RAF News

The Comet Line celebrates its 80th Anniversary

Personnel lays a wreath with flag bearers in the background.
Flight Lieutenant Rolleston-Smith laid a wreath by the Place Lamothe monument, during the 80th Anniversary Ceremony of the Comet Line.  Images taken by Boris Sensamat, côtesudphoto.

A special ceremony was held in Anglet, south west of France, to celebrate the Comet Line 80th Anniversary.

The Comet Line was a World War II evasion network active in Belgium and France during the last four years of the German occupation of France.  It was founded in 1941 by Andrée De Jongh and its members helped Allied airmen and some soldiers in occupied France and Belgium to return safely to home shores, via Spain and British-controlled Gibraltar.

Attendants line up.

This network of brave volunteers helped 776 people, often airmen who had been shot down or crash landed, return to their home country during the course of the war.  They ran the network at huge personal risk; many Comet Line volunteers were arrested, imprisoned or shot by the German occupation.

Personnel with ceremony attendants; plants and flags in the background.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of The Comet Line.  To mark the date a ceremony was held in Anglet in the south west of France, which was a key location in the Basque part of the Comet Line.  The British Embassy Paris and the RAF were represented by Flight Lieutenant Rolleston-Smith, who took part in the ceremony and laid a wreath at the commemorative monument in the Place Lamothe.  The event was attended by the Belgian Ambassador to France and the Mayor of Anglet, and included a performance from Les Choeur des Marins.

Flag bearers stand beside the monument, with flowers and wreath.

The motto used by the Comet Line evasion network was:

"Pugna Quin Percutias"

"Fight Without Arms"

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