen Justice, Spicer, Stanford, among others.  It is at the Olders home that he probably meets Marguerite Puissant (“Maggie”). The three nurses, de Meulenaere, Bienfait, and Puissant, deliver stink bombs to the Olders home for distribution to others who will throw them into German offices and cars.
  4. *Yvonne de Meulenaere (“Mickey”) – Nurse at the Centre Médico-Chirurgical, the surgical hospital of the canton of Schaerbeek.  She goes at least twice to Schrynemakers’ to change the dressings on Tom’s wounds.  She and Bienfait (see below) hold a Christmas-and-going-away party for Applewhite and Jockey Wiggins where she gives Applewhite a handmade cardboard puppet as a gift.

19-22 DEC. 1943, BIENFAIT’S APARTMENT, BRUSSELS

  1. *Yvonne Bienfait – Also a nurse at the hospital in Schaerbeek, her apartment becomes Applewhite’s hiding place after he has to leave Schrynemakers’.  She shelters Applewhite and another flier, Jockey Wiggins. Two men, one of them probably Hoste, who recruited Bienfait, check Tom’s teeth to make sure he is not a German agent.  The other man seems most likely to have been Escrinier.  Tom knew Matthys too well not to have recognized him.
  2. Marguerite Puissant (“Maggie”) – Another nurse at the Schaerbeek hospital and friend of Bienfait and De Meulenaere.  Tom meets her probably at the Olders home where he met Yvonne Pelerin, wife of Olders.

THE COMET LINE

  1. Yvon “Jean Serment” Michiels – He takes over the  Brussels sector of the Comet Line when Jacques Cartier (Antoine d’Ursel) becomes “too hot.”
  2. Albert Mattens – Recruited by Jules Dricot, he was responsible for escape routes across the French border.

23 DEC. 1943: HERTAIN, BELGIUM & BELGIAN-FRENCH BORDER

  1. Jules and Francine Dricot – Jules Dricot guides Applewhite and Wiggins from Brussels to Blandain, the last stop before the French border on the  rail line to Lille.  Francine helps on administrative details of coordinating the departures of the airmen.  Jacque de Bruyn may also have been involved.
  2. Henri Soetemondt – A captain of French Customs, he set up the specific escape line across the Belgian-French border. He is aided by Gaston Mathon, Dr. Druart, and Andre Dewauvrain.
  3. Dr. Henri Druart – His home near Hertain is the reception point before the Belgian-French border for escaping fliers.  He provides food and French false ID.  His daughter, Bertha, and possibly Gaston Mathon, mayor of Hertain, pick up Applewhite and Wiggins at the Blandain train station and bicycle to the doctor’s home.  Druart’s other daughter, Berthe, provides airmen with clothing.  Both daughters are good cooks and the airmen get good meals including pastries.  (Druart’s helper file also lists “Monique” [Henriette Hanotte] as helping Applewhite along with Albert Mattens.)
  4. Maurice Desson – A French customs officer, he checks the border to ensure no German patrols intercept fliers crossing into France.  This may be the border patrolman Tom refers to in his debriefing report to whom they turn in their Belgian false IDs.

23-24 DEC. 1943: CAMPHIN-EN-PEVELE, FRANCE

  1. André Dewauvrin – A dairy farmer and mayor of the French village of Camphin-en-Pevele, he hides fliers in his cow barn after they cross into France.  Applewhite, Wiggins, and others, after a meal of French fries in Dewauvrin’s farmhouse, spend the night sleeping on the hay in his cow barn.

24-26 DEC. 1943: PARIS, FRANCE

  1. *Amanda Stassart (“Diane”) – She is Applewhite’s and Wiggins’ guide across the Belgian-French border and to Paris.   All three have a reunion in New York in 1948.  She was reunited with Tom in 1948. A report by her from 1945 is available on this website along with a talk she gave to young people.
  2. Louise Stassart (Bastin) – Mother of Amanda Stassart.  Her apartment is the first place Amanda takes Tom in Paris.
  3. “Le Boss” – He provides Tom a meal of horsemeat and questions him.  This may be the same person as LeGrelle (see below).  Note that airmen Alukonis and Kevil in their Appendix C’s refer to “Cashbox.”
  4. Count Jacques Ghislain LeGrelle (“Jerome”) – Chief of Paris sector of Comet from May 1943 until his arrest January 1944.
  5. Germaine Bajpai – She recruited people to house airmen.  She guided Applewhite from the home of Louise Stassart to Madame Buffet’s apartment and to a subsequent meeting with “Le Boss.”  Her name is sometimes given as Charmaine Bachpai, Germaine Baspay, Germaine Bagepaille, and “Madame Blonde.”
  6. Elizabeth Buffet – She shelters Applewhite in Paris over Christmas 1943.  He is a guest of hers at Christmas dinner along with members of her family and friends.
  7. Joël de Cizoncourt – Madame Buffet’s youngest son.  He takes Applewhite to a movie after Christmas dinner.
  8. Rosine (“Rolande”) Witton and Marcelle (“Marie Louise”) Douard – They are the probable guides for Applewhite, Wiggins, Munns, and Kevil from Paris to Bordeaux and then to Bayonne.  Airman Jack Justice refers to one of his guides as the “Little Lady in Black” wearing a red hat and white scarf.

26-27 DEC. 1943: PARIS, BORDEAUX, BAYONNE, DAX, & ANGLET, FRANCE

  1. Jacques “Max” Roger – Roger is the right-hand man to Franco, works with Elhorga (see below), and is employed by SNCF, the French railway.
  2. Pierre Darbonens – Head of the Resistance railway workers in Bayonne.  He may have obtained the tickets for Applewhite and the other men for the Bayonne-Dax journey and had a railway worker surreptitiously give them to the men.
  3. *Jean-Francois Nothomb (“Franco”) – Head of the Comet Line.  He and Roger may have been on the train from Bayonne to Dax, watching over the airmen. At the Dax RR station they meet Applewhite, Wiggins, Munns, and Kevil, pick up bicycles, and guide them to Anglet, a town between Bayonne and Biarritz.  “Franco” rejoins them the following day for the first night of the crossing of the Pyrenees.

27-28 DEC. 1943: SUTAR (in ANGLET) NEAR BAYONNE, FRANCE

  1. Marthe Mendiara – Owner of the Café Larre in the Sutar neighborhood of the town of Anglet, where Tom spends a night and most of the following day before he and the other airmen are led by “Franco” and Max Roger to Larressore by way of Villefranque and Ustaritz.

28 DEC. 1943: SUTAR, LARRESSORE, & USTARITZ, FRANCE

  1. Henri Claverie – Owner of a bicycle sales and repair shop in Bayonne, he maintains and repairs the bicycles used by the airmen.  His shop is also a “message drop.”
  2. Pierre and Marie Elhorga – They assist “Franco” in creating new escape routes at the base of the Pyrenees.  Marie feeds Applewhite and the other men and “tucks them in” at the Café Larre.  Applewhite writes a thank-you note in Pierre’s notebook.
  3. St. Pierre d’Irube Constabulary (Battant, Burtre, Cazini, Hauquin, Gil, Thoman [or Thomame], Vidal, and Vigier) – They set up “friendly” roadblocks on the road used by the bicyclists to deter “unfriendly” roadblocks by the Germans.
  4. Martin Garat – The village baker in Larressore, he picks up the bikes in Ustaritz and returns them to Henri Claverie in Bayonne.  He may have provided a duplicate set of bikes on the west side of the River Nive, which they used to bicycle to Ustaritz.
  5. Unknown family – Franco leads Tom and the others to a family in Ustaritz with small children.  It is from there that they set out on foot.  Was the family’s home in Ustaritz the Maison Chauchverres where the Comet Line guide Florentino was living in 1946?
  6. Martin Dolhagaray and Marie Hastoy – They are the owners of the Mandocheina farm (and of the Manda Chaco Borda) in Larressore where the airmen probably received their walking staffs, exchanged their shoes for espadrilles, set out on foot to cross the Pyrenees.
  7. Pierre Etchegoyen, Jean-Baptiste Aguerre, Pierre Aguerre, Joseph Aguerre, and Jean Elizondo – They are the Basque guides who lead the airmen at least part way across the Pyrenees.

28-31 DEC. 1943: PYRENEES MOUNTAINS

  1. Teillerie Family – They own the Ignabidekoborda, a farm on the Spanish side of the border where Applewhite and the others spend their first and second nights during their crossing of the Pyrenees.
  2. Unknown family – Tom and the others spend their third night of the crossing at an unknown Basque farmhouse.  They sleep under the house on a pile of manure covered with furs and eat maggoty cheese.  Their farm may be the Mortaleneko Borda near the town of Erratzu.

31 DEC. 1943: BAZTAN VALLEY, ELIZONDO, LECAROZ, PROVINCE OF NAVARRE, SPAIN

  1. Eduardo Martínez Alonso – A medical doctor for the British and American embassies in Madrid, he takes Michael Creswell (see below) around to the different mountain passes through the Pyrenees to identify hotels and Capuchin friaries which can be used by escaping Allied airmen.  For an interesting biography of Martínez Alonso, see http://jmb.rsmjournals.com/content/18/1/27.full.
  2. Brother Francisco de Echalar (Francisco Zubieta Irisarri) – Capuchin friar who may have been Franco’s contact at the Capuchin friary in Lecaroz and who assisted the men after they crossed the Pyrenees.

31 DEC. 1943: SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN

  1. Federico Armendariz – A taxi driver, he would drive airmen to San Sebastian.  Alberto Quintana would arrange for the pickup.
  2. A British couple, names unknown – This couple ran the Martutene pub in San Sebastian where the airmen were fed and got baths and new clothes before continuing on to Madrid.
  3. British Consulate in Bilbao – The consulate provided a car with diplomatic plates and a driver who took Tom and the others to the British Embassy in Madrid.

1-6 JAN. 1944: BRITISH EMBASSY, MADRID, SPAIN

  1. Michael Creswell of M.I.9 – An experienced diplomat, he was in charge of escape operations through Spain for the British Embassy in Madrid.  He warned Churchill of German rearmament before the war.
  2. Samuel Hoare – As British Ambassador to Spain, he was responsible for keeping Spain neutral while at the same time tolerating Creswell’s activities.

7 JAN. 1944: MADRIDSEVILLE, SPAIN

  1. Eustace Formby – As Vice-Consul for the British consulate in Seville, an inland port on the Guadalquivir River, he works with Fredrik Nergard at the Norwegian consulate to arrange for Norwegian ships to carry Allied fliers to Gibraltar.
  2. Fredrik Nergard – As Vice-Consul for the Norwegian consulate at Seville, he assists Formby and Norwegian ship captains carrying escapees to Gibraltar.
  3. Reidar Dehli – Associated with Nergard in La Compañia de Maderas, S.A., a company importing Nordic products to Spain.
  4. Robert and May Evans – Robert manages the Seville office of the MacAndrews Company, which charters ships.  May Evans stages parties on ships anchored at the port of Seville as cover for the boarding airmen.

7-10 JAN. 1944: MOUTH OF GUADALQUIVIR RIVER

10-11 JAN. 1944: SAIL TO GIBRALTAR

  1. Einar Apeland – As Captain of the “Lisbeth,” a Norwegian merchant ship of the Knutsen Shipping Co. in Haugesund, Norway, he hides the escaping airmen in the ship’s propeller shaft compartment.
  2. Bill Bettinson – Radio operator who shows Tom Applewhite the ship’s communication system.  For an interview with Bill Bettinson, click here.

11-17 JAN. 1944:  R&R IN GIBRALTAR

  1. Donald Darling – Member of M.I.9.  Conducts debriefings of escaping fliers when they arrive at Gibraltar.  He is also involved in finding escape routes to Gibraltar and works closely with Creswell.

17 JAN. 1944: GIBRALTARENGLAND

1. Royal Air Force – Tom is flown back to England.

Note: Names preceded by an asterisk are helpers identified by Tom Applewhite.

Research by: Bruce C. Bolinger

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