The Man Who Never Was

July 9 marks the 67th anniversary of the successful invasion of Sicily by Allied forces during World War Two. What really helped to make this invasion so successful was a plot to deceive the Germans into thinking that Sicily would not be the next invasion site for the Allied forces. British military intelligence hatched an elaborate plan of deception called Operation Mincemeat to convince the Germans that Greece and Sardinia were the prime invasion sites for the Allied forces. The plan was the brainchild of Lieutenant Commander Ewen Montagu who was a Royal Naval Intelligence officer. He used a corpse which was to be dropped into the sea off the coast of Spain. The synthetic identity created for the corpse was Major William Martin who would be carrying secret high level documents which would reveal to German intelligence that Greece and Sardinia would be the targets and not Sicily. Montagu created an elaborate past life for Major Martin and even arranged for him to be listed as casualty in the Times of June 4, 1943 along with the announcement of the actor Leslie Howard’s death in a plane crash. The Germans fell for the ruse and rushed reinforcements to Sardinia and Greece while neglecting Sicily. The plot inspired the movie The Man Who Never Was. Bravo Operation Mincemeat!

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