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#1 hammer03

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Posted 25 April 2004 - 10:32 PM

Hi, After recently reading Robert Ryans book Blue Noon (based on a true story about Harry Cole during WWII) I am interested in learning more about this individual, can anyone help. The book is a great read and i recomend it to anyone wanting a wartime story about the French resistence and the English management of it. While the book has brought together fact and fiction I feel it has enough fact to higlight some real questions over the true descrption of Harry Cole as a traitor. I would love to find out more, so if anyone can point me in the right direction i would appreciate it.
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#2 Smudger Jnr

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 03:05 PM

I have recently started reading the Autobiography of Airey Neave by Paul Routledge.

The book is called, Public Servant Secret Agent.
The elusive life and death of Airey Neave.

I was surprised to learn that a British Sergeant by the name of Harold Cole had absconded from the BEF with the Sgt's mess fund just before the battle of Dunkirk.

He mysteriously reappeared later, as a courier, working in the Allied escape routes from Lille and Paris over the demarcation line.

He became a double agent working for the gestapo and was responsible for sending several Resistance Agents to Concentration camps and the closure of an escape line that had helped more than 600 POW's to escape to freedom.

Attached is a link with further interesting reading on Double Agents.

https://www.mi5.gov....arold-cole.html

Harold Cole - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Regards
Tom
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#3 horsapassenger

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 03:20 PM

A novel based on the exploits of Harold Cole is 'The Blue Noon" by Robert Ryan.

John
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#4 wtid45

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 03:30 PM

Tom, thanks for posting I was curious as to what the new Neave book was like and it sounds like I will get it......... can you elaborate on more of the book please, I have the Brendan Murphy book Turncoat that is the story of Cole from memory it is quite an intresting read cheers Jason.
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#5 Jedburgh22

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 03:56 PM

Cole was a really nasty piece of work, betrayed several SOE agents and after the war ended was working for the American CIC where he caused more trouble for SOE - eventually killed in a shoot out in Paris.
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#6 Smudger Jnr

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 04:20 PM

Tom, thanks for posting I was curious as to what the new Neave book was like and it sounds like I will get it......... can you elaborate on more of the book please, I have the Brendan Murphy book Turncoat that is the story of Cole from memory it is quite an intresting read cheers Jason.



Jason,

I am only starting on chapter 10, but up to now the book is good and extremely interesting to read.

Described by many that were in contact with him as being a Loner type of person, but when involved in Secret service work, perhaps this has an advantage.

ISBN 1-84115-244-7

Regards
Tom
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#7 Harry Ree

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 07:10 PM

There are many references to Cole in the underground activities in occupied Europe. Its surprising that he was not put to the sword during the war but was elusive and his whereabouts were never positively known.What was known that in his wake was the damage he caused to escape and intelligence networks.He was an escaper from the BEF withdrawal and was involved with the setting up of the Pat escape line.Instead of being a "patriot abroad" he chose to sell himself to the Germans.

As I said he survived the war and then his luck ran out when he was shot dead by French police in Paris in resisting arrest.As far as I know,the British never put out a positive search for him probably thinking he had vanished into the "fog of night".However there were reports that he was shot by British security agents in Paris after hoodwinking and being recruited by the Americans in Berlin that he was an escaped British agent.

By any assessment,a notorious character whose motivation was solely greed.
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#8 Vitesse

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 07:41 PM

Cole's story was also covered in Neave's "Saturday at MI9". Here's an extract published in The Times in September 1969:

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#9 PsyWar.Org

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 09:44 PM

He has three files on him in the MI5 archives at Kew:

KV 2/415, Harold COLE, alias ROOKE, MASON, COOL, CORSER and many more: COLE went to France ... (11 Apr 1940 - 21 Apr 1945)

KV 2/416, Harold COLE, alias ROOKE, MASON, COOL, CORSER and many more: COLE went to France ... (27 Apr 1945 - 18 Aug 1945)

KV 2/417, Harold COLE, alias ROOKE, MASON, COOL, CORSER and many more: COLE went to France ... (21 Aug 1945 - 23 Dec 1946)

Description of files:
The Security Service: Personal (PF Series) Files. WORLD WAR II. Renegades and Suspected Renegades. Harold COLE, alias ROOKE, MASON, COOL, CORSER and many more: COLE went to France as a soldier in 1939, was taken prisoner by the Germans in 1940, escaped and lived first in Lille, then in Marseilles, where he helped escaping British servicemen to reach safety. Re-arrested by the Gestapo in 1941, he was then turned by the SD and betrayed a whole French Resistance unit, which resulted in the deaths of over 50 people. At the end of the war COLE was hunted by MI5, finally being arrested posing as a US Intelligence officer in liberated France, complete with Mercedes vehicle and French mistress. Escaping once more from US custody, Cole was finally discovered in 1946 living under cover in Paris. He was killed in an exchange of gunfire with French Police. Physical Description: Photocopy of microfiche
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#10 brithm

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 08:53 PM

I am just reading Airey Neave's 'Escape Room' and mentions how Cole did get some escapers out through the Pat Escape Line but became compromised by the Germans and was turned. Fascinating read!
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#11 Harry Ree

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 08:43 AM

The intelligence that Cole had on the Pat Line was used to betray its organisers and those using the Line.He was solely motivated by greed and was a willing accomplice.

He went on to gain the confidence of other escapers in order to serve his masters.

I would not describe Cole as a double agent for he had his own agenda to suit his purpose.
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#12 Room 3603

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 01:00 AM

Thanks for the nod to this book. It will now headline on my Christmas prezzy wish list.

I've not long finished reading Airey Neave's book 'They Have Their Exits' about his astonishingly brave and audacious escape journey from Colditz to Gib. Truly riveting stuff and so typically understated by this very determined, honourable and courageous man. Apparently, as an MI9 officer in 1944, he was one of the two Brits attached to the 101st Airborne’s much celebrated Easy Co rescue party, who set off across the Rhine to ferry back a contingent of British Para’s holed up on the other side one night, near Arnhem.

Cheers - Phil.


I have recently started reading the Autobiography of Airey Neave by Paul Routledge.

The book is called, Public Servant Secret Agent.
The elusive life and death of Airey Neave.

I was surprised to learn that a British Sergeant by the name of Harold Cole had absconded from the BEF with the Sgt's mess fund just before the battle of Dunkirk.

He mysteriously reappeared later, as a courier, working in the Allied escape routes from Lille and Paris over the demarcation line.

He became a double agent working for the gestapo and was responsible for sending several Resistance Agents to Concentration camps and the closure of an escape line that had helped more than 600 POW's to escape to freedom.

Attached is a link with further interesting reading on Double Agents.

https://www.mi5.gov....arold-cole.html

Harold Cole - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Regards
Tom


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#13 Harry Ree

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 09:50 AM

Taking about Cole,there is evidence that Hasler and Sparkes were accompanied over the Pyrennes by the "fifth man" a said "left wing intellectual" on the run from the Germans who turned out to be an infiltrator.(The other two escapees were RAF evaders from the same safe house in Marsailles as was the "fifth man".)

This man is recorded as taking the initative en route when the Spanish guides were thought to be failing.He vanished as the group were being taken for support from the British Barcelona Consulate.It transpired that the "left wing intellectual" on the run from the Germans was in fact a Gestapo agent and was acting through Cole which made a successful penitration of the Pat escape network causing its collapse.

Obviously, Hasler and Sparkes had a near escape on the journey from Marsailles,over the Pyrennes and on to Barcelona.

Edited by Harry Ree, 22 November 2011 - 10:43 AM.

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#14 ritsonvaljos

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 11:41 PM

He has three files on him in the MI5 archives at Kew:

KV 2/415, Harold COLE, alias ROOKE, MASON, COOL, CORSER and many more: COLE went to France ... (11 Apr 1940 - 21 Apr 1945)

KV 2/416, Harold COLE, alias ROOKE, MASON, COOL, CORSER and many more: COLE went to France ... (27 Apr 1945 - 18 Aug 1945)

KV 2/417, Harold COLE, alias ROOKE, MASON, COOL, CORSER and many more: COLE went to France ... (21 Aug 1945 - 23 Dec 1946)

Description of files:
The Security Service: Personal (PF Series) Files. WORLD WAR II. Renegades and Suspected Renegades. Harold COLE, alias ROOKE, MASON, COOL, CORSER and many more: COLE went to France as a soldier in 1939, was taken prisoner by the Germans in 1940, escaped and lived first in Lille, then in Marseilles, where he helped escaping British servicemen to reach safety. Re-arrested by the Gestapo in 1941, he was then turned by the SD and betrayed a whole French Resistance unit, which resulted in the deaths of over 50 people. At the end of the war COLE was hunted by MI5, finally being arrested posing as a US Intelligence officer in liberated France, complete with Mercedes vehicle and French mistress. Escaping once more from US custody, Cole was finally discovered in 1946 living under cover in Paris. He was killed in an exchange of gunfire with French Police. Physical Description: Photocopy of microfiche


Psywar.org:

Do you happen to know the references for any N.A. files at Kew about the "Pat O'Leary" escape line by any chance, please? Sgt COLE / COOL, aka PAUL appeared to be tied up with that escape route.

Thanks very much
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#15 brithm

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 08:51 PM

Just finishing reading Turncoat where it suggests Cole may have survived the shooting from the French Gendarme and live in England after the war, the shooting being faked.

It says on the wikipedia he was buried in a Paris in a pauper's grave. Could Cole have really lived on, would SIS help Cole after his traitorous behaviour?

brithm
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#16 ritsonvaljos

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 09:35 PM

Just finishing reading Turncoat where it suggests Cole may have survived the shooting from the French Gendarme and live in England after the war, the shooting being faked.

It says on the wikipedia he was buried in a Paris in a pauper's grave. Could Cole have really lived on, would SIS help Cole after his traitorous behaviour?

brithm


What evidence (if any) does the writer of 'Turncoat' put forward for this supposition?
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#17 Harry Ree

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:19 PM

Just finishing reading Turncoat where it suggests Cole may have survived the shooting from the French Gendarme and live in England after the war, the shooting being faked.

It says on the wikipedia he was buried in a Paris in a pauper's grave. Could Cole have really lived on, would SIS help Cole after his traitorous behaviour?

brithm



Myth I would say....it does generate income for the authors and publishers.

These "truths" emerge from time to time.A few years ago the ST Magazine ran an account claiming that Grover Williams,the SOE agent had survived his Nazi execution and was living in France.

The same magazine,almost 30 years ago,made the claim of a author,I cannot recollect his name,that the real reason for the SS outrage at Oradour sur Glane was that there was a stash of gold in the village.
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#18 PsyWar.Org

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:41 PM

Psywar.org:

Do you happen to know the references for any N.A. files at Kew about the "Pat O'Leary" escape line by any chance, please? Sgt COLE / COOL, aka PAUL appeared to be tied up with that escape route.

Thanks very much



Sorry, I missed this when originally posted.


Maybe there is something in some of these files?

BELGIUM 1940-1945
Lines and escape routes 1940-1944
HS 6/222 Belgian land line (Sûreté) 1942
HS 6/223 Caroline; Andree escape organisation; de Jonghe 1942-1943
HS 6/224 Land line - serpentine line (Periwig) 1941-1942
HS 6/225 Land lines to Belgium via French lines 1942-1944
HS 6/226 Escape routes and procedure 1942-1944
HS 6/227 Rose-Clair line 1942-1943
HS 6/228 Courier via Switzerland 1943-1944
HS 6/229 Escape routes 1940-1942
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#19 canuck

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 01:56 AM

I just finished reading One Who Almost Made It Back by Belgian Air Force officer, Peter Celis. While the book is focused on RCAF Squadron Leader Teddy Blenkinsop, it also contains a huge amount of detail on the Belgian underground and escape networks, including the double agents.

He asserts that it was a One for One relationship between airmen who made it back to England and the death of an underground member engaged in getting them home.

A highly recommended read.
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#20 ritsonvaljos

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 10:48 PM

I just finished reading One Who Almost Made It Back by Belgian Air Force officer, Peter Celis. While the book is focused on RCAF Squadron Leader Teddy Blenkinsop, it also contains a huge amount of detail on the Belgian underground and escape networks, including the double agents.

He asserts that it was a One for One relationship between airmen who made it back to England and the death of an underground member engaged in getting them home.

A highly recommended read.


Surely this input should have its own separate thread? Sgt Harold Cole does not appear to have played any part in the betrayal of the people caught up in this tragic tale.

This is a link to a brief résumé of the story by Peter Celis:
One Who Almost Made It Back
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#21 red devil

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 05:30 PM

Myth I would say....it does generate income for the authors and publishers.

These "truths" emerge from time to time.A few years ago the ST Magazine ran an account claiming that Grover Williams,the SOE agent had survived his Nazi execution and was living in France.

The same magazine,almost 30 years ago,made the claim of a author,I cannot recollect his name,that the real reason for the SS outrage at Oradour sur Glane was that there was a stash of gold in the village.


The stash of gold theory is mentioned in my oradour pages, but also there is the theory that the church was an arms cache. The French deny it but the evidence of german witnesses claim the the church, in which they had filled with women and children, blew up rather spectacularly and cannot be attributed to the (alleged) throwing of hand grenades through the windows.

But, whatever the reason, the result is beyond doubt, the extermination of 99% of an entire small town in the Limoge region. There is also a theory mentioned in the papers that a German Lt, caught by the Resistance, spotted an Oradour sign post through a chink in the vehicle he was in, and later he was able to relate this to the authorities, causing Das Reich Division to be temporarily diverted to Oradour during its march north to meet the Advancing allies.

The only thing that is certain is the 'facts' are under lock and key until 2030AD and even then the French may not release them. This is by agreement between Germany & France.

The golden theory is in the book Oradour by Robin Mackness
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#22 ritsonvaljos

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 11:08 AM

Has anyone ever come across photographs or sketches of Harold Cole by any chance? The following website page has a short item about the treachery of Harold Cole, accompanied by a couple of images:

http://theescapeline...ors-part-2.html

 

Up to this time, these are the only images I have seen of Harold Cole? Does anyone who has read Airey Neave's book where he discusses Cole know if there are photographs in there please? 


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#23 ritsonvaljos

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 01:48 PM

Harold Cole ('Paul) - one of his many faces. 

 

Attachment:

One of the many faces of the treacherous Harold Cole (nom de guerre 'Paul' or 'Sgt. Cools'). In some respects, he is still an elusive character! 

 

Acknowledgements

Thanks to the Cumbria County Archives (Whitehaven) and the Bondues Resistance Museum in identifying this image as that of the treacherous 'double agent' Harold Cole. 

Attached Files


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