Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The adventures of Blunderhead, spy who wrote his own 'love manual' and had a 'fabulously bizarre' career

Ben Levin's inspiration?
He was known by his spymasters as Blunderhead – and judging by his wartime exploits, never was a secret agent more appropriately named.

Ronald Seth was one of the most colourful figures working for the British secret service or Special Operations Executive – and probably one of its least conventional.

Seth’s career was outlined by bestselling historian Max Hastings at the Chalke Valley History Festival, which is sponsored by the Daily Mail.

The Mail writer entertained a festival audience with a lecture on his book, The Secret War: Spies, Codes and Guerrillas 1939-1945, focusing on exploits of lesser-known spooks, code-breakers and guerrillas.

From a Japanese spy dubbed ‘Lawrence of Manchuria’ to a Stalinist assassination plot using exploding chocolates, Sir Max hailed the wartime impact of men and women ‘who never fired a shot’.

Seth’s ‘fabulously bizarre’ career began with him parachuting into occupied Estonia to help destroy shale oil refineries. Swiftly captured, he offered to work as a Nazi double agent and was next seen wandering about Paris in Luftwaffe uniform.

He engineered a return to Britain, claiming to bear peace proposals from SS chief Heinrich Himmler, telling interrogators he expected to be viewed as a hero and recounted unlikely feats including shooting two Nazis on the Metro.  (more...)

Bizarre is the new normal:

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