Authors Helen Fry and Derek Nudd will be meeting visitors and signing their new wartime books in the museum on Friday 6th October. Drop into the museum between 2pm-4pm to meet Helen and Derek. Usual admissions apply.
In 1940, behind locked doors in Kensington Palace Gardens on one of London’s most exclusive streets, British intelligence discreetly established a clandestine prison. It was called the London Cage, run by military intelligence officer Colonel Alexander Scotland whose home was at Bourne End in Buckinghamshire. At the London Cage, German prisoners of war, including top-ranking Nazis, were subjected to ‘special intelligence treatment’ designed to break their will and make them spill their secrets. The stakes could hardly be higher: the very outcome of the Second World War might hinge on obtaining information that the detainees were determined to withhold. At the end of the war, the interrogators turned to the grim task of uncovering the truth about German war crimes and the cage was transformed into a crucial centre for gathering evidence against those who had perpetrated atrocities. Until now, what happened there has remained a closely guarded secret. This riveting book reveals the full details of operations there as well as the subsequent efforts to hide them.
Helen Fry’s extraordinary original research paints rich portraits of the interrogators and their prisoners, and gives disturbing, compelling accounts of daily life revolving around systemic Soviet-style mistreatment. Fry also provides sensational evidence to counter official denials concerning the use of ‘truth drugs’ and ‘enhanced interrogation’ techniques.
A clear and chilling insight into a long-concealed chapter of military intelligence.’ Michael Jago, author of The Man Who Was George Smiley
‘A tour de force… Helen Fry’s absorbing and authoritative account of how Britain’s wartime spies used both brutality and guile to get vital intelligence out of German prisoners of war is a shocking but fascinating read.’ Michael Smith, author of Station X: The Codebreakers of Bletchley Park
Castaways of the Kriegsmarine: How shipwrecked German seamen helped the Allies win the Second World War
They thought their war was over when they were hoisted from the sea….. In truth they were just entering a murky world of eavesdropping, deceit and betrayal. Derek Nudd brings the survivors’ experiences to life in their own voices, introduces us to the interrogators they met, and tracks back the intelligence they yielded into the merciless arena of ocean combat.
Derek says, “I was drawn to this topic by curiosity about my grandfather, who led the Naval Intelligence section at Latimer House. As is the way with these things the story quickly gained a momentum of its own.”
December 1943 brought little cheer to Hitler’s Kriegsmarine:
As Mediterranean U-boats threw themselves into ever more desperately hopeless sorties against allied convoys a short, vicious battle in the Bay of Biscay sank a German blockade runner and three of the escorts trying to bring her in. On Boxing Day the battlecruiser Scharnhorst met her lonely end in the heaving, freezing waters of the Barents Sea off North Cape.
Only the most wilfully myopic of the exhausted, disoriented castaways brought to Latimer House and Wilton Park interrogation centres could believe in ultimate victory, a gift for the experienced interviewers awaiting them.
This tale follows the interwoven fates of the bedraggled captives and the Naval Intelligence team’s small, eclectic, irreverent band of reservists and Wrens.
Derek adds, “I ignore the movers and shakers, the German generals and senior staff whose egos were carefully groomed in long-term stays at Trent Park. Instead I look at the constant procession of ordinary matelots and seagoing officers, who passed through Latimer House and Wilton Park, were drained of their useful information, and ‘dumped’ to regular prisoner-of-war camps.”
Derek Nudd returned to writing after a degree in history and English, a master’s in Systems Analysis and a successful career in engineering. HIS first: Armageddon Fed Up With This – A Gunner’s Tale (Matador, 2015).