Andrée Duruisseau, Edmond's sister aged 18 had been teased by René Rispard "Blaireau" and Guy Berger because she had been looking forward to meeting a tall, blond handsome Englishman from the Merchant Navy. She was quite surprised to see a man who she thought was in his 90's. In her book Le Cahier : Témoignage d'Andrée Gros-Duruisseau résistante et déportée she writes that her mother had gone over to Quéroy to buy a piece of steak from a black-market butchers operating from a barn in the village to feed the malnourished Englishman. She put the steak on the embers in the fireplace intending to keep most of it for the following day. The family were shocked when their English guest grabbed the whole steak and started to eat it all. It was raw and bloody and difficult to eat. He was offered a glass of Cognac to help wash it down, and then polished the bottle off.
The Englishman was Michael McPartland from West Hartlepool, born in Sunderland in 1897 and a merchant seaman on the SS Gracefield, sunk by the German raider "Thor" on the 14th July 1940. He and many other seaman were picked up in the water and taken prisoner (P.O.W. 423) on a German ship and then transferred down to Bordeaux in December 1940. He remained there until January 1941 and was then transferred to Drancy. He became ill and ended up in an American Convalescent Hospital in Paris until August 1942. In November 1942 he and a fellow sailor were arrested for attacking and insulting, whilst drunk, a Parisian policeman. He gave his name as Jerry Macpartland and said he was from Dublin (to give the impression he was a neutral Irishman) and was imprisoned for three weeks and fined 60 francs. On his release he was held in a police depot awaiting transfer to a prisoner of war camp in Germany. In December 1942 his health deteriorated and he was taken to the Hotel Dieu Hospital in Paris until the 23rd December 1942. One of the nurses at the hospital helped him escape and sheltered him from September 1943 until she was able to organize a plan for him to escape Paris and travel down by train to Angoulême aided by a lady sympathetic to the resistance and then be looked after a maquis group in the region.
|Le Père Duruisseau in his makeshift "bedroom"|
|The Duruisseau family - Forêts de Bouex|
|31st March 1944 - Forêt de Bois-Blanc|
Denis Olivain "René" Jacques Nancy René Rispard "Blaireau" Guy Berger "Antoine"
Seated : Michael Mcpartland "Mitchell"
14 April 1944 - Camp at woods near Ruffec, Charente
On their return journey they were spotted by a young lady who shouts “C’est le Maquis !”. She has spotted the machine gun that Grand Sifflet has forgotten is still strapped on his back. Being the "Don Juan" of the group, he stops, flirts with her for a while, and then they continue on the cycle back through the deserted roads, and get back to the camp at 3 in the morning and begin to tell an excited Mitchell and Séraphin how the mission had gone. Mitchell punched his fist hard in the air in defiance against le boche.
|Le "Toto" - Lorry used on numerous missions|
They all shook hands and the U.S. Major assured him he’d be picked up by the British within a week.The two Americans drove on to the Reytier farm where they picked up a very surprised Weber. The Major then drove Brill and Weber to a location where other American Airmen were awaiting transport back to England.
What an adventure !
Article below is an extract from Forces Françaises, a twice monthly paper published from August 1944 by the AS Dordogne-Nord (Brigade Rac). The article mentions that he took part in the ill-fated attack at Dieppe by the English and Canadians in 1942. His military records show this not to be the case, perhaps this part of his story was 'lost in translation' ?