died a little time afterwards”, leaving few clues to the cause of death. Montagu later
claimed the man died from pneumonia, and that the family had been contacted and
permission obtained, but none of this was true. The dead man's parents had died and no
known relatives were found.

The next step was creating a "legend": a synthetic identity for the dead man. He became
"Captain (Acting Major) William "Bill" Martin, Royal Marines", born 1907, in Cardiff,
Wales, and assigned to Headquarters, Combined Operations. As a Royal Marine, Major
Martin came under Admiralty authority, and it would be easy to ensure that all official
inquiries and messages about his death would be routed to the Naval Intelligence
Division. The Army's arrangements were different and much harder to control. Also, he
could wear battledress rather than a naval uniform (uniforms were tailor-made by
Gieves of Savile Row, and they couldn't have Gieves' tailor measure a corpse.) The
rank of acting Major made him senior enough to be entrusted with sensitive documents,
but not so prominent that anyone would expect to know him. The name "Martin" was
chosen because there were several Martins of about that rank in the Royal Marines.

To build up the legend, they provided a fiancée named "Pam". Major Martin carried a
snapshot of "Pam" (actually a clerk named Jean Leslie from MI5), two love letters, and
a jeweller's bill for an engagement ring. The author of the love letters has been reported
as either Hester Leggett, the head of Leslie’s department at MI5, or Victoire Evelyn
John Melville (John "Jack" Melville) served
on HMS Dasher and was originally
believed to have been buried with full
military honours in Ardrossan, having lost
his life in the disaster that sank the ship. It
now appears that Mr Melville's body
played the central role in Operation
Mincemeat, an elaborate and top secret
hoax intended to deceive the Germans into
believing the Allies would invade southern
Europe through Greece and Sardinia,
Still from The Man Who Never Was
Still from The Man Who Never Was
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Quiz #279 Results
Answer to Quiz #279
October 31, 2010
Remark by the Quizmaster General
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1.  Glyndwr Michael, b. March 29, 1907

2.  His corpse was used as a decoy carrying fake documents
implying an Ally invasion in Sardinia
to distract the Nazis from the true invasion of Sicily

3.  One or more of the following:

He did not drown.  He died of ingesting rat poison.

1.  What is his real name and birthdate?
2.  What important job did he do during the war?
3.  Name one thing he carried in his briefcase.

Bonus:  What is the connection with table tennis?
Birth:  Mar. 29, 1907
Death:  Apr. 24, 1943

World War II Figure. He was known as "The Man Who
Never Was." The figure of Major William Martin was
used by British Naval Intelligence and MI5 to dupe the
Nazis into believing that planned Allied landings in
Southern Europe would take place in Greece and
Sardinia. The name of the operation was Mincemeat.
That operation consisted in the use of a body of a dead
man, dressed him in the uniform of Royal Marines,
given a false identity and place his body with false
documents into the sea. The body was discovered in
Huelva (Spain), and soon, the fascist regime of General
Franco informed the Nazis. The success of Allied
Congratulations to Our Winners!

Mr. Rick and the Quiz Kids!

Mary Fraser                Beth Long
Jim Bullock                Diane Burkett
Dorothy Nagle                Becky Wagenblast
Joshua Kreitzer                Janice M. Sellers
Robin Spence                Stan Read
Jim Baker                Liz Rector
Jim Kiser                Gerald Vanlandingham
Wayne Douglas                Sharon Martin
Collier Smith                Margaret Paxton
Richard Wakeham                Marilyn Hamill
Terry Hollenstain                John Chulick
Karen Kay Bunting                Deborah Less Stewart
Joe Ruffner                Frank P. Nollette
Evan Hindman                Nicole Blank
Betty Chambers                Alex Sissoev
Milene Rawlinson                Robert W. Steinmann Jr.
Sharon Cleveland                Arthur Hartwell
Donna Jolley                Alan Lemm
Margie O'Donnell                Daniel E. Jolley
Jessica Jolley                Dennis Brann
Michelle Decatur                Molly Collins
Sharon Taber                Joan Collier
Debbie Ciccarelli                Carl Blessing
Elaine C. Hebert                Tim Fitzpatrick
Peter Norton               Diane Burkett
Margaret Waterman                Jocelyn Thayer
Comments from Our Readers
Wow, fastest search I’ve ever done..Search for Rat poison, table tennis, war gave me
this link:

I don’t know about it being easy—for some reason I just put all three terms together,
and the article from New Yorker popped up as the first response. I shared it with Marc
, who also found it very interesting, and reading the background behind the book, I
think that I’ve found a Christmas gift for my son-in-law.                          
Mary Fraser
I'd never seen this photo before, but instantly knew what it was.  I read the book "The
Man Who Never Was" about "Operation Mincemeat" many years ago and have seen the
Clifton Webb movie a number of times.  Incredible story!                     
Diane Burkett

Thanks Colleen for another interesting quiz; while I knew the story of Major Martin, I
was not familiar with all of the fascinating details. I have enjoyed the “spy” series of
Jim Baker

Very fascinating story that I had not heard about.                                       Liz Rector

Don't have a good answer for the bonus.  I did find a table tennis equipment
manufacturer online that was Martin & Co. and now operates as Butterfly, but that is
the best I could do!                                                              
Gerald Vanlandingham

The ironic thing is that I bought this book for my husband about 2 months ago and he
found it fascinating.  My husband's name just happens to be William Martin.
Sharon Martin
NB  Better than being called Elvis Presley. - Q. Gen.

What a tangled web.                                                                           
John Chulick

Great stuff from the spy museum!!                                                    
Evan Hindman

Netflix came through. My wife and I have just finished viewing the 1956 movie "The
Man Who Never Was". It was a marvelous movie. I give it 5 stars out of 5. It is
obviously based on a great story. Done really well, and follows the scenario I got
answering the quiz. I feel everyone who tried the quiz really should see it, if they can.
Really brings the episode to life.                                                       
Arthur Hartwell

Interesting that the image published here is reversed from the one in the quiz.
Jim Bullock
N.B.  Yes, I did that on purpose to foil the Tin-Eye fans. - Q. Gen.

Once again, the QuizKids get right into this one! I'll probably find blown up pictures of
this guy in the classroom next week!                              
Mr. Rick and the Quiz Kids

Damn, those Nazis were easy to fool.  I guess it is because they didn't have Dr. Mallard
or Abby Sciuto working for them; or for that matter they didn't have Illya Kuryakin
either (or Colleen)!!!

One of the concoctors of this ruse was Ewan Montagu.  He was an avid tennis table
player although not as good as his brother Ivor(who was a champion) and not too
ironically both Jews...take that Adolf!!                                                 
Dennis Brann

Maybe I'm starting to get the hang of this Googly thing. I Googled "died of rat poison
war" and got most of the Operation Mincemeat story. Michael's birth date took a little
digging, but wasn't too difficult. "Operation Mincemeat table tennis" got me Ivor. All
this espionage stuff is…well, intriguing.                                                 
Peter Norton

I got on to subject of quiz answer real quickly: "The Man Who Never Was." I
remember seeing the movie in theater when it came out in 1956. It took the reading of
several different web pages to sort out the details as to who is who, and who is buried
Mike Dalton

I enjoyed that quiz as I was reading Connie Willis’ book “All Clear” about the blitz in
London.  It’s a fictional book about 3 historians from 2060 who travel back to World
War II to study the blitz and get stuck there.  It’s a fun way to learn about history.  
The English were so clever with their espionage considering the pressure while they
were constantly under siege.                                                           
Betty Chambers

Just glad to hear that you are OK and in good health......I bet you had a lot of us
Quizzlers out there worried ! You can tell because I'm sure that your web page
counters for the Photo Quiz page reset about 3 times!!!!!!!  In light of your current
espionage theme, some of us got worried when one our head operative "WENT DARK"
!!!!!! HA HA                                                                     
Robert J. Steinmann Jr.

Perhaps my favorite part was learning the spelling of Cholmondeley. Cool stuff.
Joe Ruffner
Well,you don't call them veterans unless they survived a war.  Mr Melville was a Royal
Marine, and Michael may have served his country indirectly.  Whoever it was was a
postmortem hero and deserves to be remembered.  I think guys in M1 have fun all the
Marilyn Hamill

I got on to subject of quiz answer real quickly: "The Man Who Never Was." I
remember seeing the movie in theater when it came out in 1956. It took the reading of
several different web pages to sort out the details as to who is who, and who is buried
where. Since the quiz is dated Oct. 31, 2010, Halloween: this would be a case of body
snatching and body swapping all in Her Majaesty's Service.                     
Mike Dalton

I think you're right: grim circumstances, but a game nonetheless. I would think that a
wacky sense of humor would be an asset in that racket. I can imagine the elation, the
champagne toasts, the dancing in the streets…SECRET toasts in well-concealed
streets, but you catch my drift, as it became clear that the ruse had worked. I certainly
felt a sense of glee as I learned about this deception. Thank you.              
Peter Norton
Operation Mincemeat was a successful
British deception plan during World War II.
As part of the widespread deception plan
Operation Barclay to cover the intended
invasion of Italy from North Africa,
Mincemeat helped to convince the German
high command that the Allies planned to
invade Greece and Sardinia in 1943 instead
of Sicily, the actual objective. This was
accomplished by persuading the Germans
How Arthur Solved the Puzzle
The search for "Garbo" re-exposed me to the Sicily misinformation
caper. I knew what the quiz was about, but not the answers to the
questions. I started by searching for the pictures title "man who never
existed". Bad terminallogy, nothing useful except a suggestion to
change the terminallogy. "man who never was" came up with the
"Operation Mincemeat" story and answered most the questions, but
no picture."Operation Mincemeat and tennis" gave me copies of the
New Yorker articles. They gave me copies of Major Martin's Id
Card(born 1907), the picture of Major Martin and his delivery
box(400 lbs. when full), and the information about Ivor, table tennis
and Russian. The story sounds so interesting I have ordered the
movie "The Man Who Never Was' from netflix. I hope I can see it
before the week is out.

Arthur Hartwell
Still from The Man Who Never Was
landing in Sicily partly attributed to these plans of deception. The real identity of the
body was Glyndwr Michael born in Aberbagoed, South Wales, born in January 4th,
1909 and died in London in January 28, 1943. The story was reflected in the film "The
Man Who Never Was" (1956). (bio by: José L Bernabé Tronchoni)

Picture of his fiance Pam
Bill for an engagement Two
love letters
Book of stamps
Silver cross
"Secret" documents
Pencil stub
Bus ticket
Hotel bill
Letter from his father
Overdraft notice from bank
The picture is shown in its
correct form on the right.  
To foil those who use TinEye
to search for images, I
flipped it horizontally so that
the search engine would not
find it.

Colleen Fitzpatrick
Quizmaster General
Operation Mincemeat
Glyndwwe Michael?
It was a turning point in the Second World
War. As the Allies prepared to invade
Sicily in 1943, they wanted to dupe the
Germans into thinking that their attack
would be aimed elsewhere. To carry out
the deception, a plan was concocted in
which a body was dumped in the sea, to
be discovered by Axis forces, carrying
fake 'secret documents' suggesting the
invasion would be staged in Greece, 500
miles away.  Incredibly, the trick worked
that they had, by accident, intercepted "top secret" documents giving details of Allied
war plans. The documents were attached to a corpse deliberately left to wash up on a
beach in Punta Umbría in Spain. The story was used as plot in Duff Cooper's 1950
novel Operation Heartbreak, but revealed as a true story in the 1953 book The Man
Who Never Was.

In late 1942, Operation Torch to invade French North Africa was imminent, and
victory in the North African Campaign was expected. Allied planners considered the
next step in the war and decided to continue attacks in the Mediterranean. The massive
Allied buildup of resources for the invasion (code-named Operation Husky) would be
detected. The Germans would know that some large attack was coming. However, if
the Allies could deceive the Germans about where that attack was going, the Germans
might disperse or divert some significant part of their forces, which would help the
invasion succeed.

Several months before, Flight Lt. Charles
Cholmondeley RAF of Section B1(a) of
MI5, suggested dropping a dead man
attached to a badly-opened parachute in
France with a radio set for the Germans to
find. The idea was for the Germans to
think that the Allies did not know the set
was captured, and pretend to be Allied
agents operating it, thus allowing the Allies
to feed them misinformation. This was
dismissed as unworkable; however the idea
was taken up later by the Twenty
Committee, the small inter-service, inter-
departmental intelligence team in charge of double agents. Cholmondeley was on the
Twenty Committee, as was Lt. Cmdr. Ewen Montagu, a Royal Navy intelligence officer.
According to historian Ben Macintyre, Cholmondeley got the idea from a 1939 memo
written by Ian Fleming, later author of the James Bond novels. Fleming himself
reportedly got the idea from a 1930s detective novel by Basil Thomson.

Montagu and Cholmondeley developed Cholmondeley's idea into a workable plan, using
documents instead of a radio. The Committee thought of planting the documents on a
body with a defective parachute. However, the Germans knew that it was Allied policy
never to send sensitive documents over enemy territory, so they decided to make the
man a victim of a plane crash at sea. That would explain how the man would be several
days dead and how he could be carrying secret documents. The body would be floated
ashore in Spain, where the nominally neutral government was known to cooperate with
the Abwehr (German intelligence). The British were sure the Spanish authorities would
search the body and allow German agents to examine anything found. Montagu gave
the operation the code name of Mincemeat, just restored to the list of available names
after its use for another successful mission.
Who Was Major Martin Really?
and the diversion of German troops to Greece has been credited by historians with
playing a major part in the success of the Sicily invasion. The episode was later
immortalised in the 1956 film The Man Who Never Was.

Yet to this day, just whose body was used in "Operation Mincemeat" has remained a
source of secrecy, confusion and conspiracy theory. In a forthcoming book, a historian
claims to have finally established beyond any reasonable doubt the identity of the person
who 'played' the part of the dead man: a homeless Welshman called Glyndwr Michael.
The body, which was given the identity of a fake Royal Marine called 'Major William
Martin', was dropped into the sea off Spain in 1943.

Winston Churchill had remarked that "Anyone but a bloody fool would know it was
Sicily", but after the tides carried Major Martin's body into the clutches of Nazi agents,
Hitler and his High Command became convinced Greece was the target. "You can
forget about Sicily. We know it's in Greece," proclaimed General Alfred Jodl, head of
the German supreme command operations staff.

"Mincemeat swallowed, rod, line and sinker" was the message sent to Churchill after
the Allies learned the plot had worked.

In recent years, there have been repeated claims that Mincemeat's chief planner,
Lieutenant Commander Ewen Montagu, was so intent on deceiving the Germans that he
stole the body of a crew member from HMS Dasher, a Royal Navy aircraft carrier
which exploded off the Scottish coast in March 1943, and lied to the dead man's

In 2003, a documentary based on 14 years of research by former police officer Colin
Gibbon claimed that 'Major Martin' was Dasher sailor Tom Martin. Then in 2004,
official sanction appeared to be given to another candidate, Tom Martin's crewmate
John Melville. At a memorial service on board the current HMS Dasher, a Royal Navy
patrol vessel, off the coast of Cyprus, Lieutenant Commander Mark Hill named Mr
Melville as Major Martin, describing him as "a man who most certainly was". Mr
Melville's daughter, Isobel Mackay, later told The Scotsman newspaper: "I feel very
honoured if my father saved 30,000 Allied lives."

However, Professor Denis Smyth, a historian at Toronto University, whose book
Operation Mincemeat: Death, Deception and the Mediterranean D-Day is due to be
published later this year, believes he has now finally laid to rest such "conspiracy
theories". During his research, he came across a "most secret" memo written by
Commander Montagu, the significance of which appears to have been overlooked and
which Professor Smyth says proves the body of Mr Michael, who was mentally ill and
died after ingesting rat poison at the time the operation was being planned, was used. Mr
Michael was first proposed as The Man Who Never Was by an amateur historian in
1996, but the evidence to support this failed to convince supporters of the Dasher

Tellingly, the memo unearthed by Professor Smyth was written after the body had been
buried in Spain and addressed fears among senior officers that it would be exhumed for

Read more about the controversy of Major Martin's true identity.  Click here.
Official War Graves Commission Info
HMS Dasher
HMS Dasher was a World War II escort
aircraft carrier. The remains of the carrier
lie in some 140 metres (460 ft) of water in
the Firth of Clyde, south of the Little
Cumbrae, and between Brodick on the
island of Arran, and Ardrossan on the
mainland. The vessel sank on March 27,
1943, while engaged in deck landing
exercises, during which an aviation
gasoline explosion is believed to have taken
place, resulting in the rapid sinking of the
vessel, and the loss of 379 crew. No
absolute cause for the explosions was
determined at the time, which left only 149
survivors from a complement of 528.

In Favor of Glyndwyr Michael
In Favor of John Melville
rather than Sicily.

The success of Operation Mincemeat was dependent on the provision of believable,
genuine corpse. After Mr Melville's body was recovered from the Firth of Clyde, it was
packed in ice, and placed on board the submarine HMS Seraph for transport to the
Mediterranean. There, his body was carefully dressed in the uniform of a Royal
Marines Courier, the fictitious Major William Martin, ensuring details such as labels
were all correct, and provided with false documentation to support the legend, including
personal letters and photographs provided by female staff involved in the operation.
Finally, the courier's all important leather briefcase containing the false plans was
prepared, ready for transport.

On April 29, 1943, HMS Seraph made ready and departed for a location off Huelva on
the coast of Spain, chosen in the knowledge that an active German agent was stationed
there. The prepared body was preserved in dry ice, packed in a special canister, and
identified only as secret meteorological equipment to all but those directly involved.
At 04:30 on April 30, 1943, the canister was brought up on deck, under the pretence of
deploying the equipment it contained. The Seraph's crew were ordered below deck, and
the submarine's officers were finally briefed on the real operation, and sworn to
secrecy. The canister was opened, Major Martin's body was fitted with a Mae West life
jacket, and the briefcase attached. The 39th Psalm was read, then the body was gently
pushed into the sea, leaving the the tide to carry it ashore, together with a rubber dinghy
to complete the illusion of an aircraft accident.

n October, 2004, John Melville's daughter, Isobel Mackay travelled from her home in
Galashiels to attend a memorial service dedicated to her father. The memorial service
took place on board the current HMS Dasher, a patrol boat, in waters around a British
sovereign RAF base in Cyprus.

"In his incarnation as Major Martin, John Melville’s memory lives on in the film, The
Man Who Never Was. But we are gathered here today to remember John Melville as a
man who most certainly was" - Lieutenant Commander Mark Hill, commanding officer
Cyprus naval squadron.

Dennis Barnes, a spokesman for the British Forces in Cyprus, said: "This was
undoubtedly the first tribute by the Royal Navy to John Melville, the man who never

This occasion is believed to be the first time Britain’s armed services have recognised
his role.

Previously, the story had centred on the belief that the corpse was that of a homeless
Welsh alcoholic, Glyndwr Michael, who had either committed suicide by drinking rat
poison, or been poisoned accidentally while sleeping in a barn. Although the story was
widely circulated, many found it difficult to accept, as the physical condition of the
body of an indigent alcoholic, and of someone who had been poisoned, would have
been easy for the enemy to recognise as not belonging to someone on active service, or
who had lost their life by drowning, and would have significantly, of not completely,
damaged the credibility of the deception.

This was later questioned in the documentary series "Heroes of World War II", in
which programme 7, "The Man Who Hoodwinked Hitler", aired the findings of a retired
police officer who had researched the available information and records. Although his
findings differ from the above in that he identified another victim of the HMS Dasher
disaster, and he identifies the body as being that of T J Martin, buried in Ardrossan, he
concludes that the story of Glyndwr Michael is impractical, as his body is supposed to
have been acquired about January 22, while the operation did not take place until April
30. The use of the name Martin may have been another red-herring planted by
Lieutenant Commander Ewan Montagu, who was responsible for handling the
operation. Even deep-freezing of the body would have resulted in easily detected signs
that it had not perished by drowning in the past few days, as required by the mission,
which would have destroyed its credibility, and rendered it pointless. Photographs
provided by Montagu in his book "The Man Who Never Was" also indicate that the
corpse was in poor condition, and unlikely to be taken as that of a fit Royal Marine,
even after drowning. The programme also details the journeys of Montagu and HMS
Seraph to Greenock, from London and Blythe respectively, which also lends credence
to the claim that this was the source of the body, and not cold storage.
Official War Graves Commission Info
With the help of the renowned pathologist
Sir Bernard Spilsbury, Montagu and his
team determined what kind of body they
needed: a man who appeared to have died
at sea by hypothermia and drowning, and
then floated ashore after several days.
However, finding a usable body seemed
almost impossible, as indiscreet inquiries
would cause talk, and it was impossible to
tell a dead man's next of kin what the
body was wanted for. Under quiet
pressure, Bentley Purchase, coroner of St.
Pancras District in London, obtained the
body of a 34-year old Welsh man named
Glyndwr Michael, on the condition that
the man's real identity would never be
revealed. The man had died after ingesting
rat poison which contained phosphorus.
After being ingested, the phosphide reacts
with hydrochloric acid in the human
stomach, generating phosphine, a highly
toxic gas. Coroner Purchase explained,
“This dose was not sufficient to kill him
outright, and its only effect was so to
impair the functioning of the liver that he
Patricia 'Paddy' Bennett, later Lady Evelyn
Ridsdale, the only woman working in Room 39
under the command of Admiral John Henry
Godfrey. Ian Fleming also worked in Room 39;
he later modeled the characters of Miss
Moneypenny and M on Bennett and Admiral
Godfrey, respectively.

He also had a pompous letter from his father, a
letter from the family solicitor, and a letter from
Ernest Whitley Jones, joint general manager of
Lloyds Bank, demanding payment of an overdraft
of £79 19s 2d (£79.96). There were a book of
stamps, a silver cross and St Christopher’s
medallion, a pencil stub, keys, a used twopenny
bus ticket, ticket stubs from a London theatre, a
bill for four nights' lodging at the Naval and
Military Club, and a receipt from Gieves for a new shirt (this last was an error: it was
for cash, and officers never paid cash at Gieves; but the Germans did not catch it.) All
these documents were on authentic stationery or billheads. The dates of the ticket stubs
and lodging bill indicated that Major Martin had left London on April 24. If his body
washed ashore on 30 April, presumably after several days at sea, then he must have
flown from Britain and crashed at sea.

To make the Major even more believable, Montagu and his team decided to suggest that
he was a bit careless. His ID card was marked as a replacement for one that had been
lost, and his pass to Combined Operations HQ had expired a few weeks before his
departure and not been renewed. This last touch carried an element of risk, as the
Abwehr might be suspicious of a careless man having been entrusted with sensitive

While the cover identity was created by Montagu and his team, the false documents
were also being created. Montagu and his team insisted that these must be at the very
highest level, so that there would be no question of the supposed senders being
misinformed. The main document was a personal letter from "Archie Nye" (Lt. Gen. Sir
Archibald Nye, Vice Chief of the Imperial General Staff) to "My dear Alex" (General Sir
Harold Alexander, commander of 18th Army Group in Algeria and Tunisia). The letter
covered several "sensitive" subjects, such as the (unwanted) award of Purple Heart
medals by U.S. forces to British servicemen serving with them, and the appointment of
a new commander of the Guards Brigade. This explained its being hand-carried rather
than sent through regular channels. On the specific topic of Allied plans in the
Mediterranean, the letter referred to Operation Husky as the invasion of Greece by
troops from Egypt and Libya under General "Jumbo" Wilson. Two assault beaches and
some of the assigned troops were named. (Husky was actually the invasion of Sicily.)
The letter also mentioned a second planned attack, Operation Brimstone, for which the
cover target was Sicily. This implied that Alexander's forces in Tunisia would invade
Sardinia, that being the only other plausible target. "Archie" added that "we stand a very
good chance of making [the Germans] think we are going for Sicily." The letter was
composed by Sir Archibald himself.

There was also a letter of introduction for Major Martin, from "his" commanding
officer, Admiral Mountbatten, to Admiral Cunningham, Allied naval commander in the
Mediterranean. This letter included a clumsy joke about "sardines", which Montagu
inserted in hopes the Germans would see it as a reference to a planned invasion of

The Germans (and their Spanish friends) had apparently missed the letter in the pocket
of a Paymaster-Lt. Turner who had previous crashed off the coast of Cadiz, so
Montagu's team decided to put the documents in a briefcase which could not be
overlooked. To justify carrying documents in a briefcase, "Major Martin" was given
two copies of the official pamphlet on Combined Operations by Hilary Saunders, and a
letter from Mountbatten to General Eisenhower, asking him to write a brief foreword
for the pamphlet's U.S. edition.

Read more about this fascinating chapter in espionage history.  Click