British Sgt Double Agent

Discussion in 'Top Secret' started by hammer03, Apr 25, 2004.

  1. hammer03

    hammer03 Junior Member

    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.
     
  2. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    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.uk/output/4-july-2001-releases-harold-cole.html

    Harold Cole - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Regards
    Tom
     
    Guy Hudson and wtid45 like this.
  3. horsapassenger

    horsapassenger Senior Member

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

    John
     
  4. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    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.
     
  5. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    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.
     
  6. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    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
     
  7. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    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.
     
  8. Vitesse

    Vitesse Senior Member

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

    [​IMG]
     
  9. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    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
     
  10. brithm

    brithm Senior Member

    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!
     
  11. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    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.
     
    brithm likes this.
  12. Room 3603

    Room 3603 Junior Member

    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.uk/output/4-july-2001-releases-harold-cole.html

    Harold Cole - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Regards
    Tom
     
  13. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    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.
     
  14. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    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
     
  15. brithm

    brithm Senior Member

    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
     
  16. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    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?
     
  17. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    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.
     
    ritsonvaljos likes this.
  18. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    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
     
  19. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    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.
     
    ritsonvaljos likes this.
  20. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    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
     

Share This Page