A Seychellois who died for France

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A Seychellois who died for France Empty A Seychellois who died for France

Post  Sirop14 on Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:44 pm

A Seychellois who died for France

By Julien Durup, a student of history

Captain Clément Marc Jumeau was born on 14 September 1914 at Anse La Mouche, Mahé, Seychelles, the son of François Jumeau and Agnes Anais Elysee Lefevre. After his studies under the Marists Brother at the Saint Louis de Gonzague’s College in Mahé, he went in England to study.

In 1939, he joined the British Secret Service (‘British Expeditionary Force’ known also as ‘Churchill’s Secret Army’) the “F” section (a non-political section) which was under the British control, while the “RF” (Free French Operations) was linked to General Charles de Gaulle. He had all his basic lessons at the School of Secret Agents at Wanborough Manor, Guilford in Surrey. At the school all the lessons were done in French and recruits referred to each other only by their code names. And he learnt coding and decoding, radio usage, radio repairs, and other basis survival basic skills needed to become a spy.

After completing his training he was sent Aston House, in Stevenage, Hertfordshire.

SOE’s Laboratory in Aston Hertforshire

SOE’s Laboratory in Aston Hertforshire

There, he was trained especially in the making of explosives and went to another place with the Royal Air Force to specialise in night parachuting. After specialising he was given the field name of “Robert” and the operational code of “Reporter”.

After becoming a parachutist, he volunteered with the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in Belgium from 19 September 1939 under Colonel Maurice James Buckmaster (1902-1992). After the fall of France in 1940, he returned to England and was selected in 1941 to lead the “CORSICAN” mission from England to Belymas near Villamblard, Dordogne, France, with the three following saboteurs:

1. Lieutenant, Jack Beresford Hayes, (alias Captain Eric) field name “Victor” and the operational code of “Helmsman.”
2. Lieutenant, Jean Philippe Charles Le Harivel, field name “Georges 25” Georges was in relation to other job as a radio operator, all radio operators was called Georges, and operational code was “Hiccup.”
3. Lieutenant, Daniel Tuberville, field name “Daniel” and his operational code was “Diviner”

Before they left, the British Expeditionary Force had already set up a base in Dordogne. In May 1941 Georges Pierre André Bégué was the first one to be dropped by parachute to set up communications with London. He landed at Valençay, Indre and stayed with Max Hymans. Bégué was Captain Clément Marc Jumeau’s friend and they had met in the Belgium campaign. Bégué was born in Périgeux in Dordogne and he studied engineering in Hull in England. Bégué’s field name was “Georges 1” because he was the first radio operator of the British Expeditionary Force, and his radio station was called “Radio de Chateauroux”

Captain Jumeau’s party was organised by Max Hymans, Bégué and Jean Pierre-Bloch. Hymans was a French politician and speaker of “Radio London” from 1942-1943. The group left England on the late night of 10 October 1941, and were parachuted on the early morning of the 11th to land on Villamblard, the property of Jean Pierre-Bloch (1905-1999), who organised the welcome of the landing party at his domicile. As well as the containers of ammunition parachuted, Pierre-Bloch had received a consignment of money in a previous drop. That money was to pay over fifty secret agents who had been earlier dropped by parachutes. The two-page list of secret agents and their address was confined to Captain Jumeau.

Owing to faulty signal lights the plane had circled over the dropping ground at low altitude for half an hour, and thereby alerting the whole area. Lieutenant, Daniel Tuberville was dropped by mistake six miles north of Villamblard with the containers. On 11 October he was arrested by police and imprisoned at the Périgueux Prison.

Jumeau, Hayes and Lieutenant Le Harivel landed safely in a farm at Saint-Jean d’Eyraud and found refuge with Albert Rigoulet, (Le Frisé), whose security arrangements were perfect. The party were kept in solitary confinement and kept informed of the events in the districts. When the excitement about Tuberville’s arrest with his containers of ammunitions had died down in Bergerac, on 15 October, Albert Rigoulet moved Jumeau and Hayes to Bergerac, en route to Marseilles, and Le Harivel was moved one day later.

Monument at Beleymas with Jumeau’s name. At right is Albert Rigoulet

Plaque on the monument

Jumeau and Hayes arrived at Marseilles and made contact with Robert Lyon and Jean Bardanne. Jumeau explained that his mission was to act as technical adviser for Bardanne. On 17 October, after spending the night at 102 Promenade de la Corniche, Jumeau visited Madame Anne Manson, an agent for whom he had a message. She informed him that Jean Bouguennec, another agent, was arrested on 9 October at Chateauroux. Against the advice of Madame Manson’s advice, Jumeau proceeded to Villa des Bois, Vallon de Bourdille, to meet and request agent Captain Gilbert Charles Georges Turck, a French man of Frestoy-Vaux, Oise, to try and free Bouguennec. Turck was incorporated in the British Secret Army as Georges Turner of Canada. Arriving there, he was confronted and arrested by three inspectors of the “Surveillance du Territoire”. Bardanne tried in vain to have Jumeau released and himself was arrested a few months later. Hayes was arrested on 24 October at the coffee shop named Le Mont Ventoux. He was to become technical advisor to Pierre-Bloch who was also arrested on 20 October at Villa des Bois. At the end of October, a dozen agents were arrested and incarcerated in prison in Marseilles. From there they were sent, on 28 October, to Beleyme Prison in Périgueux for five months and then transferred, on 15 March 1942, to Mauzac Prison, about 20 Kilometres East of Bergerac.

Mauza Prison

On the same day at supper, Bégué, Jumeau and another Frenchman were entrusted with organising the escape. They choose to communicate about the escape plan to each other during their one hour daily physical exercise. Bégué, the engineer, was selected to make a key for the main door. For modelling he used the inside of bread and the tools were gradually brought in by Gaby, the wife of Pierre-Bloch. Madame Pierre-Bloch was arrested with her husband after delivering money to Tuck. She ate the pay list that was given by Jumeau to prevent it falling in the hands of the Vichy police. She was eventually released to allow her to look after her two children. Then together they built a fake door with cloth to be used during their few minutes of the breakout operation. The last job of their last night was to put a cloth of the frame of the fake door and then greased the door.

During their incarceration Madame Pierre-Bloch contacted the American, Virginia Hall, the most famous British Secret Agent. She was known by the Gestapo as the most dangerous of all allied spies. Based in Lyon she liaised with Maurice Buckmaster, in London, and started fabricating false papers for the prisoners. She also prepared a plan to take them to London via Spain.

After they had finished their evading plan they managed to bribe three watchmen to go with them. Jumeau and Bégué set the date for 15 July at 3 am. The time set for each escapee was one minute from the time the signal was given, and it took 12 minutes for the eleven prisoners to escape. They all arrived safe at their 3 kilometre destination, where they were met by Albert Rigoulet, who took them in a Citroën and dropped them 15 kilometres away in a forest. Then they had to walk for three hours to reach their hiding place, a derelict farm house where they had food. They stayed for 23 days, which gave them enough time to receive their new identities from Virginia Hall.

They were divided into two groups, the first group lead by Bégué and Jumeau, left for Lyon taking different roads. At Lyon, they met Virginia Hall and stayed with different families. The second group also arrived safely at Lyon. On the 8th of August, the first group boarded the train at Perrache, Lyon, and arrived at Banyuls-sur-Mer. On the 9th, they walked for four days through the Pyrenees and arrived near Barcelona. Soon after that they were arrested by the Spanish civil guard whilst in a train at Figueras and they were incarcerated in a prison in Barcelona. They were then transferred to the camp, de Saragoose, Figueras and finally to the famous Miranda de Ebro Concentration Camp. On 28th October, after an inquiry the British Ambassador confirmed to the Spanish that Pierre-Bloch was in fact Captain Peter Martin, of Ottawa, and managed to have him released under his new identity. He later went to England via Gibraltar. Jumeau and the rest of his group managed to reach England via Portugal, also at the end of 1942.

The second group left Perrache on the 28th August, for Perpignan to Narbonne, via Calloure, Elne, and Argelès. In Spain they formed two groups and went in different directions and they all made it to England with the exception George Langelaan, the British writer. He was arrested by the Spanish frontier police and imprisoned with the first group at Miranda de Ebro. The prison was warm during the day and cold at night. They main task was to peel potatoes and prepared wood for cooking. They had coffee, a ration of bread of 125 grammes, potato soup every day and once a week they received a ration of wine. However, everyone had to stand in his company and face the flagstaff and raise their right hand in the fascist salute. Failing to do so meant that they were beaten up and sent to solitary confinement; Marseillaise and God Save the God were not allowed to be sung, but the “Madelon” was.

Back in England Jumeau volunteered with Lee-Graham (Louis Pippin) to lead his third mission, the second over France, which comprised of Polish, British and French personnel. On 12th April 1943, they boarded the Halifax MK II BB348 of the Polish Squadron under Flight Lieutenant J. Izycki. En route the plane was shot down over Douvre-la-Délivrande, about 12 kilometres north of Caen. They all parachuted out and one Polish airman was killed and Jumeau was wounded and Lee-Graham managed to evade the Gestapo but was later arrested.

Jumeau was taken and imprisoned in a civilian jail in Frankfurt, and while there he contracted TB. However, as a sick man he was forced to walk to the notorious military prison of Fort Zinna at Torgau, Germany’s largest and most modern prison. He died later on 26th March 1944 at the military prison hospital in Berlin-Buch at the age of 29 years old.

Captain Jumeau is a practical unknown in his native land, however, he had been immortalised in the following three places in Europe: On two memorials in France, at Lagudal, Beleymas in Dordogne; and Valençay, Indre. The third one is at the Brookwood Memorial, in Surrey, England. However, is not the first Seychellois qui a donné sa vie pour la France, as a few others died in French Army in the First World War, and also in the RAF during the Second World War.

Something should be done to make a complete list for those Seychellois who died in the two great wars, and later in Palestine and in Northern Ireland.


1. File HS 9/851/4 National Archives, Kew, England, on the internet.
2. George Langelaan, Missions spécialles: 1963
3. Michael R Daniel Foot: 1966. SOE in France. An account of the Work of the British Special Operations Executive in France, 1940-1944.
4. Ėvasion de Mauzac du 16 juillet 1942: Wikepédia.
5. Clément Jumeau : Wikepédia.
6. Beleymas : Wikepédia.
7. Aston House : www.btinternet.com/m.a.christie/atona.
8. List of SOE Agents: Wikipedia.


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