This is the story of a French man, born in 1898, who created an intelligence network specializing in information about German troop movements and the location of the launching sites for V1 and V2 rockets. He wasn’t involved with Dutch-Paris, although the two networks had people in common.

Our man had been wounded and gassed in the First World War and was too old to serve in the second war. Shortly after the French defeat in 1940 he started a gazogène business, demonstrating both a clear grasp of reality and excellent forethought. Gazogènes converted gasoline burning engines into wood burning engines. By the end of the war the Germans reserved what little petroleum was left in Europe for themselves. If the French wanted to travel by car, they needed a gazogène.

Naturally, our man had to travel quite a bit to build his new business. One day in 1941, when he had been caught trying to cross the demarcation line illegally, he overheard some Germans discussing military matters. Because our man spoke fluent German, he understood what they were saying. And that gave him the idea to become a spy.

At first our man gathered information himself on his business travels. He then crossed the Swiss border illegally and reported the information to the British authorities in Switzerland. In fact, he made that clandestine crossing over 120 times before February 1944.

It all got to be rather too much for one man to handle. The first agent he recruited was a young French man with ties to the Netherlands, who he put in charge of passages to Switzerland. Unfortunately the young assistant and the ten young Dutchmen he was guiding were arrested in Dijon in June 1942. He was executed in April 1943.
Despite this setback the network continued to grow with funding from the British in Switzerland, providing intelligence reports every 20 days until the liberation of France in the summer of 1944.

Our man who started all this by eavesdropping at the demarcation line was again arrested in February 1944. He was scheduled to be condemned for espionage and executed in May 1944 but his wife bribed a team of German bureaucrats attached to the Gestapo. For an undisclosed sum they closed our man’s dossier prematurely and so avoided his judgment.

They did not, however, prevent our man from being deported to the concentration camps. He survived to return to his wife in the summer of 1945.