Henri Dericourt (SOE Traitor)

Discussion in 'SOE & OSS' started by Gage, Jun 10, 2008.

  1. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

  2. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    I think you are a little way off the truth here.At first considerations it may appear so, but, there is evidence that certain elements of the SOE were compromised under the direction of Sir Claude Dansey to deceive the enemy.
     
  3. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    I think you are a little way off the truth here.At first considerations it may appear so, but, there is evidence that certain elements of the SOE were compromised under the direction of Sir Claude Dansey to deceive the enemy.

    Do tell more, please, Harry. So are you saying that MI6 gave up F section agents lives to the Germans? Did Stewart Menzies know?
     
  4. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Sidenote on 'Colonel Z'/Dansey.
    I wonder if he were the same Claude Dansey implicated in an 1893 scandal among the Wildean clan as mentioned here? :
    Oscar Wilde
    Years later there emerged the real motive for Wilde wanting to send Bosie away. Robert Ross had invited Claude Dansey (Note 1), a sixteen year old son of a retired army colonel to his home in London, seduced him and mentioned it to Douglas who rushed there and took the boy back to the Goring-On-Thames house where he slept with both Douglas and Wilde. The boy's father found out and all hell broke loose. Colonel Dansey was persuaded by Wilde's solicitors not to tell the Police because his son could be imprisoned also.

    The dates and a military father fit if nothing else.
     
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  5. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    I think you are a little way off the truth here.At first considerations it may appear so, but, there is evidence that certain elements of the SOE were compromised under the direction of Sir Claude Dansey to deceive the enemy.

    I don't think there can be any doubt that Dericourt was a traitor of the highest order.

    Dr Goetz (helped play the radio game for the Germans) was shown a photograph and Goetz recognised Dericourt as 'Gilbert'. Gilbert was Boemelburg's forty-eighth agent.


    Karl Boemelburg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  6. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Gage

    Sorry not to have got back to your note of June 2008.We seem to lose the sight of posts quickly on the forum and I should have reviewed it and replied earlier.

    I suppose we should start by asking how much of the account you are aware of.Like all clandestine operations and intelligence, it is difficult to separate the truth from myths.No doubt the truth will be revealed when public access to records is totally relaxed.At the moment they are tied up for 75 or 100 years from the end of the war and certain SOE records were disposed of when the organisation was wound up immediately after the war.
     
  7. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    Gage

    Sorry not to have got back to your note of June 2008.We seem to lose the sight of posts quickly on the forum and I should have reviewed it and replied earlier.

    I suppose we should start by asking how much of the account you are aware of.Like all clandestine operations and intelligence, it is difficult to separate the truth from myths.No doubt the truth will be revealed when public access to records is totally relaxed.At the moment they are tied up for 75 or 100 years from the end of the war and certain SOE records were disposed of when the organisation was wound up immediately after the war.

    Hi Harry, no probs.
    From what I've read over the last few days, Dericourt was responsible for a lot of agents deaths. The Germans were also copying all the post going back to the UK thru Dericourt. Military Intel might have had some hold over him as he stated he did what he had to protect the date of D-Day but I don't buy it.
    He always had money and that was a massive motivation. The best agent the Germans had in France was 'Gilbert' which was without doubt 'Dericourt'.
    [​IMG]
    Check out book, Harry. Excellent.
     
  8. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    All the seven Files on H.A.E. Dericourt are open. Saying that the first 5 appear to have extractions.
    The evidence against the man is said to be inconclusive. Dericourt was later tried by a French Court on the basis of evidence from German Documents,but was aquitted.
     
  9. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    All the seven Files on H.A.E. Dericourt are open. Saying that the first 5 appear to have extractions.
    The evidence against the man is said to be inconclusive. Dericourt was later tried by a French Court on the basis of evidence from German Documents,but was aquitted.

    Dericourt was only aquitted because Bodington, at the last minute, vouched for him in court. Dericourt and Bodington were friends from pre-war.
    H J Kieffer also admitted that Dericourt was BOE48.
     
  10. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    The "Dericourt affair" has been highlighted a number of times through various publications since the secrets of SOE first saw the light of day in the early 1960.There
     
  11. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    The "Dericourt affair" has been highlighted a number of times through various publications since the secrets of SOE first saw the light of of day in the early 1960s.But it proved to be a difficult task to reveal the history of the SOE to the public.

    There were two principle publications,one, the official history of the SOE,entitled "SOE in France" written by MRD Foot published by the HMSO in 1966 and can be regarded as the main reference.Two years work by Foot from 1960 to the first draft which had offficial constraints put on it by "the security authorities" in that Foot was not allowed to interview former members of SOE but was restricted to referencing official files which included personal files.This publication had the backing of Harold Macmillian who had been urged by parliament, notably people such as Dame Irene Ward MP and others outside parliament and was to be the official record of the SOE

    The other publication, "Inside SOE" was written by E H Cookridge who found permission from the "security authorities" not encouraging. Initially he was told that "Inside SOE" would never obtain security clearance and would never be published.Later he was told that the F.O would handle his enquiries and that his questionaire regarding the SOE would be considered.Months later in August 1959,John Profumo, F.O Under Secretary of State made the decision that "it is not possible for security reasons to allow you to have direct access to the archives of the SOE".Having commisioned MRD Foot to account for the official history of the SOE,Cookridge continued his tussles with the security authorites and was allowed to publish his individual account. Further,he was able to include many items which the security authorities previously wished to have deleted.His project took six years to complete and was published prior to the official version released in 1966.Cookridge wa sable to travel in Europe to interview about 600 people who had been involved on either side including those from the SD and Abwehr.(I think there were two versions of the publication,one for home consumption and the other for overseas.)

    The inner secrets of the "Dericourt affair" remained uncovered for 20 years after these publications but a BBC Timewatch programme in spring 1986 revealed suspicions relating to the involvement of MI6 with an SOE agent,namely Dericourt, an Air Movements Officer of the SOE French Section and the collapse of the Prosper network.The Timewatch programme "All the Kings Men" produced by Robert Marshall drew a response from Jean Overton Fuller which was published in the Daily Telegraph on May 7 1986 with the heading, "Betrayal that never was"

    An excerpt reads.....Sir, A monstrous allegation was made on BBC Timewatch (May 1) that Henri Dericourt,Air Movements Officer of SOE French Section,betrayed "the 400" agents of the British "Prosper" network to the Gestapo on order from Sir Claude Dansey, deputy head of MI6, in furtherance of a deception plan, Cockcade/Startey

    In the letter,Jean Overton Fuller, a well known researcher into wartime intelligence, raised doubt against this,proffering personal knowledge of Dericourt and his character.In her "The German Penitration of SOE",Jean Overton Fuller asks the question "Was there a single traitor to blame or was the network worm eaten from a number of sides;and was the downfall of the vital Prosper network linked to Operation North Pole?

    Robert Marshall then wrote a detailed account of Dericourt's activities and deeper relevations in March 1987 arising from an enormous amount of new material which could not be encompassed in a one hour television programme.His publication "All the Kings Men" "They Betrayed Their Own"."The astonishing wartime story of how MI6 treachery led to the loss of over 400 British and French agents" relates the deeper story.

    It is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand this particular facet of SOE history.
     
  12. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    Hi Harry. Thanks for above post. I have read 'All the Kings Men' but it was a long time ago. Maybe I need to go back to it.
    I think on whichever we agree, Dericourt caused untold misery. And one way or another a lot of lives were lost because of him.
     
  13. whjohnson

    whjohnson Junior Member

    Apologies for resurrecting this thread, but I have just reread Liane Jones's 'A Quiet Courage' The Women of SOE. I can recall being shocked at the time about the treachery of Bodington & Dericourt alluded to by Odette Churchill to the author at the time and how both 'got away' with it post-war. I read this book years ago when it was first published but it is only now that I found subsequent titles on the subject. 'All the kings men' has already been mentioned, but has anyone here read 'Dericourt: The Chequered Spy' by Overton-Fuller? If so, does it make any further sense of events? Regards W h johnson
     
  14. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Dericourt is an interesting case - I would say the jury is still out - his files and interrogations at TNA Kew have been ' accidentally ' been rendered almost unreadable as has his personal file.

    The Germans knew lots about what was going on from captured agents as well as poor security - also there is the MI6 Dimension

    Nick Bodington did well though he engendered the wrath of Vera Atkins - about whom questions should also be asked.
     
  15. Lofty1

    Lofty1 Senior Member

    (Quote) Has anyone here read 'Dericourt: The Chequered Spy' by Overton-Fuller? If so, does it make any further sense of events? (Quote)


    This book I own, and have on several occasions started reading it, only to find myself lost in its complexity,:confused: and given up by chapter five, and started all over again, and at this moment of time it remains unread, however I would be interested on the conclusions other readers came to who managed to get to grips with it.---- all of it.

    regards lofty
     
  16. whjohnson

    whjohnson Junior Member

    I have ordered copies of 'All The kings Men' and 'Dericourt: The Chequered Spy' and will post my observations when I have read them.
     
  17. Bernard O'Connor

    Bernard O'Connor Junior Member

    Bunny Rymill's son gave me his father's memoirs about Dericourt. I've typed them up and added comments here and there. People who've read it are critical that it contains much of Marshall's ATKM (All the King's Men) theories which JOF disagrees with in DTCS (Dericourt the Chequered Spy) and which The Secret War documentary rehashed.
    However, it's a personal account based on Rymill's reading/personal knowledge of D.

    I've got to edit in more comments but, should you be interested in reading the illustrated version, contact me:
    Bernard O'Connor
    fquirk202@aol.com
     
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  18. TrevorB

    TrevorB Junior Member

    Apropos Jedburgh22’s posting, and his mention of MI6.

    I am intrigued at the recall of Dericourt on 22/4/43 on London's orders. Two aircraft came, but he was the only passenger and only one plane landed. Foot says the trip was for a Verity (who picked him up) reprimand for a poorly placed flarepath.

    For this ‘rebuke’ and ‘staff matters’ he stayed almost a fortnight in the UK!

    A dose of common sense must make us wonder at the reasoning behind sending two Lysanders all that distance, when there were no agents infiltrated and only one brought back;
    that it is said that the recall was for a rebuke regarding the placing of the flarepath (heavens, a sharp reminder without recall would surely have been sufficient);
    and that things were so relaxed he could remain in the UK for almost a fortnight.
    I have difficulty with this! His duty was in France.

    Marshall’s book takes a few kicks regarding MI6 conspiracy theories. But he had to have had a source. Do Sporborg’s papers give a clue; and where are they.

    So, I wonder -
    Why two planes.
    Why the order not to land that was given to Bridger – was it because he wasn’t needed? Why then had he gone? Surely not for a jolly at government expense!
    Why might Dericourt REALLY have been recalled.
    And why the 13 days wait for return. (If because of urgent calls on the Squadron he had to await a convenient flight, then why – knowing the workload - bring him out).
    Are yarns of his early involvement with MI6 totally discredited. Or…….?

    TrevoB
     
  19. 76Habs

    76Habs New Member

    I have thought he was a traitor/collaborator for decades and Boddington is such a mystery , Vera Atkins became convinced and in Leo Marks book, while not commenting on Gilbert did refer to it. I do not believe MI6 would sacrifice so many agents especially as it wasn;t that near D Day.
     
  20. Hazel Clark

    Hazel Clark Member

    Having just re read several books relating to this business, I think that Jedburgh22 is correct. Unless someone has managed to unearth some more documentation, I doubt we will ever know the truth. As far as I can make out, the most recently published book relating to the collapse of the Prosper circuit, is that of Francis Sutill in which he tries to get to the bottom of what really happened to his father. He certainly seems to give no credence to the conspiracy theories, although Liane Ward, who wrote the earlier book, "A Quiet Courage" seems to be convinced. She quotes Marshall's book, "All The King's Men" as one of her sources, as well as hints from Odette Hallowes during interviews with her.

    Just realised this is a very old thread!

    Hazel C.
     

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