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Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Del Southon and his friend Eddie Chapman


10 comments:

Del Southon. said...

The pictures of the bomb damage, in our new book of memories, reminded me of this picture. I'm the guy on the right, my friend is Eddie Chapman, the WW11 double agent. Pre-war, Eddie was a villain and the first man in England to blow safes using gelignite, but ended up in prison on Jersey, and was there when the Germans invaded the island. He convinced them that he hated the English and would work for them as a spy. He was trained as a saboteur, in Germany, and then parachuted into England to destroy the DeHaviland aircraft factory. He contacted the OSS and explained what he was supposed to do and they arranged for scenic artists to dress the place up to look as if it had been seriously damaged. The Germans took aerial photo's and Eddie returned to Germany to be awarded an Iron Cross. His second drop back here was to monitor how effective the Doodle Bugs were in wrecking London. He radioed back co-ordinates which caused the bombs to fall short of, or overshoot London, seriously reducing the number of hits. Randolph Churchill shot his mouth off on the BBC to tell the public how badly the Germans were doing. Not only did he blow Eddie's cover, the Germans went back to their original plan. When the war ended he was given a pardon for his past crimes, bought an ex RN motor torpedo boat and went into the smuggling business from Tangiers, in Morocco. He wrote six books and a film of his adventures was made, title, 'Triple Cross,' and two years ago a new biography was published. The picture was taken when the lovely Charlotte and I spent a holiday with him at his villa in Gran Canaria, where he lived. I guess that some of us might owe our lives to him. Lovely man, and great fun to be with.'

jim davis said...

Many years ago Del I remember reading his story, If I remember correctly I think it was serialized in one of the Sunday newspapers. An interesting man that's for sure.

Del said...

Jim, it was probably the News of the World. When the last biography came out, two years ago, every newspaper in the country jumped on the bandwagon and had one or two page spreads. When Eddie decided to go straight he bought a mansion, in Hertfordshire, and turned it into an exclusive health club where stars like Roger Moore and Tony Curtis would go to get into shape for their next films.

JohnB said...

I think I may have went there once.

JohnB said...

It wasn't Hanbury Manor (near Ware) was it?
That's where I went, it's now a Marriot Hotel and country club with a golf course, spa, swimming pool, etc.

Del said...

No, John, it was Shenley Lodge, not far from Berkhamstead.

JohnB said...

Thanks Del.

Paul Holt said...

Very interesting post.

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