In addition to the traditional Poppy Appeal season, mid October up until Armistice Day, we also have other fundraising events throughout the year. These range from major adventure expeditions to coffee mornings and almost everything in between. Our sole purpose is to raise funds for the Poppy Appeal and, at the same time, advertise our existence and have some fun.
London To Paris 2018
Once again our intrepid cyclist, Bob Liddiard will be attempting the London to Paris RBL cycle ride in 2018 for the seventh time; on the last two occasions he had the honour of leading the field onto the Champs Elyse wearing the yellow jumper for the individual who raised the most money for the Poppy Appeal.
If you would like to know more or help raise funds for these events give him a call on 0033 (0)5 55 60 05 87 or you can check his progress or donate via his Just Giving site at:
On 10 June 2018 Bob will be undertaking another ride to commemorate the cycle ride of Lt Thomos Stephens of B Sqdn 1st SAS who was sent from Sazas to Châtellerault and back on a cycle, a 119 km round trip, to recce a rail consignment of petrol, the reserves for the advancing 2nd SS Panza Division, during the ill-fated Operation Bulbasket in 1944.
Randonnée de Pays Basque
Once again our intrepid hiker, Alan Rowlands, has been out and about facing the most gruelling walks in France to raise funds for RBL. This year he completed the Comete Line (see below for details) and has raised a substantial amount of money for the Poppy Appeal. If you would like to donate, please contact him on 05 49 95 54 59
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Several well-organised escape lines were in operation throughout the war (the Comete Line, the Pat O'Leary Line and the Marie Claire Line to name but three), and in each case the procedure was the same. Evading aircrew were passed from link to link in the chain by a succession of local "helpers" who clothed, fed and hid them, usually at great personal risk to themselves. Having reached the mountains, the men were then hidden in secret collecting areas and formed into groups ready for the final night ascent to the Spanish border.
Although at first the main evasion route used by the Pat O'Leary Line was centred on the Mediterranean coast at Marseilles, and the Comete Line concentrated on the Atlantic coast near Bayonne, many other evaders helped by the O'Leary network were filtered down through central France to Agen and Toulouse, then on to the central Pyrenees and the starting point of Le Chemin de la Liberté in Saint Girons in Ariège. Ahead lay a high mountain route into Spain that had been carefully chosen to avoid all official checkpoints and any likely contact with German patrols.
As the war progressed, several other escape trails were established near Saint Girons, each one known only to its particular guide or passeur. Neighbouring towns and villages such as Foix, Tarascon, Aulus-les-Bains, Massat, Castillon, Seix and Seintein, all had a network of invisible mountain routes leading upwards to the Spanish frontier.
At the beginning of 1943, due to increased German surveillance and often betrayal by Frenchmen who worked for the feared and hated Vichy-run paramilitary force known as La Milice, ambushes along many of these trails became more and more common. In all, more than a hundred passeurs were arrested and deported or shot out of hand as they tried to flee across the mountain slopes. However, even during the years of high surveillance, the Saint Girons-Esterri escape route via the soaring massif of Mont Valier stayed operational and remained so until the end of the war.
Thanks to the success of Le Chemin de la Liberté, plans are now well under way to re-open at least three other long-forgotten escape routes as official way-marked walks.