- 1 Which is better Operation Mincemeat or The Man Who Never Was
- 2 Who is Pam in the man who never was
- 3 Was Montague a Russian spy
- 4 Was Jean threatened in Operation Mincemeat
- 5 Who did Jean from Operation Mincemeat marry
Which is better Operation Mincemeat or The Man Who Never Was
6 /10 Good but unnecessary subplots There is a better film here but some unnecessary side plots – oh well, that romantic thing took the focus so many times – are really distracting. Some very good moments, great acting, very tense on its third act, but the first was confusing and full of exposition.
- Good enough but I was expecting better.160 out of 175 found this helpful.
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- Permalink 6 /10 Good in patches but unnecessary subplots Warning: Spoilers I saw the original shortly after its release.
- Despite the fictional subplot about an Irish spy it is a far better film.
Up to the moment that Martin is put in the sea the film is reasonably paced and interesting. However after that a silly romantic subplot brings the film to almost a standstill. The last 20minutes could have been reduced to 5. It is difficult to understand why the film was remade,and why so many fictional elements were introduced.89 out of 102 found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote. Permalink 6 /10 Totally unnecessary love plot The idea for the film is good and solid. However, it is diluted to the absurd with some weird menage a trois love plat that, if removed, would shorten the movie with a much needed half an hour.94 out of 102 found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote. Permalink 6 /10 Perfectly fine Operation Mincemeat is a film with very few bells and whistles. It has an interesting story to tell, and it tells it well enough, however unnecessary romantic subplots make the whole thing 20 minutes too long.
I think the pacing is a little off as they place the focus too much on the establishment of the plan and not enough on how it pans out. The performances are all fine. Nothing overly flashy. There is a good feel to the film, capturing the period well. Overall a perfectly decent film, worth watching to learn about a remarkable and crucial military operation, but there’s nothing particularly remarkable about the filmmaking.76 out of 88 found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote. Permalink 4 /10 Disappointing I was so looking forward to this for the 2 years since i saw them starting filming in 2020 around Whitehall Huge chunks of this film were completely boring and totally unnecessary and these were the stultifying love relationships that took over the plot and in some ways took precedence over the whole point of the film.
- Ben Mackintires original book was miles away from this effort which – despite the cast – was as boring as hell and could have easily been the thrilling film it should have been leaving out 75% of the personal stories of the characters.
- The film focussed on the wrong things.
- What a shame.175 out of 210 found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote. Permalink 4 /10 Operation hamburger patty The main difference between The Man Who Never Was (1956) and this, Operation Mincemeat (2021), is that filmmakers seem to consider 21st century audiences dumb who need everything explained slowly to them.
- Or, perhaps the filmmakers are such simpletons as they presume their audience to be.
- Also, it seems that these days the facts, as intriguing as they may be, are not considered enough to make an interesting movie and therefore unnecessary embellishments with invented lies and subplots are deemed a must.
The only thing that keeps this movie half-afloat is the regal presence of Colin Firth. The rest is total BS, mostly invented to make the movie drag on for 25 minutes longer than the original. The 1956 original was handicapped by the fact that the facts were still classified and yet they created a brilliantly paced and presented narrative of as close to the truth as they could get.
- This 2021 outing had all the facts, declassified since 1996, but felt the need to invent fairytales to embellish it with.
- Is this a good movie to watch if one does not care about the facts it claims to depict? Run-of-the-mill formula.
- Nothing special.
- No memorable moments.
- Formulaic standard recipe doing an injustice to one of the greatest successes in history involving the deception of the enemy.
Cringeworthy moments in the narrative. Not one moment that rouses an emotional response from the viewer.131 out of 154 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote. Permalink 5 /10 Not as good as “The Man Who Never Was” The Man Who Never Was, the old 1956 movie was much better in terms of focus of the story.
Operation Mincemeat played up a silly romantic relationship between Montagu and Leslie played by Colin Firth and Kelly MacDonald. This was probably not true and feels contrived. The beginning is confusing because lots of mutterings with Colin Firth’s mumbling hard to understand. Also Matthew McFayden’s character’s fuss about the dead body felt added on and trivial amidst the war.
The 50s movie had a scary Irish Nazi spy played by Stephen Boyd. That was very exciting. Worth a watch for those interested in WW2 spy stories.20 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote. Permalink 7 /10 An impressive cast, solid film.
- A military officer hatches a daring plan to dupe The Nazis into recovering what they believe is a fallen officer, in possession of vital documents, when in Reality it’s a corpse, and a massive deception.
- I did wonder how they were going to tell the story, and perhaps the fair answer, is slowly.
- It’s definitely an enjoyable film, but it perhaps lacks a little sharpness, a little dramatic edge, but the story is fascinating, and here we see where the idea came from, including the finite details such as the corpse and cover story, and the gentle pushes that were needed in Spain.
I think the best thing about this film has to be the acting, the performances are excellent, subtle, understated and convincing, you couldn’t put a bit between the likes of Colin Firth, Matthew Macfadyen and Kelly Macdonald, I thought Penelope Wilton was excellent.
- Very nicely produced, the visuals were well and truly on point, some of the military scenes looked terrific.
- It perhaps wasn’t as exciting as I’d hope for, but overall, I enjoyed it.7/10.10 out of 11 found this helpful.
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- Permalink 7 /10 A really great story gone bad by a stupid “love” story OMG! Please.
Really. This is one of the most incredible stories out of WWII and “they” had to toss in a love story that took away so much from the real story, it was sad. And yes, it is FAR too long. OMG, I wanted to take a nap! Having those two officers acting like high school jocks over The Girl was pathetic.
- And sad. What a waste of one hella story.
- It is amazing what people can come up with they have to, though, isn’t it!? Make sure to watch the credits and see the real photographs of the real people!! 11 out of 12 found this helpful.
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- Permalink 6 /10 Operation brainfreeze The production team clearly had an one too many during the making of this.
Why anyone would add fiction to spoil a fascinating historical tale is beyond me. Lets recap – the Brits decieved Hitler through brilliant trickery into diverting his troops, thereby losing ground to the allies, and ultimately losing the war. If this was pure fiction it would be unbelievable or better told with Marvel characters or Tarantino.
However, it wasnt fiction!! So why litter the core story with contrived subplots? The relationship between Montague and Jean was nonsense. Unrealistic. Irrelevant. Was it perhaps because someone promised Colin it was a love story to get him involved? Add to this, whilst the script and dialogue was largely good, at times it was awful.
These were brainfreeze moments. Casting and performances were generally good, especially Matthew M and Penelope Wilton. I did enjoy the movie but mainly because of the sheer fascination with the story, rather than the execution of this version of the story.68 out of 80 found this helpful.
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- Permalink 6 /10 We need a corpse Well this is one of the wilder ploys of the WWII allied intelligence.
- It’s quite clever and definitely out there.
- The storyline flowed easily though it was a bit slow at times.
- Acting gets top marks.24 out of 31 found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote. Permalink 5 /10 Absolute boredom. Yes, it was that dull, bloated and disengaging sloth of a film, where the dragged out 128 min runtime was filled with lots of unnecessary yappity-yap of boring dialogue and subplots, and the constant annoying clickety-clack of typewriters.
Even with such great British talent, we struggled to stay awake. Although the cinematography and beautiful era-based sets and wardrobe were excellent, writer Michelle Ashford and director John Madden managed to take such remarkable espionage true-based story, and turn it into a plodding, un-suspenseful bloated slog, and expects the audience to sit through said painful 2+ hours.
I feel in the right filmmaker’s hands, this could’ve been an epic tale. Sadly, it’s only a generous 5/10 from me, all going to the cast who tried their best with what they were given, and the great sets.30 out of 41 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink 6 /10 A bit disappointing Warning: Spoilers The part of the film dealing with the actual operation is fine with good acting and a gripping narrative. Even when one knows historically that the landing in Sicily was a success in the film it still is a breathless moment when everyone is waiting for the news and all the tremendous effort leading up to that moment is effectively conveyed by the director.
Unfortunately the movie is marred by the redundant romantic sub-plot which seems like it’s from another film and makes the film longer than necessary. The addition of the corpse’s fictional sister is also a mistake. It doesn’t add anything apart from cheap pathos.
- The scriptwriter made what could have been a great film into a curate’s egg.
- Disappointing.23 out of 32 found this helpful.
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- Permalink 7 /10 Operation “everyone likes Kelly Macdonald” It was enjoyable enough but I really wanted to enjoy this more than I did.
- It seemed to unnecessarily labour several male characters fancying Kelly Macdonald’s character.
All the time taken up on this tiresome sub-plot would have been better spent on some of the main story. Also, a triple-agent character giving a hand job to someone just seemed unlikely and out of place. One of several nods to James Bond was an unfeasibly high-powered buzzsaw watch as a throwaway gag (because of Ian Fleming being a character) was corny and distracting.
- I somehow expected it would be more engaging, gritty and revealing than the 1956 film, but it seemed pretty typical and formulaic like many modern British WWII themed films with foiled wartime romances crow-barred in.
- There are some great actors in the film but some of them seem to be overused in other similar roles the same era.
It even seemed a little like a mini “Death of Stalin” reunion for Jason Isaacs and Simon Russell Beale. Perhaps I’m being too unkind to the film, but I was looking forward to it and fell a little short of expectations.48 out of 60 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink 8 /10 Great WW2 drama It’s surprisingly light-hearted at times despite the subject matter, which can be a bit too much but Operation Mincemeat is still a great WW2 drama that’s witty, fun and suitably suspenseful with a fascinating fact based story to explore. Colin Firth gives a great lead performance in a role that plays squarely to his strengths and is supported by Matthew Macfadyen who is successfully able to go toe to toe with Firth in the more dramatic moments.
Kelly Macdonald and Penelope Wilton are also great, bringing genuine heart and warmth to the proceedings. John Madden’s direction is excellent, establishing an engaging pace early on and maintaining it throughout helped by some effective cross cutting.
- The music by Thomas Newman is really good, tense, energetic and triumphant.40 out of 65 found this helpful.
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- Permalink 6 /10 Fun with flaws Macfayden and Firth are good.
- Assured performances.
- Hello to Jason Isaacs.
- Sinister and unlikable! Kelly McDonald’s accent isn’t great.
Amazing story. Quite a bit of humour. Mostly enjoyable. The love story dilutes things and gets in the way. Seems unnecessary. There is enough of a human angle without it.10 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote. Permalink 4 /10 Fascinating real life story – turned into a soap opera They somehow managed to make one of the war’s great operations boring.
- Terrible dialog and useless sub plots drag this out way too long.
- At times this resembled a group of high schoolers trying to sort out their lives while planning a dance.
- And, all the cute nods to James Bond were annoying.21 out of 26 found this helpful.
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- Permalink 4 /10 Why ? “The Man Who Never Was” is a brilliantly crafted British wartime drama that told a true story,although that film introduced an unnecessary subplot about a German spy,it was still a great example of classic British film making.
Why anyone decided to remake it is baffling,the new version contains many subplots that in real life did not happen and the fact the the subject matter is over 70 years old then why wait so long to remake it and why deviate from the source material ?.I suppose we should be thankful that the Americans did not do the remake,it would have ended up with THEM single handedly winning the war.63 out of 88 found this helpful.
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- Permalink 9 /10 A truly great film of the quiet heroes of the Second World War Truly excellent, the story of how deception played such a key part in the Allies victory.
- Uniformly terrific performances and a great plot, demonstrating the “Wilderness of mirrors” of intelligence work, you can never really be sure of what is real and what is not and have to continually balance one risk against another.
The ruthlessness of when the corpse’s sister shows up and you have to put your nobler feelings aside because what you’re doing is so much more important than her grief at her brother’s death, that if you don’t carry on there will be thousands of more grieving siblings to mourn for.
The heart-stopping scene where the German agent confronts the heroine and you have to consider whether or not to continue, not knowing if there really is an anti-Hitler faction in German intelligence or whether this is all a bluff to make her spill her guts (the fact that he leaves her alive suggests the former).
The nagging fear of Communist infiltration which turn out to be 100% true with Philby, Burgess and co. The references to the true inspiration for the plot, ex-British Intelligence chief Basil Thomson (one of the prime architects of the IRA’s defeat) and his story “The Milner’s Hat’.
In truth the only reason I don’t give it 10 out of 10 is that it somewhat exaggerates the impact of the scheme, had it not worked casualties in Sicily would have been far greater but it certainly wouldn’t have affected the course of the war and there was no chance of a German invasion of Britain by 1943.
But all told a classic spy story that I would recommend to anyone.31 out of 52 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote. Permalink 6 /10 An interesting film that has much more potential A likeable film however I can’t help but feel for the potential that it missed out on.
- The actors fulfilled their roles and we were able to get to know the characters.
- The film often digressed from the main theme and and focused on far less relevant sub plots.
- Contrasting this some more interesting scenes felt to be cut short.
- The film is overall above par, however I feel this could have been so much more.30 out of 36 found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote. Permalink 5 /10 50% Operation Mincemeat 5/10 (Average) This film was 50 % Operation Mincemeat and the rest was something else that you’d tolerate or not depending on your disposition and endurance.32 out of 41 found this helpful.
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- Permalink One of the most exciting and consequential covert operations in WWII history.
- Operation Mincemeat is not an animation, but a straightforward, almost romantic depiction of a WWII covert operation, the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943, that began the downfall of Adolph Hitler.
Churchill, having chased Rommel from N. Africa, now could pick Sicily or Greece to invade, and the Germans were fooled into thinking it would be Greece. By the way, that little plot saved tens of thousands of lives along the way. While bombs and intrigues are war’s reality, this enjoyable Netflix docudrama is all about deception, mainly the Allies deceiving, through the use of a dead body, the Nazis into thinking they were invading Europe through Greece.
- The “hidden war” is the clandestine actions of a small British unit dedicated to the biggest case of fake news in WWII.
- Operation Mincemeat, by virtue of its name, could have appeared silly to serious Nazi operatives, but it did fool them.
- The film avoids the German point of view while it concentrates on the challenges of faking a real body, stashing real documents on him that wouldn’t decay in sea water, and dropping him in a place where it would be easily found.
These intriguing choices are equaled by the challenges facing the Brits such as who in the chain of command should know about Operation Mincemeat, besides Churchill, figuring that spies are working among them. Perhaps just as domestically dangerous is the triangle developing between top dog, Ewen Montagu (Colin Firth), and Charles Cholmondeley (Matthew Macfadyen), and new recruit, Jean Leslie (Kelly Macdonald).
- That soap opera bogs the film down when so many nuts and bolts of such a delicate operation could be attended to.
- Yet, war exists on all levels, even the personal.
- Along the way, one narrator, Ian Fleming (a jaunty Johnny Flynn), has some pre-James Bond wry comments about the proceedings.
- He does presage Bond by calling two fellow conspirators “Q” and “M.” He is one of several writers to mine the heroics for his fiction.
A nice touch for those of us who revere Fleming and Bond. Operation Mincemeat is a detailed exposition of one of history’s greatest deceptions. A quiet Netflix night with cognac and chips is just the ticket to marvel at the ingenuity of the Brits and their gambling Prime Minister.
Add a super cast, spot-on writing, and a director who has depicted romance and deception and you will have your own victory at home.17 out of 29 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote. Permalink 3 /10 Snore The story meanders through what seems like endless subplots. It gets caught up in the minutiae of selecting a corpse and seems to lose focus on the greater story.
The story just dragged on for much to long and then I stopped it halfway and started something else. The film could use some editing to cut a good half hour of the runtime.25 out of 45 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote. Permalink 7 /10 Operation Mincemeat Warning: Spoilers I watched the trailer for this war movie about maybe two months before its actual release, it looked like a fascinating fact-based story, and had a good cast of actors, so I was up for it, directed by John Madden (Shakespeare in Love, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel).
Basically, set in 1943 during World War II, British Intelligence are devising a deception operation to keep the plans for the Allied invasion of Sicily secret. Naval intelligence officer Ewen Montagu (Colin Firth) and RAF (Royal Air Force) Flight Lieutenant Charles Cholmondeley (Matthew Macfadyen) have developed an outlandish but intricate plan they are sure will fool the Germans (Nazis) and disguise the invasion.
The plan is to dress a corpse as a British officer, give him a fictitious but convincing identity, with personal items, and authentic looking documentation detailing a plan to invade Greece and Sardinia. Admiral John Godfrey (Jason Isaacs) is initially unconvinced that this plan could work, and it will need approval from Prime Minister Winston Churchill (Simon Russell Beale).
- Slowly however, the plan gets underway, as Montagu and Cholmondeley create an identity and backstory for the fake officer.
- They give him the name “Captain (Acting Major) William Martin”, a common and almost undetectable name.
- Secretary Jean Leslie (Kelly Macdonald) is fascinated by the plan, named Operation Mincemeat (because of the body).
She offers her services into creating a credible identity for the dead man, including using a photograph of herself as the man’s lover. The most important part of the operation is to find a dead man, specifically who has recently died from drowning, and eventually they find their man.
A man named Glyndwr Michael (Lorne MacFadyen), a tramp who died from eating rat poison, is “recruited” for the operation. There is a point when the mission could be stopped when it even starts, when the dead man’s sister, Doris Michael (Gabrielle Creevy) identifies his body, but they convince her that his part in their hoax could save many lives.
There is also concern that Montagu’s brother, Ivor (Mark Gatiss) may be working alongside the enemy, after British intelligence have been tracking his movements and observing his behaviour. Montagu and his team are also unable to photograph the corpse for identity purposes, until Jean introduces them to her American friend, Sergeant Roger Dearborn (Lorne MacFadyen), who is the spitting image of the dead man, and may help them with a new photograph.
Slowly, Montagu and Jean find themselves becoming attracted to each other, despite him being married to Iris (Hattie Morahan) and having two children. The operation is coming together, with Hester Leggett (Penelope Wilton) writing a love letter from the sham lover to the dead man, with an eye lash included in the envelope, and a black attaché case chained to his wrist containing the false papers from military authorities in London.
Finally, “William Martin” is dressed in uniform, placed in an airtight canister, loaded aboard the submarine HMS Seraph, and dropped in the water near Spain. The decomposing corpse is discovered floating off the coast of Huelva, in southern Spain. British intelligence communicates with numerous phone calls claiming to have a lost an officer out at sea, knowing that the Germans are highly likely to be tapping and listening to their telephones.
Germans becomes aware of the body washes ashore and use their spies to gain more information about the contents he was carrying. Montagu and the rest of the officers are anxious to find out if the Germans have indeed been fooled by their ruse. Eventually, William Martin is returned to Britain, and MoS (Ministry of Supply) expert Charles Fraser-Smith (James Fleet) investigates the fake letter.
He confirms that there is evidence to suggest the wax seal was broken and repaired, indicating the letter was read. Sometime later, the British wait anxiously for a phone call indicating if German forces are moving and the situation with the Allies invading Sicily.
- Lieutenant Commander Ian Fleming (Johnny Flynn) is writing the events as the unfold for a future spy thriller (many aspects of the operation were the inspiration for James Bond).
- Eventually, the phone rings and it is confirmed that Sicily has been occupied, with very few casualties and little injured during.
The deception and Operation Mincemeat are hailed as a success, and Montagu and Cholmondeley are commended for their service. William Martin was laid to rest in a cemetery of Nuestra Señora, in Huelva, Spain, and years later, after the revelation of the mission, his grave was marked with his real name, Glyndwr Michael, and his efforts in the war.
Also starring Paul Ritter as Bentley Purchase, Nicholas Rowe as Captain David Ainsworth, Will Keen as Salvador Gomez-Beare, Alexander Beyer as Karl Kuhlenthal, Alex Jennings as John Masterman, Catastrophe’s Mark Bonnar as Jock Horsfall, Poldark’s Ruby Bentall as Connie Bukes, Nico Birnbaum as Colonel Alexis von Roenne, Markus von Lingen as Adolf Clauss, Rufus Wright as Lieutenant Bill Jewell, Caspar Jennings as Jeremy Montagu, and Dolly Gadsdon as Jennifer Montagu.
Firth is good as the gentlemanly leader of the operation, with Macfadyen supporting him well, Macdonald is interesting, and Isaacs is fine. I was told a little about the real story, from the eyelash in the letter to the details of the homeless man chosen, the operation itself is engaging to see planned and unfolding, the characters interacting about the fictional life of their corpse is quirky but likeable, the tiny comedic moments add comic relief, and the period detail is splendid, it is a wonderfully written and performed stranger than fiction British story with gusto, a terrific war drama.
Very good! 17 out of 32 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote. Permalink 6 /10 An unforgettable true story in a forgettable film Just in case there are those out there worried about Shakespeare in Love director John Madden’s return to World War 2, fear not for the based on the true story Operation Mincemeat is far less cringe-inducing than his Nicolas Cage effort Captain Corelli’s Mandolin as the Oscar nominated director ensures this wartime thriller with a difference is at all times engaging without ever being utterly gripping.
Dealing with one of the most renowned war time acts of deception in history, that saw a group of British intelligence officers, here lead by Colin Firth’s Ewen Montagu and Matthew Macfadyen’s Charles Cholmondeley, plan and enact a masterful plot to throw the Nazi regime off the scent of the allied factions real plans too land and set out to reconquer Europe, Mincemeat has some undoubtedly slow moments and some rather uninspired love angles but when the engaging true story is taking the spotlight, Mincemeat offers up an insightful and thrilling ride.
Without any of the cast able to do anything we haven’t seen them do multiple times before, with Firth, Macfadyen, Kelly Macdonald and Jason Isaacs all giving their bare minimum to roles that could’ve potentially been far deeper explored and bought to life and Madden going through the motions behind the scenes, what really makes Mincemeat tick is its central and almost unbelievable story that is going to be an eye opening experience for anyone like me who knew very little about the work of Montagu and Cholmondeley and what they were trying to achieve for the good of the fight against the Nazi plight.
Involving dead bodies, fake romances, eye lashes and a lot of wishful thinking, what Montagu and Cholmondeley set out to do is quite extraordinary in many different ways and while the film about their undertakings isn’t, there’s no denying that this real life story is worth your time to explore.
Final Say – While the film itself isn’t overly inspiring and its cast have all been seen better elsewhere, Operation Mincemeat gets by thanks to its great true story and a larger than life undertaking that remains hugely impressive to this day.3 bloated corpses out of 5 Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys) 4 out of 5 found this helpful.
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Where is Glyndwr Michael buried?
|Born||4 January 1909 Aberbargoed, Monmouthshire, Wales|
|Died||28 January 1943 (aged 34) St Pancras Hospital, London, England|
|Resting place||Soledad cemetery, Huelva, Spain|
Who is Teddy Operation Mincemeat?
Significance of the Anti-Hitler Hoax – Breaking into the apartment of Jean Leslie ( Harry Potter ‘s Kelly Macdonald ) in Operation Mincemeat is a former club employee named Teddy (Jonjo O’Neill), who is part of a secret coalition of Germans seeking to overthrow Hitler. The purpose of Teddy’s visit is to reveal to Jean that the anti-Hitler Germans know about Operation Mincemeat.
He then proceeds to coerce more information out of her. Teddy claims that his threatening actions are due to the ” anti-Hitler hoax ” label given by British superiors to the supposed existence of Germans who are working against their leader. One of the key German officials who needed to believe in Operation Mincemeat’s ruse was Alexis von Roenne, Hitler’s senior intelligence analyst.
If the Germans who claimed to be against Hitler were lying, then they could expose Operation Mincemeat’s ruse to higher-up Nazi officials, including von Roenne, who still served as a threat to Allied forces despite suspicions that he was in fact fighting against Hitler,
Anti-Hitler Germans were never actually aware of Operation Mincemeat. However, the movie Operation Mincemeat has its reasons to include this element anyway. For one, it outlines the risk that the Germans could reciprocate a lie to Britain if they were to learn about Operation Mincemeat, assuming that Britain was right about an anti-Hitler hoax.
Secondly, it shows another layer of Operation Mincemeat’s strength. Teddy wouldn’t reveal that he knew about the deception if he had been working for the Nazis, as this would build on the plausibility of anti-Hitler Germans like von Roenne existing. If the suspicions about von Roenne were true, then he would have actually helped carry out Operation Mincemeat — he was superior enough of an official that German troops would unquestionably do as he says.
Was the brother a spy in Operation Mincemeat?
In July 1939, Ian Fleming was appointed assistant to Admiral John Godfrey, Britain’s director of naval intelligence (and a possible inspiration for James Bond’s MI6 boss, M). Godfrey loved fly-fishing, Fleming loved fiction, and shortly after the start of World War II, they drew from those hobbies to produce the Trout Memo—a top-secret laundry list of deception tactics that likened the art of subterfuge to the process of luring a trout to the line.
The 28th of some 50 suggestions on the memo, labeled “not a very nice one,” was lifted from a 1937 detective novel by former intelligence officer Basil Thomson. In The Milliner’s Hat Mystery, a dead man is found with forged documents that obscure his true identity. As the Trout Memo explained, “a corpse dressed as an airman, with dispatches in his pockets, could be dropped on the coast” of Europe, where the faulty intel would hopefully land in German hands.
What began as the memo’s most far-fetched idea would in time become an operation that fooled the biggest fish of all— Adolf Hitler himself—and bolstered the pivotal Allied invasion of Sicily in July 1943. Historian Ben Macintyre chronicled the whole story in his 2010 book Operation Mincemeat, which is the basis for Netflix’s new film of the same name. Roosevelt and Churchill in Morocco during the Casablanca Conference. / U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain By early 1943, Britain was wrapping up its North African campaigns and setting its sights on the Mediterranean, aiming to neutralize Italy.
- At the Casablanca Conference in January, Winston Churchill and Franklin D.
- Roosevelt agreed that the best entry point would be Sicily.
- Unfortunately, this was so obvious that Germany and Italy would very likely flood the island with troops and be there to greet Allied forces with open arms.
- Rather than charting a less ideal course, the Allies instead decided to try duping Germany into thinking they were actually plotting to invade Greece and Sardinia.
A deception of this magnitude more or less involved throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what would stick. Under the codename ” Operation Barclay,” British intelligence units hired Greek interpreters, stocked up on Greek money, developed the completely fake Twelfth Army to “station” near Greece, and more—all while keeping German spies abreast of the activity.
Operation Mincemeat loosely fell under Barclay’s umbrella, too, though it wasn’t specific to the Sicilian invasion when Charles Cholmondeley (played by Succession star Matthew Macfadyen) first suggested it back in October 1942. Cholmondeley was a tall, ungainly 25-year-old with a spectacular mustache and a brother who perished at Dunkirk,
Originally a Royal Air Force lieutenant whose poor vision kept him from piloting, by this time in the war Cholmondeley was an MI5 agent and secretary of the Twenty Committee—a cross-section of military and intelligence representatives responsible for monitoring double agents. Committee leader John Masterman—another novel-writing operative—authorized Cholmondeley to continue with the curious enterprise and appointed Montagu as his co-leader. Montagu was a 42-year-old career barrister who sat on the committee as a representative from the Naval Intelligence Division, where he’d spent the war serving under Godfrey. Bentley Purchase (Paul Ritter) presents the body of Glyndwr Michael (Lorne MacFadyen) to Cholmondeley and Montagu. / Giles Keyte/Netflix As their fallen airman would surely be autopsied upon discovery, Montagu consulted with famed forensic pathologist Bernard Spilsbury on what causes of death beyond drowning were believable.
Spilsbury reassured him that plane crashes can kill people any number of ways—even just by shock. Montagu then called upon an old chum with access to all manner of bodies: St. Pancras Hospital coroner Bentley Purchase. Purchase started keeping an eye out for a suitable corpse, and when 34-year-old Glyndwr Michael passed away at St.
Pancras on January 28, he notified Montagu almost immediately. Michael, originally from Wales, had been discovered on the brink of death in an empty warehouse two days prior. He’d consumed rat poison, either purposely or because it happened to be on food scraps he’d eaten.
Spilsbury and Purchase agreed that the poison would almost certainly go undetected during an autopsy performed after the body had spent a lengthy stint in water. Furthermore, Michael, who had a history of being hospitalized due to mental illness, seemed to lack permanent housing or any family or friends that might come looking for him.
(He did, in fact, have a handful of siblings, but the Mincemeat masterminds failed to track them down at the time. Unlike in the film, there’s no evidence that a sister showed up to claim his body mid-mission.) Purchase made another vital contribution to the operation: a timeline.
Fully freezing the corpse would raise red flags during an autopsy, so Montagu and Cholmondeley only had about three months to implement the plan before decay progressed too far. But first, they’d have to replace Trojan Horse with something from the list of military-approved operation titles. Montagu found Mincemeat too apropos to pass up.
“My sense of humor having by this time become somewhat macabre, the word seemed to be one of good omen,” he wrote in his 1953 book The Man Who Never Was, On February 4, the partners submitted an official proposal to the Twenty Committee. Operation Mincemeat, it explained, could be used to convince Germany that Sicily was merely a cover for an actual attack planned for Greece—rather than the other way around. William Martin’s ID card with Ronnie Reed’s picture. / Ewen Montagu Team, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain A William Martin of the Royal Marines already existed, and not by coincidence. Montagu and Cholmondeley had chosen the name in case German officers bothered to check it against a Royal Marines roster.
- The real Martin was well off the radar, training U.S.
- Pilots in Rhode Island.
- But convincing Germany that Major Martin wasn’t a ruse would take more than a strategic moniker.
- For one thing, they needed a picture of Martin for his ID—and the pallor of Michael’s corpse looked a little too waxen in photographs, to put it kindly.
After weeks of ogling every passerby for a resemblance to Michael, Montagu happened to end up in a meeting with Ronnie Reed, a BBC radio engineer moonlighting for MI5. With a few small tweaks, Reed could have passed for Michael in real life, and he consented to be photographed for the ID card.
To make sure Martin’s uniform didn’t seem too new, Cholmondeley, whose stature and build were similar to Michael’s, took to wearing it around. Joan Saunders, who worked for Montagu in the NID, recommended dreaming up a sweetheart for the ill-fated Marine. So Montagu put out a call to the young ladies of the office to fork over photos of themselves that might make for a suitable “Pam.” He personally extended an invitation to Jean Leslie, a comely 20-year-old in the MI5 secretarial unit.
While Leslie’s silver-screen counterpart, portrayed by Kelly Macdonald, is a widow, she herself was not; the photo she submitted was snapped on a date just weeks earlier. Not only did Montagu choose her photograph for the mission, but the two leaned so far into their roles as Bill and Pam that the bond did turn into a true (if possibly chaste) courtship. Montagu wrote her many letters from “Bill,” and they socialized often outside the office.
Montagu didn’t hide this in letters to his wife, Iris, who was sheltering in the U.S. with their two children. (Both husband and wife had Jewish backgrounds, so escaping across the pond seemed most prudent.) “I took a girl from the office to Hungaria and had dinner and danced. She is an attractive child,” he said in one letter, the first of many in which Leslie is mentioned (though not explicitly by name).
Montagu’s fondness for Leslie doesn’t appear to have blossomed from a dearth of spousal love. He filled his letters to Iris with earnest, sentimental declarations such as “I miss you most frightfully” and “How ultra-happy our life was before this bloody business started Bugger Hitler.” It also doesn’t seem to have caused any tension between him and Cholmondeley, who rather ineffectively competes for Leslie’s affections in the movie. The Mincemeat team spent much of their time inventing a rich backstory for Martin that would inform what “wallet litter” they’d fill his pockets with. They decided he’d be a good-time guy and a bit of a spendthrift from a relatively well-off Roman Catholic family in Wales.
He liked to fish, frequented the theater, and had a niece named Priscilla. On his person they planted a St. Christopher’s medal and a cross necklace, a stamp booklet, an invitation to the Cabaret Club, a pack of cigarettes, and a letter from his stiff-upper-lipped father, among other effects. There were also emblems of his relationship with Pam: a love letter ( written by Leslie’s boss, Hester Leggett), the photograph, and a bill for an engagement ring.
And then came the pièce de résistance: a missive from General Archibald Nye to General Harold Alexander, who was working under General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s command in Tunisia. It would be a personal letter—as opposed to an official dispatch—that casually mentioned the Sicily decoy plot and planned invasion of Greece.
- In the film, an exasperated Montagu produces many drafts that are endlessly nitpicked by Godfrey, portrayed as Mincemeat’s main overseer.
- In reality, Commodore Edmund Rushbrooke replaced Godfrey as NID’s director mid-operation; and it was actually Colonel Johnnie Bevan, head of the London Controlling Section, an ultra-secret deception agency, who gave Montagu grief over his syntax.
The end result, however, was the same: Montagu eventually just asked Nye to write the letter himself, which he did. Cholmondeley (left) and Montagu photographed with the truck that would transport Major Martin to the submarine. / The Times, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain On the advice of Britain’s Madrid-based naval attaché Salvador Augustus Gómez-Beare, Montagu and Cholmondeley decided to deposit Martin off the coast of Huelva, a fishing city in southwestern Spain with a heavy German influence.
- Cholmondeley scrapped the plan to drop the body from a plane in favor of a submarine launch, which would guarantee that it remained intact.
- To safeguard the corpse during the journey from Britain, he commissioned engineer Charles Fraser-Smith—widely believed to be the inspiration for Q in Fleming’s Bond novels—to design an airtight steel coffin filled with dry ice.
“All the details are now ‘buttoned up,'” Montagu wrote in a March 26 letter to Bevan, who soon got the final go-ahead from both Churchill and Eisenhower. Montagu and Cholmondeley then accompanied Major William Martin to Scotland, where, on April 19, he shipped out on the HMS Seraph, The body of Glyndwr Michael just before being sealed in the transport coffin. / The National Archives, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain The crew of the Seraph released Martin into the ocean before sunrise on April 30. Later that very morning, Spanish fishermen hauled him in and turned him over to the authorities.
- Luckily, the local coroner, possibly influenced by the worsening of Martin’s stench as the day grew hotter, concluded that he’d died by drowning without too lengthy an examination.
- Making sure the area’s German spies intercepted Nye’s letter—along with a couple other fake dispatches in Martin’s briefcase—wasn’t quite so simple.
Martin’s belongings had been given to the Spanish Navy, which was much more committed to due diligence than certain German-leaning local officials. To encourage Nazis to actually seek out the letters, Montagu and Cholmondeley initiated a back-and-forth with Captain Alan Hillgarth, a British naval attaché in Madrid (and one of many possible inspirations for James Bond ), explaining that Martin’s briefcase harbored highly sensitive intel that should be returned immediately.
- They suspected that Nazis would be monitoring the cables, and they were right.
- The Abwehr, Germany’s intelligence organization, grew increasingly desperate to obtain the briefcase.
- But it still took nearly 10 days for it to end up in the lap of a Spanish official in Madrid who let the Germans photocopy its contents.
From there, things escalated quickly. Alexis von Roenne, the head of Nazi intelligence agency Fremde Heere West (Foreign Armies West), penned a report contending that “The circumstances of the discovery, together with the form and contents of the dispatches, are absolutely convincing proof of the reliability of the letters.” Historians sometimes cite von Roenne’s failure to exercise more skepticism here as a sign that he may have secretly been working against the Nazis; he was, after all, later executed for knowing about the July 1944 conspiracy to assassinate Hitler (which von Roenne approved of). A letter in Martin’s case from Louis Mountbatten (Prince Philip’s uncle). / David Stubblebine, World War II Database // Public Domain Throughout May, British intelligence received several indications that Hitler and all his highest-ranking cronies believed the Allies would target Greece and Sardinia and were mounting a resistance.
- Montagu and Cholmondeley, meanwhile, received Martin’s briefcase back from the Spanish Navy.
- While the letters’ seals hadn’t been broken, analysts confirmed that the envelope flaps had been opened just enough to insert a thin rod, wrap the letter around it, and extract it through the opening.
- An eyelash placed in one of the folded letters was also missing.
At that point, Operation Mincemeat had pretty much accomplished what it had intended. Only time would tell if the invasion of Sicily—codenamed Operation Husky—would, too. Allied forces flood Sicilian shores at the start of Operation Husky. / Hulton Archive/GettyImages Before daybreak on July 10, British, American, and Canadian troops began landing in droves on Sicily’s southern coast. Germany had just two units stationed on the island at the time.
Even with the reinforcements that eventually arrived—not to mention Italy’s own forces—the Axis powers proved no match for the Allies’ some 150,000 soldiers, 3000 ships, and 4000 aircraft. By mid-August, the Allies had overtaken the entire island, while the Germans and Italians had retreated to mainland Italy.
Operation Husky spelled the end for Italy’s Axis status. Just two weeks into the invasion, Benito Mussolini’s regime came tumbling down, and the new government started discussing peace terms with the Allies. On September 8, Italy formally surrendered (though the subsequent German invasion prevented the country from experiencing actual peace).
- It’s impossible to know how these events would have unfolded if not for Operation Mincemeat.
- For one thing, it wasn’t the only deception tactic used to direct the Nazi gaze away from Italy.
- And Hitler’s fear of losing the Balkans—which provided crucial wartime resources to Germany—meant he was already actively worried about the Allies invading that region by way of Greece.
At the very least, however, Operation Mincemeat helped edge Hitler into committing to a course of action he’d already favored, and it’s often mentioned as a key factor in the success of Operation Husky. Operation Mincemeat is streaming on Netflix now.
How accurate is the film Mincemeat?
Operation Mincemeat —a historical drama chronicling an audacious World War II plot by the British intelligence services to dupe the Nazis—drops on Netflix May 11. Starring Colin Firth and Succession ‘s Matthew Macfadyen, the movie dramatizes a mission that played a crucial role in turning the tide in the Allied forces’ favor in the war’s later years.
Was Operation Mincemeat a failure?
Skip to Main Content of WWII – The British intelligence services’ bizarre deception plan created by a spy novelist, a lawyer, and an RAF officer proved successful beyond expectations, deceiving the Germans about Allied plans for the invasion of Sicily. June 20, 2022 Top image:”Major Martin’s” personal items. Operation Mincemeat has been the source of many books and two movies and was an incredibly daring scheme. Even the authors of the plan had recurring doubts about the possibility of success and the wisdom of even attempting it.
In order to deceive the Germans about the Allied plans to land in Sicily in July 1943, a team of British intelligence officers created a plan to take a corpse and dress it as an officer carrying papers indicating that the Allies were going to land in Greece and Sardinia. The corpse would then appear to have been killed in a plane crash into the sea and float ashore on the southern coast of Spain, which was technically neutral but many in Francisco Franco’s Spanish government were favoring Germany.
The plan counted on Spain breaking its neutrality and giving Germany copies of the documents thereby causing the Germans to shift troops from Sicily to Greece. Operation Mincemeat’s roots can be traced to a memorandum produced by the Royal Navy’s Naval Intelligence Department.
(NID). At the beginning of the war, Rear Admiral John Godfrey was the chief of NID and he issued what became known as the Trout Memo. The actual author of the Trout Memo is most probably Godfrey’s assistant, Ian Fleming, who after the war became famous as a spy novelist and the creator of James Bond,
The Memo likens deceiving the enemy to fly fishing, which led to its title. Vice Admiral John Henry Godfrey, CBE. IWM A 20777 Fleming produced a list of various schemes to deceive the Germans and number 28 on the list was the idea of letting the Germans discover a corpse with a set of false plans on it. It was noted as “A suggestion.
(not a very nice one.)” Fleming freely admitted that he borrowed the idea from a 1937 novel by Basil Thompson. Thompson had been the head of Scotland Yard’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID) during World War I, and was widely seen as Britain’s chief “spycatcher” during that war. And of course, he was a novelist.
The idea was next picked up by Charles Cholmondeley, a very tall and myopic RAF officer who had been assigned to MI-5, Britain’s counterespionage service. Cholmondeley was assigned as secretary to the XX Committee. The XX Committee, established in January 1941, was composed of representatives of the military service intelligence agencies, including NID, MI-5 and the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) which is more popularly known as MI- 6,
The XX Committee sorted and assessed intelligence produced by the growing army of double agents being run primarily by MI-5. (The name of the Committee was an inside joke as it could be the Twenty Committee in Roman numerals but it was also the “Double Cross” Committee.) The chairman of the Committee was Sir John Masterman, an Oxford don and historian.
And naturally, Masterman was a detective novelist as well. Cholmondeley proposed a variation of Fleming’s plan to the XX Committee involving a corpse that appears to have drowned in an aircraft crash into the sea. (This idea was also inspired by an actual air crash a month before in September 1942.) The Committee rejected the idea but Masterman was intrigued by it and appointed Ewen Montagu, the NID representative, to work with Cholmondeley to further develop the plan.
In 2010, bestselling author Ben Macintyre published an excellent history of the plan title Operation Mincemeat, and he observed that the operation “began as fiction, a plot twist in a long forgotten novel, picked up by another novelist, and approved by a committee presided over by yet another novelist.” Montagu, from an aristocratic background, had been a rising star in the British legal system and had tried several notable cases as a barrister.
The partnership of Cholmondeley and Montagu turned out to an excellent match as both men were highly intelligent and also remarkably creative. Montagu, in his own memoir, The Man Who Never Was, published in 1953, explained the origin of the name. Operational names were selected from lists maintained by the services: I therefore went to see what names had been allocated for Admiralty use, and found that the word “Mincemeat” had just been restored after employment in a successful operation sometime before.
- My sense of humor having by this time become somewhat macabre, the word seemed to be one of good omen – and Operation Mincemeat it became.
- The Man Who Never Was (p.32) The Man Who Never Was is an excellent read and details the numerous exercises in creating a fictional officer to be washed ashore in Spain.
For example, the officer, who eventually becomes “Major William Martin” had to have a naval connection but naval officers in those days still wore dress uniforms when travelling, which were made to measure. As Montagu notes “We formed a horrid picture of Gieves’ cutter being brought down to measure and fit our corpse for its uniform, and discarded that suggestion!” p.59. Lt. Commander Ewen Montagu, RNVR The Mincemeat team grew as specialized knowledge in various areas was needed. Montagu sought out the leading pathologist of the day, Sir Bernard Spilsbury, to assist in finding a corpse of the right age, and recently deceased. “Pocket Litter” Major Martin’s ID card There were two documents that were at the heart of the deception. One was a letter that Montagu dubbed “the Vital Document.” This letter from General Sir Archibald Nye, Vice Chief of the Imperial Defense Committee, to General Harold Alexander, the highest ranking British general in North Africa, addresses increasing forces for the upcoming (false) attack on Greece and Crete, and the use of an invasion of Sicily (the true attack) as a diversion to fool the Germans into not reinforcing Greece.
- Montagu observed in his memoir that any intelligence the Germans received about the impending invasion of Sicily could be dismissed as Allied deception plans.
- The second letter was from Louis Mountbatten in Combined Operations to Admiral Cunningham, commander in chief of the Mediterranean Fleet, introducing Major Martin as an expert in amphibious landings.
The letter acknowledges the recent disastrous landings at Dieppe and makes a joke about sardines. Montagu believed that the Germans would accept this letter as authentic due to frank recognition of Dieppe as unsuccessful and the bad joke about sardines indicated Sardinia would be invaded next.
- Much of the Italian high command did in fact believe Sardinia would the next landing site as Sicily was too obvious.
- All the elements of the plan came together in April, 1943.
- On April 17,1943, Montagu and Cholmondeley dressed the corpse and put it in a special steel container that was packed with dry ice.
They then put the canister into a van that was driven by St John “Jock” Horsfall, who had been a successful race car driver in pre-war Britain. The three men then travelled at high speed to a naval base in Greenock, Scotland where the body and canister were put aboard HMS Seraph, a submarine. Charles Cholmondeley and Ewen Montagu on 17 April 1943, transporting the body to Scotland The body washed ashore in Huelva, Spain and was discovered by fisherman the morning of April 30, 1943. Huelva was chosen as the place for “Martin” to be discovered for several reasons.
The local currents were strong enough to push the body close to shore. Huelva had a German consulate in the town staffed with a competent Vice Consul and also an Abwehr officer operating under diplomatic cover. The local Spanish military officers were pro German and would most likely turn copies of any important papers over to the Germans.
Additionally the Mincemeat team were hoping that the local coroner would not be as sophisticated as doctors in larger cities. Finally, the local British Consul was deemed reliable and capable. The corpse of Glyndwr Michael, dressed as Martin, just prior to placement in the canister An autopsy was conducted on May 1, 1943, with Francis Haselden, the British Consul, present. To prevent a thorough examination, Haselden urged the doctor conducting the autopsy to bring the proceedings to a quick close due to the heat of the day and the corpse’s smell.
The next day a funeral with full military honors was held. The Spanish Navy retained the briefcase that had been shackled to Major Martin’s wrist and for the next 9 days there were frantic communications between Germany and Spain with Germany asking for copies of the contents of the briefcase. Another stream of messages was between London and Haselden, with London urging Haselden to retrieve the case before the “highly secret” contents might be disclosed to the Germans.
The messages to Haselden were in code but a code the British knew the Germans had broken earlier in the war. Finally, on May 11, the briefcase was returned to Haselden and was then shipped to London by diplomatic bag. Once back in London the letters were examined and small clues showed that the letters had been taken out, using small steel rods on which the letters were rolled without breaking the envelopes.
- Montagu wrote in his memoir that from May until July 1943, he and the Mincemeat team had nothing to rely on for the success of the operation, other than German thoroughness.
- This was not entirely true as codebreakers at Bletchly Park were reading German communications about shifting troops from Italy to Greece.
As early as May 14, 1943, in a meeting with Admiral Karl Doenitz, Adolf Hitler declared that Sicily was not the next landing and that Greece and Sardinia must be reinforced. Hitler ordered the 1 st Panzer Division moved from France to Greece along with 7 infantry divisions from Italy, and an additional 10 infantry divisions from Italy to the Balkans.
Sardinia was also heavily reinforced with aircraft and naval elements as well. Even when the invasion of Sicily began on July 9, 1943, Hitler apparently still believed a major attack would fall on Greece. Sir Michael Howard, in his book Strategic Deception in the Second World War, volume 5 of the official history of British Intelligence in the Second World War, called Operation Mincemeat “the best known, and perhaps the most successful single deception operation of the entire war.” (p.89).
Montagu’s book was a best seller and was made into a film, The Man Who Never Was, in 1956. More recently, Macintyre’s 2010 book became the basis for the 2022 film Operation Mincemeat, Many aspects of Mincemeat were kept classified and omitted from Montagu’s book and the subsequent 1956 movie. Contributor
Who is Pam in the man who never was
Plot – In 1943, Royal Navy Ewen Montagu () devises a scheme to deceive the Nazis about the of, It entails releasing a corpse with a fictional identity off the coast of, where strong currents will carry it ashore near where a known German agent operates.
The non-existent courier, Major William Martin, would appear to be a plane crash victim carrying documents about an upcoming Allied invasion of, rather than, the more obvious target. Overcoming the reluctance of high officers, Montagu receives ‘s approval to execute his plan, known as, Following a medical expert’s advice, Montagu obtains the permission of the deceased’s father and procures the body of a man who died of, which would give the appearance he had drowned.
The corpse is placed in a canister packed with dry ice and transferred to a waiting submarine. The body is released off the Atlantic coast of Spain and washes ashore as intended. Local authorities, observed by German and British consulate staff, identify the body and conduct an autopsy.
After the attaché case containing the deceptive documents is returned to London, a forensics expert confirms that the key letter, which describes an Allied invasion of Greece, was cleverly opened, photographed, and resealed. is convinced the documents are genuine, though Admiral, head of the, is sceptical.
The Germans dispatch to London an Irish spy, Patrick O’Reilly (), to investigate. O’Reilly investigates Martin’s American “fiancée”, Lucy Sherwood (), who is the flatmate of Montagu’s assistant, Pam (). O’Reilly arrives at their flat, posing as Martin’s old friend, on the same day Lucy has received news that her real boyfriend was killed in action.
Her genuine grief mostly convinces O’Reilly. As a final test, he gives Lucy his north London address, telling her to contact him if she needs anything. He then radios his German contacts that if he does not send another message in an hour he has been arrested. As Montagu, General Coburn () of ‘s and police officers are en route to O’Reilly’s flat, Montagu realizes why O’Reilly left his address with Lucy and persuades a reluctant Coburn to let O’Reilly go.
When no one arrests him, O’Reilly sends a “Martin genuine!” radio message. The Germans then transfer most of their Sicily-based forces to Greece, which helps the Allied invasion of Sicily succeed. After the war Montagu receives several decorations and awards for his wartime service, including the (OBE).
What was the double bluff in Operation Mincemeat?
Operations Husky – Nye also referenced Operation Husky, which he described as an invasion of Greece, naming target beaches and troop numbers. In reality, Husky was the codename for the planned attack on Sicily, Italy. The letter went further by including reference to Operation Brimstone.
Is it really based on a true story?
Not exactly, but Mr. King took ideas from some events based on real life and some fairy tales. The idea behind the sewer was that he’d heard from someone that ‘the sewers in Bangor, Maine are so big that you can put a canoe into it and come out by the mount hope cemetery at the end of town. ‘
What happened to Jean after Operation Mincemeat?
What actually happened to Ewen and Jean? – Title cards at the end of Operation Mincemeat tell us that the real Ewen reunited with his wife Iris at the end of the war, and that Jean, a widow, did later remarry, to a man who had fought in WW2.
Was Montague a Russian spy
Founder of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and its first president, from 1926-1967. Inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1984. According to the book “Operation Mincemeat” by Ben Macintyre, Montagu was a spy for the Soviet GRU during World War II, as confirmed by decoded Russian messages through April 1942. His code name was “Intelligentsia” and he was head of a spy ring code-named the X group.
Was Jean threatened in Operation Mincemeat
Plot – In 1943, the United Kingdom is entrenched in World War II, Lieutenant Commander Ewen Montagu, a Jewish barrister, remains in England while his wife Iris and their children travel to safety in the United States, Montagu takes a break from practising law when he is appointed to the Twenty Committee,
- His secretary, Hester Leggett, comes with him.
- Prime Minister Winston Churchill has promised the US that the Allies will invade Sicily by July of that year in order to push further north.
- However, Sicily is considered an obvious target and may be defended by the Wehrmacht,
- Admiral Godfrey thinks that Britain must trick Nazi Germany into believing the Allies will invade Greece,
Charles Cholmondeley proposes an operation from the Trout Memo, which would entail a corpse carrying false secrets washing ashore. Despite Godfrey’s doubts, he gives Montagu and Cholmondeley permission to plan the operation with Lieutenant Commander Ian Fleming,
- Montagu and Cholmondeley obtain the body of a vagrant named Glyndwr Michael, who died by possible suicidal poisoning,
- He is given the false identity of Major William Martin, Royal Marines, with a detailed backstory and ID photos.
- A widowed secretary in the office, Jean Leslie, offers a photo of herself to serve as Martin’s fake fiancée, “Pam”.
The team fabricate items for Martin to carry in his pockets, including theatre tickets, personal bills and a love letter from “Pam” written by Hester. Cholmondeley has a crush on Jean, but soon realises that Montagu and Jean share romantic feelings. This causes Cholmondeley to grow jealous and occasionally lash out at Montagu.
- Complications ensue when Michael’s sister arrives to claim his body, but she is turned away by Montagu and Cholmondeley.
- Godfrey suspects Montagu’s brother, Ivor, is a spy for the USSR,
- He bribes Cholmondeley to spy on Montagu and, in return, Godfrey will locate and return the remains of Cholmondeley’s brother, who was killed in action in Chittagong, Bengal,
Cholmondeley reluctantly agrees. Specialist MI5 driver St John “Jock” Horsfall transports Montagu, Cholmondeley and the corpse to the submarine base at Holy Loch, The corpse is then loaded onto the submarine HMS Seraph, On 30 April, the Seraph arrives in the Gulf of Cádiz and drops the corpse into the ocean.
- It is found by fishermen in Huelva, Spain,
- Operation Mincemeat staff attempt to get the fake documents to Madrid,
- However, the mission is hampered by bad luck, as the Spanish have resisted Nazi influence more than expected.
- Captain David Ainsworth, the British naval attaché in Madrid, meets with Colonel Cerruti of the Spanish secret police in one last attempt to get the papers to the Germans.
When Martin’s personal items are returned to London, a specialist works out that the documents have been tampered with. This gives Operation Mincemeat staff hope that Germany retrieved the false information. Jean is threatened by Teddy, a waiter at a club the team has frequented, claiming to be a spy for an anti-Hitler plot within Germany.
She tells him that Major Martin was travelling under an alias but the classified information was genuine. After Teddy leaves, Jean informs Montagu and Cholmondeley. They come to believe that Colonel Alexis von Roenne, who controls intelligence in the German Army High Command, sent Teddy to verify information so Von Roenne could undermine Hitler.
However, they have no way of being sure. Montagu takes Jean to his home for protection, but she accepts a job in Special Operations and soon leaves London. On 10 July, the Allied invasion of Sicily begins. News arrives that the Allies suffered limited casualties, the enemy is retreating, and the beaches have been held.
Afterwards, Cholmondeley admits he received his brother’s remains in return for spying on Montagu. Feeling sympathetic and relieved that Operation Mincemeat was a success, Montagu offers to buy Cholmondeley a drink even though it is eight in the morning. The epilogue says that Montagu reunited with Iris after the war, Jean married a soldier, Hester continued as Director of the Admiralty Secretarial Unit, and Cholmondeley remained with MI5 until 1952, later married, and travelled widely.
Major William Martin’s identity was revealed to be Glyndwr Michael in 1997 when an epitaph, with his real name, was added to Martin’s headstone in Spain.
Why was it called Operation Mincemeat?
‘Operation Mincemeat’ explained: The stolen body and fake intelligence that helped win WWII London — The Allied victory in World War II hinged on many complex factors, but one of the most unlikely turning points involved the dead body of a Welsh homeless man.
In 1943, British intelligence acquired the corpse of Glyndwr Michael from a morgue and dressed him up as a fictitious officer named William Martin, planting fake documents in his clothes to suggest that the Allies planned to invade Greece and Sardinia instead of Sicily. The idea, a notable example of tactical deception, was to trick Hitler into moving his forces so the Allies could regain control of Europe.
It was dubbed Operation Mincemeat — a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgment that they were using a dead body — and this largely unknown spy operation is now the subject of a Netflix film of the same name. The film, directed by John Madden and written by Michelle Ashford, is based on Ben Macintyre’s expansive 2010 book “Operation Mincemeat: The True Spy Story That Changed the Course of World War II.” “The story of Operation Mincemeat is true,” explains Macintyre, who was involved in the process of making the film.
- Very rarely does spying make much of a difference, but Operation Mincemeat made an enormous difference.
- And without it — you can’t calculate it — but many, many more lives would have been lost on Sicily’s beaches, including many American lives.” The inspiration for the operation dates back to 1939, when British intelligence put together the Trout Memo, a list of 54 possible ideas for how they could fool the enemy.
The person responsible for the Trout Memo was none other than James Bond novelist Ian Fleming, then a lieutenant commander. Macintyre says Fleming’s involvement in the operation was “one of the most extraordinary discoveries of this story.” “Ian Fleming was at that point assistant to the director of Naval Intelligence, Adm.
Sir John Godfrey, who would become the model for M in the ‘James Bond’ stories,” Macintyre explains. “One of the things that Fleming did was to draw up, with Godfrey, a memo called the Trout Memo, now quite famous in intelligence studies. “One of these ideas, No.28, was the kernel of this idea, which was to get a dead body and to make it look as if it was an airman who had drowned at sea and equip it with false papers and ship it somewhere.
He got the idea from a novel by a man no one ever reads these days called Basil Thomson, who was a pretty dreadful prewar novelist. I love the idea that it comes from a novel and it’s picked up by another novelist.” It was that meta aspect of the story that most attracted Madden.
- They took a fictional idea and tried their very best to make it into an idea that appeared to be absolutely real,” the director adds.
- Which then was in danger of being exposed as a fiction and so on.
- The layers of that.
- Something immensely attractive about it was this whole thing about writing, about the creation of fiction, and how closely that is allied with espionage.” Ashford’s screenplay, which was in the works for several years before the film was made, introduces Fleming, played by Johnny Flynn, as the story’s narrator.
In a coincidental parallel, Ashford modeled the structure of the screenplay off Madden’s 1998 film “Shakespeare in Love,” taking inspiration from how both stories are about the creation of a fiction that ultimately turns the creators’ lives upside down. Kelly Macdonald and Matthew Macfadyen in the movie “Operation Mincemeat.” Operation Mincemeat was led by Ewen Montagu (Colin Firth) with the help of Charles Cholmondeley (Matthew Macfadyen). The pair borrowed a photograph — now in England’s National Archives — from MI5 secretary Jean Leslie (Kelly Macdonald) to plant on their fake captain.
In the film, Montagu, who was married, becomes involved in an affair with Leslie, which prompts jealousy in Cholmondeley. In reality, it’s uncertain if that affair really happened or whether Cholmondeley had feelings for Leslie. According to Ashford, it is true that Montagu and Leslie wrote each other a series of letters as fictitious characters and they did sometimes go out.
It didn’t feel like a stretch to introduce a love triangle. “It was a two-hander that I turned into a three-hander,” Ashford explains. “When I ran this up the flagpole, everyone said, ‘That makes sense. That doesn’t feel like a violation of the story.’ Because here’s the thing: We don’t know it didn’t happen.
- We don’t know that Cholmondeley didn’t have a crush on Jean.” Macintyre says the affair between Leslie and Montagu has a “decent chance of being true.” The author interviewed Leslie before her death in 2012, but the former secretary refused to acknowledge what had transpired after hours at work.
- She just said, ‘I’m not talking about that anymore.
That was a long time ago,'” Macintyre recalls. “In a way that said to me, I think they probably did have an affair, but she doesn’t want to say it. So that element of has been given a life that we’ll never really know how true it was to life. But that seems, to me, to be perfectly reasonable inside the story like this.” Ashford dramatized a few other small elements of “Operation Mincemeat,” including a scene where Glyndwr Michael’s sister is told about his death.
The sister character is an invention to help convey that Michael wasn’t simply a prop in a spy mission; he was a real man. ” to really try and find in the movie the messiness of war,” Ashford notes. “The fact that they need to do this, but there’s consequences if you just steal a person and stuff them in a life jacket and throw them in the water.
I loved that part of the story because I found it complicated and poignant and curious. The sister showing up was a fictionalized element of the story. But he had some family, somewhere. So to make that person appear representative of the fact that that guy came from somewhere.”
Where is the grave of the man who never was?
The man who was known as ‘Major Martin’ is still buried in the cemetery of Huelva. In 1996, an amateur historian named Roger Morgan found evidence of Martin being a Welsh alcoholic vagabond named Glyndwr Michael who died after eating rat poison.
Who is Bill in Operation Mincemeat?
Operation Mincemeat: HMS Seraph’s Lieutenant “Bill” Jewell The secret operations of the submarine HMS Seraph in the Second World War are legendary. But who is the man who commanded HMS Seraph?
- Norman “Bill” Jewel in his uniform – Credit: The National Museum of the Royal Navy
- Norman Limbury Auchinleck Jewell, or “Bill” to those who knew him, was born in 1913 in the Seychelles where his father was a colonial doctor.
- Jewell’s family moved to Kenya after the outbreak of the First World War, and he was sent to a prep school in England.
- Jewell joined the Royal Navy from Oundle School in Northamptonshire, and was immediately drawn to the Submarine Service.
- Joining HMS Dolphin to complete the submarine course in 1936, Jewell quickly rose through the ranks, serving on HMS Clyde as sub-lieutenant in 1937, HMS Osiris as lieutenant in 1939, HMS Otway as first lieutenant in 1939, and then HMS Truant in 1940.
Who did Jean from Operation Mincemeat marry
Colonel William Henry Gerard Leigh CVO, CBE (5 August 1915 – 2008) more commonly known as G, was a British veteran of the Life Guards during World War II, He rose to become a major figure in polo world. He served as the chairman of the Guards Polo Club from 1955 to 1981.
Gerard Leigh achieved some fame in 1971 when he stopped a stray polo ball from possibly hitting Queen Elizabeth II at a polo match, Gerard Leigh married Jean Gerard Leigh at St George’s Chapel at Hanover Square, London in November 1946. Jean Gerard Leigh had posed as the fictional fiancée of a fake Royal Marines officer named “Major Willie Martin” as part of Operation Mincemeat during World War II.
The couple had two daughters and two sons. Colonel Gerard Leigh was appointed a MVO of the Royal Victorian Order in 1962, Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1981, and Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) of the Royal Victorian Order in 1983.
What actors from Downton Abbey are in Operation Mincemeat?
Matthew Macfadyen (Succession), Penelope Wilton (Downton Abbey), Johnny Flynn (Beast) and Tom Wilkinson (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) are joining Colin Firth and Kelly Macdonald in John Madden’s WWII drama Operation Mincemeat, which reunites Firth with The King’s Speech producer See-Saw Films.
Who is the actress that played Jean in Operation Mincemeat?
Kelly Macdonald : Jean Leslie Jump to: Photos (8)