Troubador They came from Burgundy

Released: 28/04/2017

ISBN: 9781788036474

Format: Paperback

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They came from Burgundy

A Study of the Bourgogne Escape Line


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 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.

“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

Keith Janes

I have been researching WW2 escape lines for almost twenty years, ever since discovering the diaries of my late father who was captured in June 1940 and escaped to cross the Pyrenees to Spain in September 1941. I run the website, and wrote the 2017 book, They came from Burgundy about the Bourgogne escape line. My second book, Express Delivery, tells the story of the Shelburn line, and is due to be published in the summer of 2019.

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