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Operation Mincemeat - The Man Who Never Was Revealed

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Operation Mincemeat - The Man Who Never Was Revealed
« on: January 03, 2010, 08:16:56 PM »
In today's press there is renewed debate over the identity of Major William Martin RM, the body that washed ashore on the Spanish coast in WWII containing Secret Allied war plans.
The story of Operation Mincemeat was told in the book and film "The Man Who Never Was".

See here:

A number of years ago I stumbled across a report on Operation Mincemeat that revealed the real identity of Major Martin as a homeless Welsh labourer named Glyndwr Michael.
However, the secret had already been publically revealed a few months before my personal discovery of the report.

For interest the Operation Mincemeat report is reproduced below in part (it's a long document and if I get a chance will type-up more of it and post here if there's any interest in it).

Operation Mincemeat
(TNA file CAB 154/112)


Once the Africa campaign was completed, the problems of Security and Deception, which have already been discussed in connection with TORCH, assumed a new form. The next target was Sicily. For many reasons it was an obvious target and the difficulty of deceiving the enemy was great.

To solve this problem Operation MINCEMEAT was used. It is a small classic of Deception, brilliantly elaborate in detail, completely successful in operation. Fortunately, Special Intelligence enabled us to know that the enemy was deceived by it. The officer who fathomed it was Lieut. Cdr. Montagu upon whose detailed narrative (which contains as an appendix photographs of the corpse and of the principal items of his luggage) the present narrative is based.

Shortly before the launching of TORCH, a Catalina had crashed off Spain. A body had been washed ashore and we know that the papers on the body had reached the Germans. This suggested that the Spanish could be relied on to pass on what they found, and that this un-neutral habit might be turned to account. On 5th November, 1942, Flight-Lieut. Cholmondeley brought up for consideration by the Twenty Committee a plan (called TROJAN HORSE) for planting deceptive documents on the enemy by dropping a corpse from an aircraft. From this beginning Montagu devised Operation MINCEMEAT. Sir Bernard Spilsbury was consulted on the subject of corpses. He advised that if the body of a man who had died from suitable causes were washed ashore in Spain, no one could tell, without elaborate post mortem, that he had not died in an air crash. Spaniards were bad pathologists; as Roman Catholics they had a dislike of post mortems, and thus far Montagu’s way was clear. He went next to a coroner. Mr. Bentley Purchase was amenable and agreed to keep a suitable corpse on a refrigerator until it was required. By 2nd February, 1943, Montagu’s plan was complete in rough outline and the I.S.S.B codeword MINCEMEAT was appropriated to it so that signals might be made concerning it.

On 28th January [1943] there had died at St. Stephen's Hospital, Fulham, a labourer of no fixed abode. His name was Glyndwr Michael and he was 34 years of age. Two days earlier he had taken phosphorous rat-poison, which was unlikely to reveal itself to post-mortem examination, except possibly by faint traces in the liver. Mr. Bentley Purchase dispensed with a post-mortem, notified the registrar that the body was being "removed out of England" for burial, but in fact kept it in St. Pancras Mortuary until 1st April, when it was removed to Hackney and dressed in the underclothes provided. On 3rd April, Montagu and Cholomondeley completed the dressing except for the Mae West, boots and gaiters which the supposed staff-officer was to wear. In this they were assisted by the Coroner and the mortuary keeper. No one else saw the body dressed, and the mortuary keeper did not know for what purpose it was to be used.

The exact form of the document to be planted on the enemy needed careful devising. A low level document – e.g. a letter from a member of the Planning Staff in London to a member of the Planning Staff in Algiers – would not carry enough weight. Montagu was determined that his plan should not be weakened in this way. He drafted a letter to be written by the V.C.I.G.S. to General Alexander, basing it on three main principles:-

(i)   That the planted target should be casually but definitely identified.
(ii)   That two other places should be identified as cover, that one of them should be Sicily itself and the other thrown in so that, if the Germans grasped that the document was a plant, Sicily should not be pin-pointed.
(iii)   That the letter should be “off the record” and of the type that would go be the hand of an officer but not in an official bag; it would have to have personal remarks and evidence of a personal discussion or arrangement which would prevent the message being sent by a signal.

After discussion with Colonel Bevan, the Controlling Officer of Deception, and with Colonel Dudley Clarke who was in charge of Deception for HUSKY (the Sicily operation), Montagu’s rough draft was submitted to V.C.I.G.S. Re-drafting followed, and V.C.I.G.S. produced a version of his own which, after revision by Chiefs of Staff, was passed by them in the following form:

War Office,
London, S.W.1
23rd April, 1943


My dear Alex,

I am taking advantage of sending you a personal letter by hand of one of Mountbatten’s officers, to give you the inside history of our recent exchange of cables about Mediterranean operations and their attendant cover plans. You may have felt our decisions were somewhat arbitrary, but I can assure you in fact that the C.O.S. Committee gave the most careful consideration both to your recommendation and also to Jumbo’s.
We have had recent information that the Bosche have been reinforcing and strengthening their defences in Greece and Crete and C.I.G.S. felt that our forces for the assault were insufficient. It was agreed by the Chiefs of Staff that the 5th Division should be reinforced by one Brigade Group for the assault on the beach south of CAPE ARAXOS and that similar reinforcements should be made for the 56th Division at KALAMATA. We are earmarking the necessary forces and shipping.

Jumbo Wilson had proposed to select SICILY as cover target for “HUSKY”, but we have already chosen it as cover for operations “BRIMSTONE”. The C.O.S. Committee went into the whole question exhaustively again and came to the conclusion that in view of the preparations in Algeria, the amphibious training which will be taking place on the Tunisian coast and the heavy air bombardment which will be put down to neutralise the Sicilian airfields, we should stick to our plan of making it cover for “BRIMSTONE” – indeed we stand a very good chance of making him think we will go for Sicily – it is an obvious objective and one about which he must be nervous. On the other hand they felt there wasn’t much hope of persuading the Bosche that the extensive preparations in the Eastern Mediterranean were also directed at Sicily. For this reason they have told Wilson his cover plan should be something nearer the spot, e.g. the Dodecanese. Since our relations with Turkey are now so obviously closer the Italians must be pretty apprehensive about these islands.
I imagine you will agree with these arguments. I know you will have your hands more than full at the moment, and you haven’t much chance of discussing future operations with Eisenhower. But if by any chance you do want to support Wilson’s proposal, I hope you will let us know soon, because we can’t delay much longer.

I am very sorry we weren’t able to meet your wishes about the new commander of the Guards Brigade. Your own nominee was down with a bad attack of ‘flu and not likely to be really fit for another few weeks. No doubt, however, you know Forster personally; he has done extremely well in command of a brigade at home, and is, I think, the best fellow available.

You must be about as fed up as we are with the whole question of war medals and “Purple Hearts”. We all agree with you that we don’t want to offend our American friends, but there is a good deal more to it than that. If our troops who happen to be serving in one particular theatre are to get extra decorations merely because Americans happen to be serving there too, we will be faced with a good deal of discontent among those troops fighting elsewhere perhaps just as bitterly, or more so. My own feeling is that we should thank the Americans for their kind offer but say firmly that it would cause too many anomalies and we are sorry we can’t accept. But it is on the agenda for the next Military Members meeting and I hope you will have a decision very soon.

   Best of luck,
       Yours ever,
          ARCHIE NYE

This, then was the crucial document, the passing of which to the enemy in such circumstances that they would implicitly accept it as genuine formed the purpose of the operation.
The original intention in Operation MINCEMEAT was that the body should be that of an army officer. The reasons for this were:-

(i) An Army Officer could wear battle dress and the extreme difficulty of getting a uniform which really fitted the body would be avoided.
(ii) Army Officers have their identity cards removed when going abroad and other Services do not; this would obviate the difficulty of obtaining a photograph (none which looked alive could be taken of the corpse).
(iii) It was suitable that an Army Officer should be taking a document of the kind required.

After consultation with the Director of Military Intelligence it was discovered that there would be considerable difficulties if the body were to be that of an Army Officer. For instance the Military Attaché, Madrid, would have to be added to those in the picture and it would be difficult to stop any signal reporting the finding of the body being distributed in the War Office.

It was therefore decided that the “officer” should be a Major in the Royal Marines on CCO’s Staff [Chief of Combined Operations]. This involved obtaining a photograph for his identity card but he could still wear battle dress and his carrying the documents could be reasonably explained in a plausible document.

Another disadvantage of the “officer” being a Marine was that, the Royal Marines being small in numbers, any leakage of the fact that an officer named “so and so” had been killed would cause much more comment and enquiries than would a similar report about the loss of a non-existent Army Officer. This had to be accepted and arrangements were made to tighten up security on this point wherever possible, although difficulties remained such as those that would be caused if the body were to be sent by the Spaniards to Gibraltar for burial; all possible precautions were taken on this type of point as well.

A battle-dress uniform and gaiters were obtained from Lt. Col. Mountain of Home Forces and Flight Lieutenant Cholmondeley also obtained the necessary boots, underwear, etc. from various sources. As Flight Lieut. Cholmondeley was almost the same build as the body a chit was obtained from Col. Neville, R.M. of C.C.O. addressed to Messrs. Gieves, asking them to fit the battle-dress to him (and to sew on “Royal Marine” flashes and the Combined Operations badge flashes) as he would require it for special duty. This was duly done and the badges of rank etc. were also put on. A trench coat was obtained and fitted with badges of rank, etc.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2010, 08:28:12 PM by der Chef »
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More Operation Mincemeat
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2010, 04:38:12 PM »
Some more of the Operation Mincemeat Report.



On 12th March [1943] Lieut.Cdr. Montagu gave to the Director of Plans, Admiralty, a brief requesting him to obtain a decision as to the method of transporting the body. This suggested that the body might be transported by submarine, flying boat, surface craft or land plane, in that order of preference – the submarine being stressed as clearly the best. The Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Home) decided that a submarine should be used if arrangements could be made.

On his instructions Lieut.Cdr. Montagu called on the Admiral (Submarines) who approved the idea. After consulting with his Staff it was decided:-

(i) that the container would have to be carried inside the pressure hull, involving an air-tight but not pressure proof container.
(ii) that HM s/m SERAPH (P.219) (Lieut. Jewell, MBE, RN) was sailing for Gibraltar at a suitable time and Lt. Jewell had had experience of special operations.
(iii) that the submarine could probably bring the body close enough inshore to obviate the need to use a rubber dinghy to transport it. The proposed use of a flare was therefore dropped.
…Another meeting was held with Captain Raw, CBE, RN Chief Staff Officer to Admiral Submarines at which Lieut. Jewell was present. He was given a brief by Lieut. Cdr. Montagu which was approved by Captain Raw.

It was decided by Captain Raw to postpone the date of sailing of the submarine for approximately a week to the 19th April, using this period for normal final training of the crew. This would enable the operation to be carried out with a waning moon in a reasonably dark period (approximately 28th – 29th April).


On Saturday 17th April, at 1800, Lieut. Cdr. Montagu, Flt. Lt. Cholmondeley and [NAME REDACTED] of MI5, with a suitable lorry met Mr. Bentley Purchase at the Hackney Mortuary. The body was removed from the extra-cold refrigerator where it had been kept and the pockets were duly filled, his boots, gaiters and the “Mae West” were put on, and the black brief case was attached to him.

…The body was then photographed for purposes of record, next it was wrapped in an army blanket to protect it in transit, lightly tied with tape and finally placed in the container.

…The container and rubber dingy were then driven to Greenock in the lorry by the officers mentioned and taken to HMS FORTH, the submarine depot ship, by launch. The following morning (19th April) they were taken on board HM s/m SERAPH (P.219).

No comment was caused in HMS FORTH, or in the submarine, the container being accepted as merely being a more than usually urgent and breakable FOS shipment. Only four officers in HMS FORTH were “in the know” and they only partially.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2010, 06:04:18 PM by der Chef »
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Re: Operation Mincemeat - The Man Who Never Was Revealed
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2010, 12:29:10 AM »
A little bump for those interested in the other night's BBC Operation Mincemeat documentary.
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Re: Operation Mincemeat - The Man Who Never Was Revealed
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2011, 07:03:37 AM »
Digging around in the archives yesterday I came across this correspondence regarding Operation Mincemeat.

The story was originally told by Sir Duff Cooper in the book 'Operation Heartbreak'. The book claimed to be a work of fiction but was very close to the real story.
Commander Montague was not best pleased when Duff Cooper published this book, as he wanted to tell the story himself.

This correspondence, between members of the Joint Intelligence Committee, discuss why they did not want the real story told. Nevertheless, in the end Montague was able to publish his truthful, abeit incomplete, account of Operation Mincemeat which led to the famous film "The Man Who Never Was".

Quote from: Correspondence from Directorate of Forward Planning files
The Joint Intelligence Committee have been investigating the security aspects of the publication of the novel by Sir Duff Cooper entitled “Operation ‘Heartbreak’” in view of the fact that the Operation described in the novel is based on a deception operation carried out during the war under the code name of “Mincemeat”.
2. The Joint Intelligence Committee have considered the circumstances in which Sir Duff Cooper might have obtained information about Operation "Mincemeat". There are three possible ways in which he could have obtained this information; these are as follows:-
(a) He might have obtained it in the course of his official duties at the time the Operation took place, and retained the details in his memory during intervening years.
(b) He might recently have had access to records of the Operation.
(c) He might have obtained the information orally from someone who was closely concerned with the Operation.
3. In regard to (a), there is a strong similarity on numerous points of detail between the actual Operation and the fictitious version. Sir Duff Cooper was Chairman of the Security Executive at the time that the Operation took place, and in this capacity, he could have had some knowledge of the Operation. It is impossible to say, however, how detailed this knowledge might have been. Sir Duff Cooper is reputed to have a very good memory and if he was, in fact, aware of the details of the Operation when he was Chairman of the Security Executive, he might have retained these details in his memory as they are of the type that would remain in mind. Enquiries of individuals who were closely concerned with Sir Duff Cooper at the tine of the operation indicate, however, that is unlikely that Sir Duff Cooper was informed of the operation in sufficient detail to enable him from memory alone to write his book.
4. The points of similarity between the actual Operation and fictitious version are so great that it could therefore be that Sir Duff Cooper must have had recent access to information about Operation "Mincemeat". This argument is strongest in connection with one particular incident. In the actual operation the document to be passed across to the enemy was a letter from the V.C.I.G.S. to the G.O.C. North Africa. The first draft contained a joke about Field Marshal Montgomery. This was removed by the Chiefs of Staff before they approved the document, and as far as is known, the only record of it is in the limited number of files on the Operation. In the fictitious version, the document to be passed across to the enemy is a letter from the C.I.G.S. to the G.O.C. North Africa, which contains a joke about the Secretary of State for War.
5. We have therefore examined (b); whether Sir Duff Cooper could have had recent access to records of the operation. As for as can be ascertained four official records of the operation exist:-
(a) Three copies of one version held respectively by the London Controlling Section, M.I.6, and Commander Montague, who was mainly responsible for planning the Operation.
(b) One copy, in a different form, incorporated in the war records of the Naval Intelligence Division.
It has been confirmed by the Departments responsible for the safe custody of these records that they are held under the strictest security arrangements. Commander Montague has recently stated categorically to the Director of Naval Intelligence that no one whatsoever has seen his copy. It can therefore be definitely stated that Sir Duff Cooper has not had recent access to the official records of the Operation. We hold the view that the record held by Commander Montague should be returned to the London Controlling Section as it is considered that highly classified official records of this nature should not be held by private individuals.
6. Assuming that the points of resemblance between Operation "Mincemeat" and the fictitious Operation are too great to be attributed to Sir Duff Cooper’s good memory, even supposing he was informed of the Operation in detail, and that he has not recently had access to official records, he must then have obtained the information orally, as stated in (c). The story is well known to a limited number of people moving in ex-Ministerial and ex-official circles. It is, however, unlikely that the necessary details could have been obtained from their memories alone.
7. We can, therefore, only conclude that Sir Duff Cooper was informed of the operation, or had his memory of it refreshed and supplemented, by some individual or individuals with a full knowledge of the operation. We are, however, unable to ascertain who such person or persons could be, nor whether the action was by design or inadvertence.
8. There is, however, no doubt that Sir Duff Cooper knew that the plot of his novel was based on official classified information. He has, in fact, admitted as much.

(Ref: 5/02)
I attach a record of my discussions with Mr. Montague about his wish to publish a true account of Operation “Mincemeat”. It will be seen that Mr. Montague is not prepared to move from the position he has taken up and that, in the circumstances, I thought that nothing would be gained by forcing the issue about the return of his copy of the record of the operation.
2. What seems to me to emerge from the discussion is that we are not on very strong grounds in arguing that there are good reasons of military security for withholding permission to publish the facts. As Mr. Montague says, the Russians are fully aware that we practised deception in the last war and the close resemblance between Sir Duff Cooper’s account and the facts of “Mincemeat” makes it quite possible for any competent Intelligence officer to deduce from material already available to him, e.g. the reference in Goebbel’s diary, that the operation really did take place. It might also be argued that, in so far as publication of the facts would disclose a particular ruse of war there is no more security reason to withhold publication of “Mincemeat” than there was in the case of the operation involving the impersonation of Field Marshal Montgomery, which has been widely publicised.
3. “Mincemeat”, however, seems to me to be inherently different from the Montgomery episode and other secret operations which have got into print because it involves much that, for reasons of public policy, ought not to be disclosed. Thus, any true account which commanded respect would have to show how, with the connivance of Mr. Bentley Purchase, a London coroner (who, I believe is still in office) those responsible for the deception were able to manipulate the law so as to secure possession of the body of a suicide. Again, the reason for making the dead man a Catholic – namely to play on the aversion of the Catholics to post mortems – would be brought out and might very well give offence to members of that Faith, and this would only be increased by knowledge that the body would be buried with Catholic rites.
4. There is also the question of the documents on the body. These included forged letters from the head offices of Lloyds Bank, from Messrs. McKenna the solicitors and a well known firm of jewellers in Bond Street. Even if the consent of these firms to the use of their names was obtained at the time, I cannot believe that they would like to be publicly associated with such an episode, or that we ought to expose them to the risk of publicity. Finally, there would probably have to be an admission of the part that the War Graves Commission have been persuaded to play, involving presumably some faking of their records.
5. Activities of this kind are sometimes necessary in the stress of war, but I think that we would all agree that Governments should preserve a decent reticence about them. Certainly, only compelling reasons of State would justify publication, and Mr. Montague’s representations hardly merit that description.
6. I suggest, therefore, that when I see Mr. Montague again I should tell him that, quite apart from security considerations, we have decided that it would be contrary to public policy to permit publication of a true account of Operation “Mincemeat”. If necessary, I would adduce the incidents mentioned above, but it would be difficult for him to argue against the decision on an issue which is quite separate from that raised by the publication of Sir Duff Cooper’s work of fiction.
7. In the face of such a decision I should not expect Mr. Montague to make any more trouble either about the return of his record or his threatened approach to the Attorney General.

I saw Mr. Montagu on December 6th. The interview was a lengthy one although there was no unpleasantness. It became clear that Mr. Montagu's primary desire is still to be allowed to publish at any rate the substance of MINCEMEAT as a fact and not as a piece of fiction. In support of this he claims that the main features of the operation no longer have any real security classification.
He pointed out that the Russians are fully aware that we practiced deception in the last war, because some time before OVERLORD Colonel Bevan visited Russia, told them broadly what we were doing and took steps to ensure that they took no action which would in any way spoil any deception we were planning in connection with the Normandy invasion. He also argues that the Spaniards must now be fully aware of, at any rate, most of the facts.
He said that so long as no-one was allowed to refer to any deception operations either as matters of fact or as fiction, he would agree that overall security considerations might have some validity, but with publication of the main outlines of the story, even though they purported to be fiction, in his view any objections to publication of the actual story on overall security grounds had gone by the board.
He also referred to the fact that captured German documents on examination had shown the success of the operation and that these documents had had quite a wide circulation in official circles in America.
I put it to him that he was, in fact, arguing that there was now no more security objection to his telling the actual story of MINCEMEAT than there was to, say, Colonel Fergus son writing the story of the Chindit operations in Burma. He said that this was his contention, particularly as he felt that any objection that might previously have been taken on overall security grounds no longer had any validity. Mr. Montagu explained that some years ago when he had first raised the matter, he had been refused permission to publish not only the facts of the operation but also to use them as a basis for the purpose of a piece of fiction. He said frankly that he did not see why Sir Duff Cooper should be able to do something with impunity when he, having adopted the proper course of seeking permission to do the same thing, had been refused.
Mr. Montagu made it clear that he is interested in this matter both from the point of view of finance and prestige. He said that he had been severely handicapped in his professional practise by his war service, that he had risen to a relatively humble rank only and that he was not in the position of some of his colleagues who had come "back to the bar with an obviously good war record which had been very valuable in the rebuilding of their practise”. He also said that he was being placed in a most embarrassing position as a result of enquiries which were being made of him by journalists and by his friends. He said it was common knowledge in Fleet Street that HEARTBREAK was based on fact and that somehow or other it had got out that during the war he had very likely been connected with this kind of activity.
He also drew attention to the fact that Mr. Dennis Wheatley had been very much in this kind of work and he felt that if Sir Duff Cooper got away with what he had done it was quite possible that Mr. Wheatley might feel quite justified in writing a novel built round some other operation.
I explained that what he might decide to do vis-à-vis the Attorney-General was entirely a matter for him, although earlier in the conversation I had suggested that the contrary view to what he had expressed might be argued and that it might be claimed that the publication of HEARTBREAK did not run counter to the provisions of the Official Secrets Act.
Towards the end of the conversation Mr. Montagu said frankly that he felt he had a real grievance and was disposed, as he himself put it, to be intransigent. It was clear to me that I should get no further with him at this juncture and that a request to him in his present frame of mind to return the original document would meet with a blank refusal. I accordingly said that I would report his conversation with me to those directly concerned (he is under no illusion about the fact that the Joint Intelligence Committee is very much interested in the matter) and that I would let him know their views on what he had said to me.

(Intld) H.P.
6th December, 1950

« Last Edit: May 15, 2011, 07:09:16 AM by der Chef »
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Re: Operation Mincemeat - Captured Abwehr Documents
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2011, 07:03:59 AM »
The following four captured German Abwehr documents illustrate how Operation Mincemeat was swallowed hook, line and sinker. Each of the original documents beared the initials of Admiral Doenitz.

(Source: TNA file: CAB 154/100)

11th May, 1943.

Generalstab des Heeres,
Abt. Fremde Heere West.

To: Wehrmacht Fuhrungstab

Discovery of the English Courier.

I. On the corpse of an English courier which was found on the Spanish coast, were three letters from senior British Officers to high Allied Officers in North Africa, namely:-

a) A letter from the Deputy Chief of the British General Staff (General Nye) to the Deputy Commander-in-Chief North Africa (General Alexander).

b) A letter from the Chief of Combined Operations (General Lord Mountbatten) to the Admiral commanding the Fleet in the Mediterranean (Admiral Cunningham).

c) A letter from the above (Lord Mountbatten) to the American Commander-in-Chief in North Africa (General Eisenhower).

II. The circumstances of the discovery, together with the form and contents of the despatches, are absolutely convincing proof of the reliability of the letters. They give information concerning the decisions reached on the 23rd April, 1943, regarding Anglo-American strategy for the conduct of the war in the Mediterranean after the conclusion of the Tunisian campaign.

III. Information from the despatches

i) Admiral Cunningham had asked for an experienced specialist for the above mentioned amphibious operations in the Mediterranean. The dead courier was the man who was being sent to him.

ii) General Alexander, (Deputy Commander-in-Chief, North Africa) and General Wilson, (Commander-in-Chief, Near East) had put forward proposals to the Anglo-American General Staff for the conduct of operations in the Mediterranean. None of these proposals was accepted in full.

iii) The final decisions of the British and American General Staff for the future conduct of the war, were made on the 23rd April, 1943. Details were left blank, but were to be worked out rapidly.

iv) Large scale amphibious operations in both the Western and Eastern Mediterranean are intended. The proposed operation in the Eastern Mediterranean, under the command of General Wilson, is to be made on the coast round Calamata, and the section of the coast south of Cape Araxos, (both places being on the West coast of the Peloponnesus). The 56th Infantry Division is intended to take part in the attack on Calamata, and the 5th Infantry Division on Cape Araxos. It is not known whether it is intended to commit the whole or only parts of these Divisions to these landings. In the first instance a time lag of at least two to three weeks will be necessary before the launching of the attack, because the 56th Infantry Division on the 9th May was still in action with two brigades at Enfidaville, and must first be rested and then embarked. This possibility, which necessitates a certain time lag before the launching of the operation, is, judging by the form of the letters, the most likely.

Should, however, the operation be carried out with only parts of both divisions, then it could be mounted immediately, because one brigade of the 56th Division and one or two brigades of the 5th Infantry Division, are probably available already in the deployment area. (Egypt-Libya).

The code-name for the landing on the Peloponnesus is HUSKY.

The Allied General Staff have already proposed to General Wilson a feint operation against the Dodecanese. On the 23rd April, Wilson’s decision concerning this had not yet been made.

The operation to be conducted in the Western Mediterranean by General Alexander was mentioned, but without naming any objective. A jocular remark in the letter refers to Sardinia. The code-name for this operation is BRIMSTONE. The proposed cover operation for BRIMSTONE is SICILY.

v) Operation BRIMSTONE appears to be of a minor “commando type”. In this connection see the request of the 21st April, 1943, for the return of Major Martin “after the attack”. This indication points to the invasion of an island rather than of a major undertaking, as, for instance, a landing against the South of France. This is another point in favour of Sardinia.

IV Conclusions.

It is known to the British Staff that the courier’s despatches to Major Martin fell into Spanish hands. It is not perhaps known to the British General Staff that these letters came to our notice, since an English Consul was present at the examination of the letters by Spanish officials. It is, therefore, to be hoped that the British General Staff will continue with these projected operations and thereby make possible a resounding Abwehr success through corresponding acceleration of German precautions. It appears necessary to initiate a misleading plan of action which will deceive the enemy by painting a picture of growing Axis concern regarding Sicily, the Dodecanese and Crete. It is important that ABW 3 should receive corresponding instructions. Further, news of this discovery will be treated with the greatest secrecy, and knowledge of it confined to as few as possible.

(Signed) ROEMME




15 May, 1943 Abw Nr. 2282/43 Geh.Kdes.I.H.West/I

Subject: Drowned English Courier picked up at Huelva.

To: (Enemy Armies West (Frhr v Roenne.)

(Abw I.M.

( “ I.L.

On the 10th May, 1943, a further conversation with the case officer, a Spanish Staff Officer with well established connections, clarified the following questions:-

1. The corpse carried, clutched in his hand, an ordinary brief case which contained the following documents:-

a) An ordinary white paper as a cover for the letters addressed to General Alexander and Admiral Cunningham. This white paper carried no address.

The three letters were contained each in its own envelope with the usual superscription and addressed personally to the recipients, and apparently sealed with the private seal of the sender (signet ring). The seals were intact.

The letters themselves which I have already had replaced in their original envelopes, are in good condition. For the purposes of reproduction they were dried by artifical heat by the Spaniards and thereafter were again placed for some twenty-four hours in salt water, without which their condition would undoubtedly have been altered.

b) In the portfolio there were also the proofs of the pamphlet on the functions of Combined Operations Command referred to by Mountbatten in his letter of the 22nd April, 1943, as also the photographs mentioned in the letter. The proofs are in excellent condition, but the photographs are completely ruined.

2. In addition the courier carried in his breast pocket a letter-case containing personal papers, among them his military papers with photographs. (These papers connect up with Mountbatten’s reference to Major Martin in his letter of the 22nd April). There were too, a letter to Major Martin from his fiancés and another from his Father, also a London night-club bill dated 27th April. Therefore Major Martin left London on the forenoon of the 28th April and during the afternoon of the same day the aircraft met with an accident in the neighbourhood of Huelva.

3. The Vitish Consul was present at the discovery and knows all about it. On the pretext that anything found on the corpse, including all documents, must be made available to competent Spanish authorities, we anticipated representations which the British Consul would probably have made for the immediate delivery of the documents. All the documents were, after reproduction, replaced in their original condition in such a way that even I would have been convinced, and definitely give the impression that they have not been opened. In the course of the next few days they will be handed back to the British by the Spanish Foreign Office.

Enquiries regarding the remains of the pilot of the aircraft presumably wounded in the crash, and interrogation of the same concerning other passengers are already being put in hand by the Spanish General Staff.



Telegram SSDMBBZ 725

Dated: 15th May 11.30 hrs.

1. No further doubts remain regarding the reliability of the captured documents. Examination as to whether they were intentionally put into our hands shows that this is most unlikely. Next comes the question whether the enemy is aware of the interception by us of these documents or whether he is only aware of the loss of a plane over the sea. This has yet to be discovered. It is possible that the enemy knows nothing of the capture of these documents but it is certain that he will know that they have not reached their destination. Whether the enemy intend to alter the operations they have planned or accelerate the timing is not known but remains improbable.

Timing of the Operations.

2. The matter is treated as urgent. However, on the 23rd April there is still time for General Wilson’s proposal for the attack in the Eastern Mediterranean (for which Sicily is the cover operation) to reach General Alexander by air courier. In the event of his agreeing with Wilson’s opinion he is asked to reply immediately since “we cannot postpone the matter any longer.” In this case it is the opinion of the German General Staff that sufficient time remains for alteration in the planning of both the Eastern and Western Mediterranean operations.

Sequence of Operations.

3. It is supposed that both operations are to take place at the same time since only in this case would Sicily be unsuitable as cover for both.

4. Port of embarkation for the operation in the Eastern Mediterranean is probably Tobruk. The argument against Alexandria is that in this case the choice of Sicily as a cover objective would be absurd.

5. It is not clear whether the deception is only to be practised up to the time of the beginning of the operation or whether it will be continued after the launching of the actual operation.

6. There is no indication that in the Eastern Mediterranean only 5 Div. and 56 Div. (for Araxos and Calamata) will be landed. However, only these divisions are to be used in the assault. It is possible that they will comprise the whole of the assault forces.

7. It must be especially emphasised that this document indicates extensive preparations in the Eastern Mediterranean. This is especially important because from that area, on account of the geographical situation, there has, up to this time, been considerably less news about preparations than from the area of Algiers.

(Signed) Capt. ULLRICH.

« Last Edit: August 22, 2011, 07:05:34 AM by der Chef »
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Re: Operation Mincemeat - The Man Who Never Was Revealed
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2011, 07:04:54 AM »
o.v. den 22 Mai 1943
ABW Nr. 2282/43 Geh.Kdos.I.H.West/1

Ref. AMBWNr.2282/43 Geh.Kdos. of 15.5.43.

Subject. Drowned English courier picked up at Huelva.

To. (Enemy Armies West (Frhr v. Roenne.)

(Abw. 1. M.

( “ I. L.

The following is a copy of a further report by K.O., Spain.

“As already reported on the 14th May, on the 10th May questions were asked by the Alto Estado Mayor, concerning the circumstances of the discovery of the English Courier’s documents to which Oberst Lt. Pardo of A.E.M. gave for the most part immediate answers. Oberst Lt. Pardo, on the 10th May, was emphatic that the answers he gave to us were a complete story of the whole affair without reservations, but it seems, however, that this was not so. On the 10th May, therefore, an officer of A.E.M. was sent to the place of the discovery and has returned this morning to Madrid. The result of his investigations was communicated to us this morning in the presence of Oberst Lt. Pardo’s Commanding Officer, as follows, and is at the same time the reply to telephone conversation No. 346 of the 13th May, (I.H. West).

“The corpse of Major Martin, the courier who carried the above mentioned documents, was not picked up at Huelva, but was found on the 30th April at 9.30 in the morning, floating in the sea in the neighbourhood of Punta Umbria, near Huelva. Fishermen took the corpse to the beach and immediately after their return informed the Marine Commandant for Huelva, who took possession of the corpse. In contrast to the first statement of Oberst Lt. Pardo that the corpse carried the brief case clutched in his hand, it appears that the above mentioned brief case was secured to the corpse by a strap round the waist. The attaché case was fastened to this strap by a hook. The strap is at present in the possession of the General Staff. The brief case was locked and the key was found, together with other keys, on a key-ring in one of the corpse’s trouser pockets. According to the statement of Oberst Lt. Pardo, the brief case is of the official British pattern with engraved markings.

“On account of the papers which were found on the corpse, particulars of which agree with those communicated in my g.Kdos. 781 (IHW.Nr.2282/43 g.K.) of the 15th May, the British Consul was informed by the Marine Commandant, who inspected the corpse and found out that he had been carrying despatches, and he was informed at the same time that these despatches had been forwarded unopened to the Admiralty, Madrid.

“The courier’s brief case, together with all papers found in his breast pocket, were then taken to Madrid by an official of the Marine Commandant’s Office and handed over personally to the Minister for Marine. He, (the Minister for Marine) handed over the whole collection untouched to A.E.M., who undertook the opening, reproduction and resealing, and then returned them to him. He then gave the whole collection to the British Naval Attache in Madrid, who undoubtedly as a result of a communication from the English Consul in Huelva had been warned that these papers were being sent to the Minister for Marine, Madrid, and had asked the Minister for Marine for them.


“1. A medical examination of the corpse showed that there were no apparent wounds or marks which could have resulted from a blow or stab. According to medical evidence, death was due to drowning, (lit: the swallowing of sea water). The corpse carried an English pattern life-belt and was in an advanced stage of decomposition. According to medical opinion, it has been in the water for from five to eight days. This contradicts the evidence provided by the discovery of a night club bill on the corpse dated 27th April, and the discovery of the corpse at 9.30 in the morning of the 30th April. It is, however, considered possible that the effect of the sun’s rays on the floating corpse accelerated the rate of decomposition. The doctors also stated that the corpse was identical with the photographs in its military papers with the sole exception that a bald patch on the temples was more pronounced than in the photographs. Either the photograph of Major Martin had been taken some two or three years ago or the baldness on the temples was due to the action of sea-water.

“2. On the 28th April, an aircraft crashed at Huelva and the pilot, who is wounded, is in Spanish hands. Interrogation of the pilot on the instructions of the General Staff revealed that his has nothing to do with the corpse of Major Martin, for he stated that Major Martin had not been in his aircraft. His only companion had been another American pilot who was caught at the same time. He also stated that Major Martin’s life-belt was of an English pattern, whereas he himself had flown an American ‘plane which carried a different type of life-belt. There are, therefore clearly two completely unconnected accidents.

“3. A search for the remains of Major Martin’s aircraft and also for the corpses of any other passengers in this ‘plane, was unsuccessful. The fishermen state that in the area where the corpse was found there are strong currants and other corpses together with parts of the aircraft might later on be found at other places.

der Chef



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