Michael Mcpartland - An Englishman in the Resistance

Discussion in 'General' started by Alain, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. Alain

    Alain Junior Member

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  2. Alain

    Alain Junior Member

    A while back I came across an incredible story of a Merchant Seaman by the name of Michael Patrick Mcpartland who was involved with the ill-fated "Operation Jubilee" to storm Northern France in August 1942. He was on the SS Grace Field and was injured and taken prisoner. He managed to escape from the hospital and ended up being looked after by a sabotage Resistant group down in the South West of France.
    I would appreciate if anyone has more info on Mcpartland and for further information, here's a link to his fantastic story that I have posted on my blog about the Resistance :


    Thanks, Alain.
  3. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

  4. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    Basically, this seems to be a 'bump' by Alain for the link to his 'blog'. Would it be best for the moderators to combine the two threads into one?
  5. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Convoyweb: Gracefield was lost in the S. Atlantic on Jul 14, 1940 whilst sailing independently.
    Cause of loss: THOR.
  6. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member


    Had a browse on your website...looks to hold a wealth of information regarding the German occupation and resistance activities...look forward to exploring it further.

    Locations bring back memories of time spent in the Poitou Charentes and the Dordogne.

    As regards McParland a very interesting account.I would think there should be a British official record of his existence in the area on liberation since he would have to have paperwork in order to return to the UK.(Generally on liberation,Allied personnel who had been engaged on clandestine duties were quickly shown the exit from France as C D G exerted his power and influence.)
  7. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

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  8. Alain

    Alain Junior Member

    Thanks Harry and Roy for the additional info, and please accept my apologies,
    I hadn't realised that I had already posted on this subject a year ago.

  9. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Hello Alain,
    Very interesting story about Michael McPartland. Maybe I can add a few bits and pieces.

    Michael McPartland was born on 29th November 1897. He joined the Merchant Navy about 1928

    Firstly, as Roy has indicated in post #5, the ship was not 'GRACE FIELD' but 'GRACEFIELD' (owners E.J.S. Sutton, Newcastle-on-Tyne), she was lost to the raider 'THOR' on 14th July 1940. I am quite intrigued as to the information you have that he was on the Dieppe Raid which was in 1942. Michael McPartland was captured in 1940 so how could he have been on the Dieppe Raid a further two years later? I don't think that part of the story is true. There are files at the National Archives at Kew about his service and there is also a POW file for him. If you need the file references I can easily point you to them.

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  10. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member


    I am hoping to go to Kew in a week or two, could you post the references here, please? I see that the prisoners were transfered from the Thor to the Rio Grande. I assume that she brought them back, to Bordeaux?


  11. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Hello Roy,
    Correct. Arrived in Bordeaux on 13 December 1940 on 'RIO GRANDE'.

    Michael McPartland's POW file held at Kew in piece BT 373/1069. This pouch hit and miss as to what's in it.

    His CRS 10, if he has one, will be held in piece BT 382/1152. As he was a POW until 1944, he may not have a CRS 10 especially if he did not return to sea, but worthwhile checking out if you are going.

    Escape and Evaders report held at Kew in piece WO 208/3345.

    He was evacuated to the UK by air on 3 September 1944.

  12. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    Well done in providing the relevant details.
  13. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    I would second that.

    Now to consult my French map to trace the various locations mentioned.In France.There are a number of publications relating the French Resistance but unfortunately published in French.Once saw a very good reference book of the French Resistance in the Charente in a Surgeres bookshop..alas in French

    I wonder from which airfield MacPartland was flown out of France?Pity he did not record an account of his experiences.
  14. Alain

    Alain Junior Member

    Hugh, I cannot thank you enough for all the information provided. All the information I have on his time in France I translated from a book entitled "Nous les Terroristes" which was published in two volumes, the first in 1945 and the second in 1947. I have only recently been able to find the 2nd volume as it's quite rare. It is quite possible that Marc Leproux, the author, mixed up the early part of Mcpartland's story. In the book he says he was accompanied down from Paris to Angoulême where he was picked up by the local Resistance. It sounds more likely that he had been in the Bordeaux region, a lot closer to Angoulême. I have always hoped that his family might find my article about him in a Google search and fill in the rest of his story. Your information is certainly the next best thing so I'm very grateful and will follow up those leads and update his story on the blog.
    I'll copy a few of the photos of him from the books tomorrow and post them here.
    Thanks to everyone for the interest and a great start to the year !

  15. Alain

    Alain Junior Member

    Hi again,

    I have a book by Don Lasseter "Their deeds of valor". One of the chapters is about Herbert Brill, an American airmen who survived a crash landing on the 31st December 1943 and was also picked up by the same Resistant group Section Spéciale de Sabotage based in the Charente and Dordogne.
    Brill stayed with the group until August 1944 and mentions Mcpartland quite a bit obviously. He mentions too that Mcpartland had been made prisoner by the Germans and had been part of the Dieppe raid of August 1942. So, we can only presume, for whatever reason, Mcpartland had told this story to Brill and the Resistance.

  16. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    Alain, if Mr McPartland had been hidden away in the Paris region for a time and then travelled to Angoulême it would be quite possible he was accompanied by a French person. This was the case with most of the reports of escapers / evaders I have come across. Unless the person on the run was reasonably fluent in at least French they would likely soon be picked up soon if they were on their own.

    If someone is able to obtain Mr McPartlad's own escape account from the U.K. National Archives (Hugh has provided the reference) then more than likely it would clarify most of the information for you.

    I have done some research about the escape & evasion lines through France as well as the French Resistance in various parts of France, although not in your area. Good luck with the rest of the research.
  17. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Your welcome Alain,

    Just a little more. I have received Michael McPartlands file in WO 208/3345 courtesy of my friend Brian Sims. I have transcripted it to avoid any copyright issues. I think you will find it answers a lot of your questions and proves my theory that he wasn't involved in Dieppe.

    For Roy, if you do get to Kew and manage to copy his POW pouch in BT 373 and or his CRS 10 in BT 382 I would be grateful for a copy.


    Attached Files:

  18. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Hello Hugh,

    Thanks, I will copy the files when I go to Kew and post them here.

  19. Alain

    Alain Junior Member

    Thanks Hugh, the two documents tie in exactly with his arrival down to Angoulême from Paris and his stay around Vouzan until September 1944. Obviously, the story of him being at Dieppe are not correct so I'll update my article. I have photos of "Blaireau" with Mcpartland and I'll post them here later this morning.

    Thanks again, Alain.
  20. Alain

    Alain Junior Member

    As promised, here are two photos of Mcpartland "Mitchell" and René Rispard "Blaireau" taken in March and April 1944. In the book "Nous les Terroristes" it mentions that Mcpartland took an active role in various sabotage with the maquis looking after him but he was certainly not a well man and it seems that life in the woods took its toll on him and he eventually was looked after at a remote farmhouse until he was picked up by Allied forces and flown back to the UK on the 3rd September 1944.
    Harry, you wondered which airfield he may have been flown back from, in Herbert Brill's accounts he says that a few days after the liberation of Angoulême (31st August 1944) he and 44 Allied soldiers gathered in an open field near Limoges. Six cars, three on each side of a wide makeshift runway, turned on their headlights as two American twin-engined aircraft approached. Within two hours, they landed at an airfield near London. Not certain but perhaps McPartland was flown out from that location.
    Here's a link to Herbert Brill's story :

    Here are the photos :


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