Researching and retracing the WWII evasion route of Harry Cammish from April 1944 through the Pyrenees. The Lancaster in which Harry was a Flight Engineer was shot down 25 February 1944.
Initially Harry was part of group of approximately 23 evaders who started their walk from the village deep in the mountains. Part way through their journey the group was compromised by the Germans, Harry escaped and completed the crossing into Spain on his own, well, that is apart from the Germans that were tailing him to the Spanish border!
Harry now lives in New Zealand, he was 100 years old on 21 September 2023.
Overall the minimum estimated evasion walking distance is 45km with 4500m ascent; there is much more to do to prove this.
Harry started the initial stage of the walk across the Pyrenees from the village of Sost. He took one of 2 potential routes that converge at the villages of Cires and Cabous. Both routes are approx 13km with 1300m ascent, both have very steeps sections in thick forest.
The routes came to light when I had a chance conversation with Francis IBOS, a French Army Veteran in the village of Sost. He very kindly invited me into his home where he detailed the routes on my maps. Francis IBOS also put me in contact with the local French Veterans Association who have offered to help support the research. Merci Francis!
I attempted to research where the evasion group were compromised, however, the area was closed off due to potential landslides which gives an indication of the steepness of the terrain. I did however, manage a useful overview where Harry may have walked after being compromised.
There is still plenty of research to do and an awful lot of walking.
The immensity of what Harry went through is absolutely stunning!