By National Archives, Mark Seaman

Juan Pujol, a tender Spanish antifascist, turned agent GARBO, a grasp of deception and intrigue. His tale includes the entire hallmarks of vintage undercover agent event - enciphered messages, mystery inks, goods hid in tarts - culminating in a single of the best strategic deceptions in background. via a hoop of invented subagents, GARBO and his MI5 controllers succeeded in convincing the Germans that the DDay landings have been just a diversionary tactic, therefore safeguarding the Allied landings and hastening the tip of the battle in Europe.

Secret background records is a thrilling sequence from The nationwide files that places covert background in readers' arms. Dossiers formerly categorised as "Top mystery" at the moment are on hand, with an explanatory advent and historical past research by way of professional historians.

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Consequently it was necessary to remove the fictitious agent from this sensitive area before the Germans asked Pujol to deploy him. It was therefore reported to the Abwehr that the sub-agent’s reports had dried up, and that a trip by Pujol to Liverpool had revealed him to be seriously ill in hospital. Pujol later informed Madrid that GERBERS had succumbed to his illness and died on 19 November. An obituary notice was placed in the Liverpool Daily Post and sent to the Abwehr as corroboration of his demise.

It was a bizarre beginning to a remarkable career that was to see Pujol emerge as one of the most important secret agents of the 20th century. Juan Pujol was, to say the least, an unlikely spy. He was born on 14 February 1912 in Barcelona to a family described by Harris as of ‘moderate means’ and liberal political beliefs. After a private education, he engaged in a variety of businesses, with a break in the early 1930s to complete his national service in the 7th Regiment of Light Artillery. Along with many of his fellow countrymen, he was a reluctant participant in the Spanish Civil War, being persecuted by the Republicans in his native Catalonia and feeling little sympathy with the fascist ideology of the Nationalists.

Some spies were arrested but the majority were kept under close observation until the declaration of war. 4 The effectiveness of the German espionage effort against Britain even after 1915 is open to question. The Germans did attempt to infiltrate a variety of agents, mostly of indifferent quality, but it proved extremely difficult to enter the United Kingdom, with strict travel regulations bolstered by a highly effective MI5 port watching branch. Those who did manage to enter the country rarely remained undetected due to a sophisticated postal censorship department that kept a watch for letters containing secret writing and correspondence sent to suspect addresses on the continent.

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