“The Interrogation of the Passengers of the Sans-Pareil”

May 20, 2024

Peter Verbergh translated this article from CeSoir describing the arrest of the Dallet-Nelson Group.

“The Interrogation of the Passengers of the Sans-Pareil”,

CeSoir, March 29, 1937

(From our Special Correspondent)

Perpignan March 28 (By Telephone)

Yesterday morning around 10am, The Coast Guard Vessel Cebère docked in the port of Port-Vendres alongside the torpedo boat Intrépide, also in charge of monitoring the coasts and territorial waters.

The Cebère took on board various materials, in particular some boards intended for the sailor’s post standing guard on the extreme tip of the border.

A little later the Cebère left port and returned to sea. Reaching about 1,800 meters east of Cap Trevs, its crew’s attention was drawn to a sailboat which, with the help of its auxiliary engine, was hugging the coast.

The Cebère headed for the suspicious vessel, and ordered it to stop.

This vessel obeyed the summons, and started to drift calmly on the very calm sea.

It was eleven in the morning.

As soon as it was within earshot, the commander of the Cebère inquired about the nature of the cargo being transported.

-I’m heading for Cerbère, the Captain answered, to pick up some furniture.

-Well, Captain, wait for me, we will proceed to search your cargo hold.

-Don’t bother the Captain replied, in the present circumstances I prefer to tell you everything. I have twenty-five “pilgrims” on board. They’re in the boat’s cabin.

The Commander of the Cebère gave the order to keep the hatch, leading to the interior of the Sans-Pareil,* closed.

The Cebère launched a trailer to the Sans-Pareil and began to tow it towards Port-Vendres. On the way, the coast guard vessel warned by semaphore to have armed sailors prepared on the quay of Port-Vendres to reception the crew and the passengers of the Sans-Pareil with all appropriate measures. However, they accepted bad luck with a good heart, and the procession reached the gendarmerie where M. Boux the distinguished administrator of the Maritime Registration of Port-Vendres, had already arrived. Of course, the Captain of the Sans-Pareil and his two crew members were part of the convoy. Here is their identity:

Joseph Paparone, born in Sète on27 November 1893.

Joseph Glonzio, also born in Sète on 21 April 1908.

Emile Boudet, Captain, born in Dhezan-Les-Béziers on 2 September 1898.

They began with the interrogating the Captain Emile Boudet. This one told them that he had left for sea the previous morning with his two companions around 6am to test a new fishing gear. However, passing near the coast between Gluisant and Cap Saint-Pierre his attention was attracted by a group of men who on the shore, were making signs at him. He approached, and was soon within earshot.

-Do you want to take us to Spain? One of the strangers asked. The Captain replied that he had to consult his colleagues. Upon their affirmative response, he took everyone on board, that is the 25 men arrested on his boat.

-So, you admit that you were heading towards Spain? The Republic’s Public Prosecutor asked.

-He [:the Captain] added that he regretted for having kept so close to the coast, running a risk easily avoided had he sailed in open seas. He maintained that it was purely by chance that he agreed to transport the volunteers to Spain. Free of charge as well.

However, M. Maylin, Chief Police Inspector of Port-Vendres, provided the following information: that it was not the first time that the Sans-Pareil touched Port Vedres.

On March 16, driven out by the storm, its Captain had come to refuel with gasoline.

He had bought 200 liters from M. Bous, dealer in Port-Vendres. As the later would testify a little later.

A fairly large sum of money was found on him, but no papers relating to the current affair.

Among the 25 tourists, there are 13 Americans, 5 Canadians, 3 Hungarians, 2 Irish, 2 Romanians.

The leader of the troop appears to be José Dallet, a tall blond guy, his tight waist in a leather jacket. He is the only one who speaks French fluently.

While his comrades were being interrogated, he declared: “I will stay, I will serve as interpreter.”

Pointed out to him that he had chosen an uncomfortable means of transport he said: “We were much less shaken on the Ocean Mary or on the Ile de France, the two ships which brought us from America to France. As people expressed surprise that it [Sans-Pareil] could hold such a large cargo of men in its cargo hold, the crew said: “we can accommodate forty men in it.”

Questions about the persons who greeted them when they got off the train, they replied that in Narbonne a coach was waiting for them, and that they knew nothing more.

The tourists were carrying American Passports countersigned by the French Consul in New York. They are valid for all countries, except for Spain, Specifies a text in big letters.

The interrogation which lasted until 15 hours reveals nothing important around 13 hours the prisoners had cheese and salad brought to them, which they ate as they were, saying that they were convinced vegetarians.

Around 20h 15, the 25 tourists were crammed into two coaches and driven to Perpignan. It was 21H.30 when they arrived at that town’s prison.


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