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First Contact in Belgium

Heroes Remember

First Contact in Belgium

Mr. D. was an engineer like Mondeau. They were friends of course. His wife phoned up somebody and said, “I have two pounds of peas for you,” she, of course in French, and she told me afterwards that I was the two pounds of peas. And then they told me the next morning that they would be away for the day but there was a friend of theirs coming to see me at, in the afternoon and that he had a key to their apartment. And I was instructed if anybody rang the doorbell or anything, not to answer it, which I didn’t of course. But then this man arrived in the afternoon. He spoke prefect English and he proceeded to question me about a lot of things, and then he asked me, for example, what the red lines on our maps were. And this was something that was top secret. So I began to think that perhaps it was possible I had fallen into a Gestapo trap, and that these were enemy agents and on the other hand if there was something that alarmed him because... Yes, he asked me what was the number of the, what they called an RAF leave pass and I didn’t know because I’d had never been on leave in England and he got highly suspicious then. But after a couple of hours of questioning back and forth, we established faith in each other. He decided I was genuine and not a German plant, and I decided that he was a friend and not an enemy and that was my entry into the Comet Line. Interviewer: Did he tell you what was in his briefcase? Well, yes, he did. He had a briefcase, which I wondered what was in it, and he opened it up after we established confidence in each other. And he told me, he showed me a revolver. He said, “This is, I have to bring this along just in case you were a Gestapo agent.”

Mr. MacLean is being taken by a young Belgian man named Mondo to the home of a couple in Brussels who were to help him to his next escape route destination.

John Angus MacLean

Mr. MacLean’s father was a farmer in eastern Prince Edward Island. His grandfather came to Canada from Scotland in 1832. Mr. MacLean had three brothers and four sisters. Two of his brothers died, one at the age of fiveand the other at the age of about one year. For the first two years of his higher education, Mr. MacLean attended Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick. He went on to the University of British Columbia for his third year of study on a one-year scholarship, majoring in chemistry. In 1938, he returned to Mount Allison University to complete his studies and graduated in 1939. Following graduation, he answered a newspaper advertisement placed by the Royal Air Force for a short-term commission with the RAF. He was chosen as one of two successful Canadian candidates. But, before he could leave for England, the Second World War had started and he was offered a commission in the Royal Canadian Air Force, which he accepted. Mr. MacLean’s bomber was brought down over Germany and he and his crew were forced to bail out. Mr. MacLean landed just inside occupied Holland and was moved along the Comet Line through Holland, Belgium and France to freedom in Spain. He’s an excellent story-teller with emphasis on detail. Mr. MacLean also had an outstanding post-war career as a politician. He served for 10 terms as a Member of Parliament and a term as Premier of his home province of Prince Edward Island.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
John Angus MacLean
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Air Force
Bomber Command

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