An Amazing Idea – Making An Aircraft Carrier Out of Ice and Sawdust

Mackenzie King (left), Franklin D. Roosevelt (center), and Winston Churchill at the Quebec Conference

In WWII the British were desperate. Metal was in short supply, and German U-boats were sinking Britain’s lifeline – ships. The Allies needed an unsinkable…

Source: An Amazing Idea – Making An Aircraft Carrier Out of Ice and Sawdust

The History Girls: Odette by Julie Summers

There are very few characters from the Second World War who are known by their first names but Odette is one of them. Probably the most famous female Special Operations Executive (SOE) agent to survive was born this day in 1912. She was christened Odette Marie Celine Brailly in Amiens and remarkably was blind for nearly…

Source: The History Girls: Odette by Julie Summers

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The History Girls: Pamela Gibson of Bletchley Park by Janie Hampton

Pamela Gibson is the oldest surviving person to have worked at Bletchley Park decoding centre during the Second World war. ‘But Bletchley was not my whole life,’ she says in her strong, velvety voice. ‘I’ve had other careers too.’ She also holds the world record for the longest ‘rest’ between jobs as an actor, proving that it’s quite possible to restart a career after 60 years.

Pamela was born in her grandmother’s drawing room in…

Source: The History Girls: Pamela Gibson of Bletchley Park by Janie Hampton

Outrage As Churchill’s Home becomes Hitler’s Headquarters For Movie

War veterans are aghast that Blenheim Palace will double as Hitler’s headquarters for Michael Bay’s latest film.The transformation of Winston Churchill’s former home into the swastika-swathed headquarters of Adolf Hitler…

Source: Outrage As Churchill’s Home becomes Hitler’s Headquarters For Movie

Eric Roberts: The spy who suffered – BBC News

Originally posted on the BBC News.

One of the UK’s most brilliant wartime spies was poorly treated by colleagues at MI5 in the paranoid years of the Cold War and was left gripped by fear that he was suspected of being a traitor. Now an extraordinary letter and a series of family documents reveal the full story.

In the 1930s, Eric Roberts was a clerk with the Westminster Bank, where he seemed to be an average, unassuming employee.

But Roberts’s real work was espionage. He had been a field agent for MI5 since the 1920s, recruited by famous spymaster Maxwell Knight, and infiltrating first communist then fascist groups.

In 1940, when Churchill became concerned about the activities of potential fifth columnists, Roberts was taken on as a full time agent by MI5.

Working under the alias “Jack King”, Roberts posed as a Gestapo officer, part of the Einsatzgruppe London. For five years he worked with Nazi sympathisers in Britain, who thought they were part of…

via Eric Roberts: The spy who suffered – BBC News.

Operation Mincemeat: The Biggest Bluff of WWII

History Wench

The Second World War is the setting for some of history’s greatest espionage tales. Public imagination is frequently captured by the image of a suave and intelligent agent undertaking covert missions for Queen and country. This post will detail one of the more unusual of these espionage stories – ‘Operation Mincemeat. A plan which was masterminded by Ewen Montagu and targeted the German intelligence orginisation, Abwehr.

The agent used in Operation Mincemeat was worlds away from the charming and sophisticated agent popular culture often likes to depict – he was a semi-literate tramp from Aberbargoed, Wales. This agent’s name was Glyndwr Michael. Whats more is that Michael was already dead when he successfully carried out his mission.

Michael’s personal history is one of sadness and tragedy. His father committed suicide when he was just fifteen years old and his mother died sixteen years later. He was left penniless, homeless, and depressed. Shortly after the death…

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The Churchill Coventry Myth – Beachcombing’s Bizarre History Blog

Originally posted on Beachcombing’s Bizarre History Blog.

bombed-out-cathedralMoonlight Sonata was the German code name for the bombing raid on Coventry 14 Nov 1940, the first major German bombing raid on a British civilian target. Over five hundred German bombers shimmied over the city in thirteen waves. Most estimates put the number of deaths at just over five hundred hundred and the damage to the town was devastating: Coventry’s centre is entirely modern for the very simple reason that it had to be rebuilt from scratch. The memory of Coventry died hard. When British troops prepared to run onto Normandy beaches in June 1944 the loudspeakers on some ships instructed them to ‘Remember Coventry, Remember Dunkirk’, the great civilian and the great military disasters of the British war in the west. So much for the facts. Behind the disaster there is a longstanding conspiracy theory: namely that Churchill sacrificed Coventry to make sure that the Germans did not know that enigma had been broken. The conspiracy theory is expressed nicely in a novel by Robert Harris, Enigma (1995).

‘I think, it’s possible to know too much. When Coventry was bombed, remember? Our beloved Prime Minister discovered from Enigma what was going to happen about four hours in advance. Know what he did?’ Again Jericho shook his head. ‘Told his staff that London was…

Source: The Churchill Coventry Myth – Beachcombing’s Bizarre History Blog