Lieutenant Jean Alexandre Robert SIMON

Photographs Jean-Claude Simon

Jean Simon was born on 22 January 1921 at 26 Rue de la Poyat in Saint-Claude (39) in the Jura region of France, the son of Louis Antoine Robert Simon and Elvira Simon. His file holds scant details of Simon’s early life, as he was recruited  to SOE in the field in France and did not come to England for training and administrative induction.  Nothing is recorded of his education, but after college he worked as a bank clerk and in 1939 joined the Jeunesse Ouvrière Chrétienne (JOC), a christian association designed to help young people from working class backgrounds to find employment. He became area secretary in October, 1939 and was active in resisting the Vichy Government’s ban on associations, announced in August 1940 following the fall of France. He became president of his regional JOC in October 1940 and gave up his job with the bank to concentrate full-time on the association, undergoing training in Toulouse. He proved highly effective in placing unemployed young men, obtaining 18,710 working days for a group of 300, but he was then required to join Les Chantiers de la jeunesse française (CJF), the part paramilitary, part scouting organisation that had replaced national service. He joined the  8° groupement at Aix les Bains and was placed in a work camp producing charcoal at Châtelard. After his six months’ service with the CJF he relocated to Lons-le-Saulnier and continued to work with organising young workers and in the winter of 1942/43 he successfully led a campaign whereby the CJF  helped provide food for the poor. He then entered the Résistance and when called for Service du Travail Obligatoire (STO) in Finland he became a réfractaire, taking a false identity and devoting himself full-time to resistance activity, including helping shot-down Allied airmen to evade, obtaining false papers and ration cards.  It was through such resistance work that he met, in April or May 1943, Captain Harry Ree (STOCKBROKER/César) of French Section......

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