Friday, February 15, 2013

Gisele Gregson escaped from Boulogne to England on HMS Venomous on the 22 May 1940 but her husband was interned

George Arthur Gregson (1891 - 1963) was born at Preston, survived the Great War (but his younger brother was killed) and decided to live in France when his father remarried and he was rejected by his stepmother. He settled in Amiens and started a business hiring chauffeur driven cars to church groups visiting the graves of men who died in the war. He met his French wife, Gisèle Dessaint, about 1921 and they had two sons, Maurice (1925) and Dennis (1927). The family moved from Amiens to Boulogne before finally settling at Calais where George Gregson became the agent for the Automobile Association. HIs business prospered. As well as the family home in Calais they had a house in the country at Escalles and George owned a Rolls Royce which he hired out to tourists. Their two sons were born in France but sent to England to receive a British education at the Kings School in Canterbury. The Gregsons were wealthy members of the British community and had a good life. All of this was threatened when Germany's invasion of Poland led to war. For eight months little changed but on the 10 May German forces invaded the Netherlands, bypassed the vaunted Maginot Line and swept on into France encircling and then dividing the British Expeditionary Force. British subjects living in Belgium and northern France were trapped, cut off from the south with the only escape being by sea. If they failed to get away they would be interned as enemy aliens - just as Germans were in England... Read more...

Related story:
- Les anglais de Calais arrêtés en juillet 1940, après l'armistice du 22 juin, et déportés à Tost; le journal de George Arthur Gregson