RAF Escaping Society 1945-95

Operation Marathon: Fréteval souvenirs

very large images: please wait until they download

Lorraine Vickerman daughter of the late William K Vickerman RCAF (432 Sqn RAF East Moor, the pilot of Halifax III LW582 QO-M, missing 7/8 June 1944) has kindly provided images of a 100F banknote signed by some of those who were brought out of the camps in Fréteval, now in the possession of her brother Terry. Larger versions of the images can be obtained by clicking on them.

Lorraine says (1 Jul 2004): To my knowledge Dad had this note tucked away with several other French bills in a little brown folder. I suspect some of those notes were in his emergency kit when he got shot down. After Dad died in 1976, my older brother Terry kept Dad's war memorabilia that he had brought back with him in 1944. I just assumed it was money Dad had when with the Underground.

After coming back from Europe last Fall and talking with Terry, he reminded me Dad had this note with all the signatures on it. I suspect Dad had the bill passed around and signed during his time at Fréteval. No doubt he and others felt that some day in the future it would provide proof of their time together in the forest. Dad had this side to his personality where he loved to talk to others and find out about them. I can picture him going around and getting the men's signatures.

Not only did Dad not sign his note, but nor did Noé Beauchesne (same crew as Dad). Perhaps they just never thought to sign it themselves. Sometimes we forget the obvious.

Also of interest is a round blue badge that was with the bills. It has a white star with a round red center in it in the bottom center of the badge and from the star sprout a set of gold wings. The badge has been removed from a uniform. I took it back to Ottawa recently with me and a retired RCAF pilot recognized it as a USAAC Badge ( US Army Air Corps). I can't help but think Dad picked it up from one of the fellows at Fréteval, perhaps from one of the signatures on the bill.

Dad died when I was 21 and I had already been away from home for three years, at nursing school, before he died. He never brought the bills out and discussed them, that I can recall. His life, after Mom died, was pretty much consumed with working and raising his three kids.

please click for larger image<
front of note 1 - please click for a larger image

left upper corner
going down:
Eugene C. Anderson USAF
Burl E Huitt AAF
Jack Bester RCAF
Russell Tickner AAF
EH Freedy USAF
William Kellerman USA
David W Souder USA
Cliff Derling (1st Army)
Joe Forman RCAF
W Donaldson RAF
Jack Chapman RCAF
Ed Peterson USA
Wm J Dillon Inf
Rex P Helm AAF
Ken Houghton USAAF
middle row going from bottom to top:
Maurice FC Grimsey RCAF Leaside
Bill Brayley RCAF
Alfred Holt USAAF
R Hampdon RAF
Gordon Hand RAF
Geno Di Betta USA
John F Goan USAAF
WF Bender RCAF

Down left hand margin:
Bob Hortie RCAF
Ken Schilling USA

right row starting next to AL Hall and going down:
Bob Neurley RAF
N Binnie RCAF
Marion Knight USAAF
Rob G Gordon RAF
Sam Taylor RCAF
Joseph O Peloquin USAAF
Malcolm K Eckley USAAF
?? USA
?? USA
Joe Connable USA
P Clark USA
Guy Golden USA
R Hoover 8th Army

please click for larger image
back of note 1 - please click for a larger image

Lt Manuel Morard; Pfc Alfred E Cooper; Sisruf Cetif; S/Sgt LC Shook; John V Whelan; Celat(?) Hizlvigh (?); Stanley J. Dombrowski; N Willard at Chicago; John W Kindred.

In September 2006 Mr Melvyn Wheatley in Derby, England, wrote: I came across this bank note in the attic of an house that I brought a few years ago. As I looked more into it I noticed WK Vickerman had signed it but not the one his daughter has. I think I have some different names the ones on Lorraine Vickerman's note.

Please click for a larger image
front of note 2 - please click for a larger image

* on both notes

Note 2 left upper corner
going down:

Harry ????
? Scott
Bert Chapman
Cliff Hallett
Bob Sidder
E Wright
Russell Tickner*
Paul Clark*
KJ Lynch
Denny Pepall
Marion Knight*
E Garvin Allen
WJE Kight
Bill Young
LG Ballard
F Peacock
Rod Barker (RCAF)

Note 2 middle going from bottom to top:

? Kellerman*
Bob Sidder?
Charles HJ Manton
Charlie ?? Hartley?
EM A???
Jim Walden
E Garvin Allen
Stan Farr
Ron Hall
??? RCAF
Peter ??
WK Vickerman RCAF
EF Preedy

Note 2 right# going top to bottom:

FO Bo??ais RAAF
R Blakey [J Blakey - see below]
EF Preedy

Please click for a larger image
back of note 2 - please click for a larger image

Jock Weir RAF?

Mark Pepall 7 Nov 06: the Denny Pepall on note 2 is in fact, Dennis Rupert Robert John Pepall. Unfortunately my Uncle Den died in March last year. He also had a signed note but it was in poor condition, in bits in an envelope.

click here for John Sandulak's banknote

Keith Wilkinson: Aug 2014: Keith, who is related by marriage to Frank Well's family is working on Frank's story. He has drawn my attention to Ian Murray's website which features further examples of 'Freteval banknotes'.

Toby Sawer: 8 Dec 2018: back of Note 2: One of the names is wrong.You had it as R.Blakey. It’s Flt Sgt Jack Blakey RAF. He was my great uncle (a Lancaster Flight Engineer). He died in Malaya in a Liberator KL 654R, just after hostilities ceased.

If you can more accurately decipher any of the names on these notes or add further information, please contact the editor.

Last updated 8 Oct 14: 10 Dec 18