Published: 28/04/2017
ISBN: 9781788036474
Format: Paperback

“Even though over 70 years have passed since the end of the Second World War, there are still many dark corners within it, where our knowledge of little-known events is small. Keith Janes, in this book, has, however, managed to throw a veritable searchlight on the vitally important work that was carried out in Occupied France by the men and women of the Bourgogne escape and evasion line who, at great risk to themselves, managed to pass so many RAF and USAAF downed airmen to safety. This book is a magnificent tribute to all those who were involved with Bourgogne, both the helpers and those whom they were helping to escape the Nazi tyranny. A meticulously researched account, it is a must for anyone with an interest in the Second World War.”
Oliver Clutton-Brock, author of numerous books about RAF POWs, escapers and evaders more

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They came from Burgundy
A study of the Bourgogne escape line
by Keith Janes

The first book to recount the stories of every single Allied serviceman (including more than a hundred and fifty American aircrew) helped by one of the major escape lines of World War Two, complete with details of their helpers.

Escape lines – which should more properly be called evasion lines – can be described as organisations that helped stranded servicemen make their way from enemy occupied territories back to friendly territory. Of the three major escape lines running through France during the Second World War – the Pat O’Leary line, which covered most of the country, the Comete line, which ran from Holland and Belgium through France to the Pyrenees, and Bourgogne – Bourgogne (aka Burgundy) is the least well known.

Escape lines are a largely unrecognised, or at least often overlooked, episode of the Second World War. For those who were involved – the helpers (mostly French, Belgian and Dutch civilians) – or who benefitted from them (mostly British, Commonwealth and American servicemen) this was a personal war, which was, and remains, almost unknown to the outside world, despite the tragic loss of so many of those concerned. To the families of the servicemen saved, it must have seemed like a miracle to have their loved ones returned safely to them. For the helpers and their families who were caught, it often meant death.

This comprehensive study, some 480 pages, is based around contemporary reports and documentation, as well as extensive personal research by the author and others. It describes the evasions of the more than three hundred Allied servicemen helped by the Burgundy line, together with details and the eventual fates of many hundreds of their helpers. They came from Burgundy will appeal to those interested in history, specifically Second World War escape and evasion.

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“They Came from Burgundy” is a comprehensive resource for anyone interested in this fascinating chapter of WWII history. As my family's historian, I have been researching my own uncle's escape and evasion through France. The author's meticulous attention to detail provided important connections and incredible discoveries as I prepared and planned our family's memorial trip to retrace Bud Wilschke's route in 1943. Our pilgrimage would not have been possible without this book and the author's website, the "WWII Escape and Evasion Information Exchange.” Many thanks to Keith Janes for his dedication to the heroes of the Burgundy Line, and for sharing his passion and research with all of us.

by Barbara Wojcik


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