Into a country at war.
Continuing the series of passport portraits in my collection.
Peruse and wonder.
Jeanne Marie Antoinette Joseph Gurrey is 40 yrs. old. She was born in the Nord département of France and is now married to a British national. This is the photograph in the British passport issued to her by the Foreign Office in London on 12 March 1940.
Merely obtaining a passport at this time is quite unusual. The UK is exercising strict controls over who can leave during wartime. But what makes her journey astonishing is that she is granted a UK Exit Permit, a French visa and sails from Folkestone to Calais on 21 March in the company of her British husband. They are sailing to a country at war and disembarking at a port through which the British Army would be retreating merely eight weeks later. What were they doing? One can only speculate. France signs an armistice with the Germans in June and by the 21st of that month, Jeanne and her husband are in Toulouse and Pau, obtaining Spanish and Portuguese visas. They make their way to Portugal where they board a ship and disembark at Liverpool six days later.
Before Germany is vanquished, she is back to France – a country still at war. She leaves Newhaven for Dieppe on 29 March 1945. Her visa is issued gratis, for a business visit and on the telephonic personal authority of the French Minister of Foreign Affairs. What was she doing?