Engelandvaarder

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

Raid

The story goes that Hugo Wilmar was picked up by the German occupiers in late 1943. When he is arrested he pretends to be mentally handicapped. The German doctors examine him for two months at the Ursula clinic in Wassenaar. A befriended doctor mixes his spinal fluid with that of a real patient. As a result, it is diagnosed that Hugo is harmless and, because of his limitations, he is unsuitable for employment in Germany.

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 Hummeling on his way to Paris, where he has contacts. At the end of February 1944, the pair departed from The Hague Bezuidenhout.

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

Paris

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.

London

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.

Timeline

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  • Raid

    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. Most of the first part of the trip was done on foot. After a short breather, he decides on April 22, 1944 to travel to the Pyrenees. Without a valid ticket and with a false “Ausweis”, he gets on the train towards ...

  • Morlaàs

    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.

  • Gibraltar

    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 is released by the British Intelligence Service. He reports to the Dutch office of the RAF to register as a tailgunner. Because he wears glasses, he is rejected for all active service at the front. Eventually 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.

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