* Pierre Holmes, 81, whose voice on the BBC during World...


December 20, 1993

* Pierre Holmes, 81, whose voice on the BBC during World War II passed coded messages to the Resistance and was a beacon of hope for the French under occupation, died Dec. 7 of undisclosed causes in his village of L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue in southern France. From 1942 to 1944, Mr. Holmes announced a nightly 15-minute segment from London on the British Broadcasting Corp. called "Les francais parlent aux francais" ("The French speak to the French"). Working for the Free French Forces under Gen. Charles de Gaulle, he broadcast coded messages to Resistance fighters on arms drops, attacks and other missions. "The carrots are cooked," and other cryptic phrases were used. D-Day, the Allied invasion at Normandy on June 6, 1944, was signaled by a line of verse from the poet Paul Verlaine, "Long violin sobs rock my heart in monotonous languish." The D-Day announcement signaled Resistance fighters to carry out sabotage attacks and diversionary operations ahead of the Allied forces. Although most couldn't understand the code, Frenchmen gathered in their basements and attics to listen to Mr. Holmes' voice fade in and out as German forces tried to jam the signal. "It was like a symbolic reunion every night; it boosted our morale. It was our link with the free world," said Colette Gerard Burns, who was a teen-ager in Paris during the German occupation. The British-born Holmes, whose father was English and whose mother was French, became a naturalized French citizen in 1934. He worked as a hotelier on cruise ships before the war and later worked in shipping and radio before retiring during the 1970s.

* Jeremiah A. O'Leary Jr., 74, a veteran Washington reporter and columnist, died yesterday at Alexandria Hospital in Alexandria, Va., after years of treatment for circulatory problems. His death was announced by the Washington Times, where Mr. O'Leary had worked since 1982 -- most recently as a columnist. A lifelong Washington newsman, Mr. O'Leary was chief White House correspondent for the now-defunct Washington Star newspaper for a decade before joining the Times as its White House correspondent in 1982. He specialized in Latin American issues. He began his career as a $10-a-week copy boy at the Washington Star in 1937, rising to reporter. He later worked as a desk editor and assistant city editor. After the Star folded in 1981, Mr. O'Leary worked for eight months as a special assistant in the State Department and the Reagan White House. A retired colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps, Mr. O'Leary served in both World War II and the Korean War. He received the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts during World War II, and the Legion of Merit for service in Korea. In 1989, he won the Merriman Smith Award for deadline reporting. He was elected to the Sigma Delta Chi Hall of Fame in 1987.

* Rabbi Maurice Davis, 72, the retired senior rabbi of the Jewish Community Center of White Plains, N.Y., and an authority on religious cults in the United States, died Tuesday of complications from a stroke at his home in Palm Coast, Fla. In 1972, he founded a group named Citizens Engaged in Reuniting Families. Its aim was to counsel children who had joined unorthodox religious groups to return to their families. He testified before legislative groups about the hazards of cults and

wrote about their dangers to American society.

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