The Fréteval forest is 299 square miles (770 km2) of thick woodland 100 miles (160 km) south of Paris. In World War II it was used to hide Allied airmen who were on the run in a camp with the codename of "Sherwood". The route from Paris involved the evaders getting to train to the town of Châteaudun and then a 10-mile (16 km) hike down country roads. The French Resistance was very strong in this area and the officer in charge was an ex-Comet line veteran, Jean de Blommaert, who was parachuted into France and made his way to Paris to start arrangements for the camp. A British officer, Airey Neave, of MI9, (the British Military Intelligence Section 9), was in overall control of the operation and the first evaders were brought from Paris on 20 May 1944. On 13 August 1944 the Fréteval camp was liberated by the American 3rd Army and 132 Allied airmen were brought to safety.