In February 1944 Hugo Wilmar leaves as Engelandvaarder to London, to register as a war volunteer there.


The story goes that Hugo Wilmar was arrested by the German occupiers at the end of 1943. He pretends to be mentally disabled when he is arrested. The German doctors examine him for two months at the Ursula clinic in Wassenaar. A doctor friend mixes his spinal fluid with that of a real patient. As a result, the diagnosis is that Hugo is harmless and that he is unsuitable for employment in Germany because of his disability.

Not long after his release from the Ursula clinic, Hugo Wilmar visits his friend Jan Woldijk. Hugo Wilmar asks Jan if he can help him escape from occupied territory. Jan is a member of the resistance and publishes clandistine newspapers from Wassenaar. Jan Woldijk helps Hugo and Bob Hubbelding on his way to Paris, where he has contacts. On March 27, 1944, the two departed from Bezuidenhout in The Hague.

“Holland - England was generally miserable; the food position hopeless; the road: long, dangerous but beautiful; people and organizations: unreliable, powerless, also afraid. (...) "


Cryptic letter from Paris, April 4, 1944

The first part of the long tour Hugo undertakes largely on foot. Arriving in the city of light, he informs the home front via a few cryptic letters, written under a pseudonym. Because of the news of the Allied invasion of Normandy, his stay in Paris did not last long. Hugo is in a hurry to continue his journey.

The reflection of a train compartment shows the German newspaper, which Hugo has put under his arm. Without a travel permit and reservation, Hugo succeeds in getting on the train to Pau in Gare de Lyon.

From Pau, the tour crosses the Pyrenees on foot. In his letters to The Hague he mentions the beauty of nature and the overwhelming views around Pic du Midi. This impresses Hugo more than the danger of the German patrols they encounter during the walk.

From the snowy peaks of the Pyrenees, Hugo and his companions finally arrive in the United Kingdom on a long, daunting journey through various concentration camps in Spain and North Africa. However, the fanfare on the Glasgow quay is not intended for the "Engelandvaarders" on board. Hugo is hastily transported on a special train to London for a thorough interrogation by MI5 and the Dutch police.


Nine months after his departure from The Hague, Hugo finally walked around in London as a free man, on December 1, 1944. The "Engelandvaarder" immediately reports to the RAF where, to his great frustration, he is rejected for all active front duties because he wears glasses. After some deliberation Hugo signs with the Dutch Marines. He will complete his training in America together with the first group of war volunteers.



At the end of 1943 Hugo Wilmar is arrested during a Razzia. He pretends to be mentally handicapped. The German doctors examine him for two months in the Ursula clinic in Wassenaar. The Diagnosis is that Hugo is indeed mentally ill, but otherwise harmless

Departure from The Hague

In February 1944 Hugo Wilmar and Bob Hummelding leave The Hague. Jan Woldijk helps them on their way to Paris. Hugo Wilmar wants to register as a War Volunteer in London.

Spring in Paris

Hugo Wilmar reached Paris on April 5, 1944. He completed the first part of the journey largely on foot. After a short breather, he decided to continue traveling towards the Pyrenees on April 22, 1944. He boards the train without a valid ticket and with a false "Ausweis".


With the help of the Communist Marquis in Morlaàs, France, Hugo crosses the Pyrenees via Pic du Midi and Cirque de Gavarnie. The tour lasts 4 days. Hugo is deeply impressed by the beautiful nature.

Miranda del Ebro

When Hugo reaches Jaca in Spain on May 20, 1944, his group is arrested and sent to internment camp Miranda del Ebro. Here he is detained from May 24 to June 15. Hugo is released with the mediation of the Dutch Consulate in Madrid.


Hugo Wilmar leaves from Gibraltar to Oran in Algeria. The first period he camps with the American troops. Later he is transferred to a British prisoner of war camp in the desert around Algiers.

To London

On October 14, 1944, Hugo Wilmar can thermostat aboard MS Eastern Prime, which in convoy takes him to 30 ships to Glasgow. MS De Volendam and MS Van Oldenbarneveld are also part of the convoy.

Patriotic School

From November 20 to 30, Hugo Wilmar will be interrogated at the Patriotic School in London. First by the British Intelligence Service, then by the Dutch Police External Service.

War volunteer

On December 1, 1944, Hugo Wilmar was released by the British Intelligence Service. He reports to the Dutch RAF office to register as a tailgunner. Because he wears glasses, he is rejected for all active service at the front. Ultimately he signs with the Dutch

To America

With the first 23 Dutch Marines, Hugo departs from Liverpool on December 20 aboard the USS Wakefield to America. Here he will follow his training as a naval officer. During the crossing Hugo is charged with guarding German prisoners of war.

<The Hague     Signal Corps>