One of the most successful escape routes for allied airmen wishing to cross the border into Spain was right here in the P-O, known as the Pat Line, after the man who set it up.

Millas, on the N116 between Perpignan and Ille sur Tet, has a rather lovely church, full of great Baroque art, plenty of shops and cafés – but today we are heading up to the Col de la Bataille, ancient battle ground and poignant memorial to members of the resistance group Henri Barbusse,

The Avions war memorial at Port Vendres quotes the now legendary tribute from Winston Churchill to the heroic pilots and aircrews who, from June to October 1940 fought the Battle of Britain.

A silence, our heads are bowed, a prayer from the Mayor. In turn the boys read out the list of the fallen sons of the Great War, perhaps a dozen names from those awful days.  This would have been a village of around a hundred people.

Camp Joffre opened in 1938 and in that first year, changed from housing for the troops to housing for “Undesirables”; refugees from the Spanish Civil War, Jews and Gipsies. So handy for the railway. Destination: Auschwitz, via Drancy.