April 10 1944
Within the preparation framework of D-Day in France (Operation Overlord), General Eisenhower’s Staff Officers, in March 1943, conceived and launched a plan entitled "Sussex". This was to be set up in all the regions in the North of the Loire river, which would be battle zones. Teams of two officers, an observer and a radio operator, and be placed in strategic points. They would provide to the Allies, during and after D-Day, firm information on the German army, its order of battle, its troop movements and in particular those of the “Panzer” divisions, including heir supply depots of materials and ammunition. In addition the installation and launch pads of V1 and V2 Flying Bombs. The Allied Headquarters could then make the right informed decisions, intervening effectively and in particular the bombardment of convoys, concentrations of troops and materials.
Sussex Teams (January - September 1944): SUSSEX Plan was an operation in World War II in which men from the French Intelligence Bureau Central de Renseignements and d'Action (BCRA) were dropped into France from January to September 1944. Commander Kenneth Cohen for SIS (England), Colonel Francis Pickens Miller for OSS (USA) and Gilbert Renault (Rémy) for BCRA (France) were in charge of the SUSSEX Plan.
Each of the 51 SUSSEX teams (29 OSSEX, 22 BRISSEX teams) comprised two military persons: an officer and a radio operator. (118 men and 2 women)
On the night of April 10 1944 the crew would drop a total of 6 men, the most for that evening. There were 3 from the Sussex team, 2 members of the Ossex team and a Brissex team member.The missions were Vitrail, Jeanne and Lefevre.
The Vitrail mission would finished in a dramatic way. The DZ was the Ruffec le Chateau, 8km east of Le Blanc in the Chartres region of France. The 6 passengers included Jacques Voyer (observer) and André Guillebaud (radio) who were part of the Sussex team.
In terms of results this mission was successful due to the quantity of information being of the highest importance. Mainly messages concerning the movements of the S.S. division "Lehr" were sent on to London.
During an observation of troop movements, André Guillebaud noticed emblems or badges of unknown units painted on vehicles. He made fast sketches of these and gave them to Jacques Voyer for identification. On the 10th of June, when Voyer approached the convoy to learn some more, he was taken in for questioning by two Field Police who required him to show his papers. The sketches in question were in his wallet and fell into the hands of the Germans. In spite of this dilemma Voyer tried to escape but received two bullets fired by the police officers and was imprisoned.
Tortured for more than eight days he did not speak. On the June 26th June he was bought before a German military tribunal and was sentenced to death for espionage. He was shot the following day, at the rifle practice ground in Chavannes, near to Chartres. On 20th January 1946, General de Gaulle posthumously decorated him Compagnon de la Libération. A number of SUSSEX agents were deported, shot or reported missing. It is very difficult today to estimate exactly how many. As for Andre Guillebaud, he fortunately escaped from searches and was able to carry out a new Sussex mission in Northern France.
After the war the surviving agents used to meet for a monthly reunion dinner at Madame Goubillon's café, located 8 rue Tournefort in the 5th arrondissement, which they painted and renamed “Café du Réseau Sussex”. Sadly the cafe is no more, Madame Goubillon died in 1988 and the premises were transformed into a piano bar. In 1990, however, the mayor of the fifth arrondissement unveiled a plaque commemorating the role the cafe and its owner played during the war.
The table below is taken from: