In the chaos that followed the fall of France in 1940 many hundreds of British soldiers escaped from their German captors - or evaded capture altogether - and were helped to reach the unoccupied south of France. Here, however, they were rounded up by the French auhtorities who were forced to detain them under Article 10 of the 1940 Armistice Convention. They were joined in 1941 and 1942 by dozens of RAF airmen who had bailed out or force-landed in France. The French authorities named them 'Detachment W'.
Gradually, there grew up a clandestine escape network with the object of helping men to leave France and return to Britain. This book records how the French military tried, with only limited success, to prevent escapes by moving the Detachment to more and more secure places of internment.
As well as talking to veterans and studying the relevant War Office and Foreign Office files, the author also found hitherto unpublished information on the subject in archives in Edinburgh, in Washington DC, in Bern, Switzerland, and in Paris. What he learned is told revealingly in this book.