About a week from my arrival at the farm, after a morning, which I had spent pottering in the vegetable garden helping Julian with the bean sticks, Pere told me that another aviator was coming to see me. This was quite a shock, a pleasant one, and I could hardly contain myself, questions tumbling out one after another. But Pere knew only that the rich farmer, whom I have told you, was to bring the airman that evening. At last evening came and I was told to come down from the bedroom where I had been most of the afternoon. The visitors were in the dark little kitchen and I looked around in the gloom, hoping to recognise the face of one of my crew. There was the rich neighbour. There perched on the rickety table was his son, and sitting on a chair, with a black beret basque on his head was a swarthy looking yokel, who grinned at me. It seemed hard to believe he was an airman but he was the only person in the room whose acquaintance I had not made. I said to him "Are you the English type they were telling me about?" It sounded very abrupt and foolish I do not doubt, but it produced an ever wider grin from the dark man and the answer came pat, very re-assuring and about as foolish as my question. "My oath, did they tell you I was an Englishman?" This, was said in a fine Australian accent. It was my turn to grin. He was Bill Foley, a navigator from a pathfinder crew. We soon had the salient points of our histories exchanged and Bill gave me a description of the house in which he was living, the wonderful food he was eating, and the farmer's daughter who was one of the prettiest girls he had ever seen. Bill used to be brought down to see me almost daily after this, and we were soon allowed out into the woods behind the farm. Here we amused ourselves hunting for the small wild strawberries, difficult to find but very tasty, which grew in the wilderness that had once been a village, destroyed we found later, in the 1914-1918 war! We both wondered if the village of Armentieres sur Ourc was the same as that mentioned in the World War 1 song "Mademoiselle from Armentieres" - I believe it was!
Sometimes we left the woods when the mosquitoes were too vicious and secreted ourselves in the oat field in a grassy place where the land fell away sharply and had not been ploughed. We got very sun burnt and on one drowsy morning, both fell asleep and awoke feeling very hot and certain that next day we should be tormented with blisters, peeling skin and extreme soreness. How right we were!
Doctor Fayet called one day and when he discovered from M. Desmoulin that we were really quite famous in the neighbourhood, due mostly to the rich farmer's tongue wagging, he decided very wisely that we must be moved from the district. So it was that Bill came to live with me and shared the same bed. His previous host was told that we were both well on our way home to England when next he called and the poor man had no idea that we were only upstairs and could hear the conversation. Doctor Fayet's idea was to move us later but to tell the local people that we had already moved. It was obviously necessary, that we must remain very carefully hidden. To achieve this end, we spent almost all day in our little bedroom, only occasionally allowed into the oat field and life was dulled by the prospect of looking at the four walls for several hours every day. Even our food was brought up to us in the bedroom. At Bills previous farm, he had fed like a king and was quite surprised at our simple fare. We had our fill of milk, and butter was not short, but eggs were as M. Desmoulin sold most of them. Our main meal at mid day was usually a huge bowl of potatoes, and sometimes a bowl of fresh peas. Soup of some kind with bread and butter was served us in the evening. The food was very dull we both agreed, but I liked it, as milk does wonders with me. Poor Bill drank the crude cider until he grew tired of it and then drank milk till that too proved too much for him. The meals must have had a great deal of good in them however for the farm family worked hard and thrived on this simple diet.
One evening, a car horn and pounding noises on the outer gate threw us into alarm. We were rushed upstairs (I had been working the cream separator I remember) while the farmer admitted this late and doubtful visitor. It proved to be the doctor. Now a few days prior to this we had received a visitor who told us that we were both to be taken away in a day or so in a large truck. Naturally, when the doctor told me I was going Bill thought he was too, but poor man, he learned that we must leave one at a time. Accordingly, I packed my few belongings and left with the doctor, after a word of encouragement and farewell to Bill.
Once again I was hidden away in the back of the car, my head heavily bandaged, and driven through the night over extremely poor roads. At length, the car swung through a gate and stopped. I alighted to be led into a large kitchen, where I was greeted by a black gowned priest. I was in the Presbytery of the village of La Croix. To this same house Bill had been brought, and his skipper before him, though the two had not met. The priest had two novices with him and after the good doctor had left us and we had drunk several glasses of sacramental wine we fell into a political discussion. Their views on Russia were based upon their firm belief that the church was ousted by the State and that a state that behaved in this way was no good. The argument was heated, and ere I retired to bed that night the church clock. had sounded one. I stayed one more night at the Presbytery, having spent most of the day that followed our political discussion, in listening to an excellent radio set that the priest had brought from Holland, his native land.