Richard Hayes AKA Captain Gray-Ireland’s WWII code breaker.

Doertz

Although Ireland was neutral during WWII it didn’t stay completely out of the war.There were even some famous Irish war heroes like the Beamish brothers from Cork who became RAF flying aces.

beamish

On the other hand there were less conspicuous heroes, unlikely heroes even like Limerick man Richard Hayes.

He was born in Abbeyfeale, Co. Limerick and grew up in in Claremorris, Co. Mayo. He was educated in Clongowes Wood College in Klidare and in Trinity College in Dublin.

trinity

Richard Hayes was no soldier ,he was a librarian, in fact in he was the director of the National Library in Dublin. It is nor clear how Colonel Dan Bryan, head of Ireland’s G2 intelligence service identified Hayes as a code breaker, but he did, probably because Hayes,was highly regarded for his mathematical and linguistic expertise.

Great  Britain had complained of radio transmissions from a house in north Dublin owned by the German Embassy.ciphers had been found on another captured spy here. So with the support of Eamon de Valera, who always had a big interest in maths, Hayes was given an office and staff to go to work on the German codes.The coded messages were a substantial  threat to Irish national security and the wider war effort.

Hayes’s biggest  nemesis was Dr. Herman Görtz,

Gortz

In the summer of 1940, Görtz had parachuted into Ballivor, County Meath, Ireland uis goal was  to gather information. He moved in with former IRA leader Jim O’Donovan. His mission was to act as a liaison officer with the IRA to get their their assistance in case of potential German occupation of Britain. However, he quickly decided that the IRA was not reliable enough. On landing, he had lost the ‘Ufa’ transmitter he had parachuted with. Goertz, attired in a Luftwaffe uniform, then walked to Dublin. He was not arresested despite calling into a Garda barracks(police barracks) in Co Wicklow, asking for directions to Dublin.

Goertz’s  was eventually arrested in Dublin in November 1941, he was carrying a code later described by MI5 as “one of the best three or four in the war”.

The “Görtz Cipher” – which was a complex substitution of figures for letters had puzzled many of the greatest code-breaking minds at Bletchley Park, but the mild mannered librarian from Co.Limerick had cracked the code. The first of the Goertz messages to be successfully decoded was unlocked with the key ‘Cathleen Ni Houlihan’. Informed of the breakthrough by Hayes, Cecil Liddell of MI5 visited Dublin in 1943 and the Irish and British secret services continued to share intelligence information until the end of the war.

Another German spy in Ireland , Günther Schultz, had used an un-coded system of “microdots”, allowing tiny messages to be contained within the letter “O” in newspaper cuttings, which had baffled the American OSS. Hayes cracked that too , as well as enciphering system used by the  Sicherheitsdienst

The captured Germans only knew their quiet-spoken and polite interrogator as “Captain Gray”, only a few at the G2 secret service knew that Captain Gray was Richard Hayes.

Hayes

Hermann Goertz was released from jail in Athlone in August 1946, but was arrested again in 1947. Friday May 23, 1947 he arrived at the Aliens’ Office in Dublin Castle at 9.50 am and was told he was being deported to Germany . Goertz was afraid he would be handed to the Soviets ,he opted to take his own life.

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Sources

Irish Times

RTE Radio

Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

Goldeneye-James Bond in WWII

naval-commander-ian-fleming

I have to confess that the title is actually deceiving, because this blog is not about James Bond as such but more about 007’s creator, Ian Fleming, and some of his WWII efforts. Looking at some of the operations it appears that his inspiration for James Bond may have partially come from himself.

In May 1939 Fleming was recruited by Rear Admiral John Godfrey, Director of  the Naval Intelligence  Division of the Royal Navy, to become his personal assistant. He joined the organisation full-time in August 1939,with the codename “17F”, and worked out of Room 39 at The Admiralty.

800px-Old_Admiralty_Building_2

Ian Fleming was soon involved in several WWII operations.

Operation Ruthless

Operation Ruthless was the name of a deception operation devised by Ian Fleming in the British Admiralty during World War II, in an attempt to gain access to German Naval Enigma code books.

In conjunction The code breakers at Bletchley Park, working on the highly secret German Enigma traffic, were having difficulty breaking into the German Naval signals. It was suggested that directly obtaining German Naval code tables would be the the fastest method of making progress.

code breakers

In effect this meant capturing a German Naval unit with the code material intact. Fleming proposed a scheme to do just this:

“TOP SECRET.
For Your Eyes Only.
12 September 1940.
To: Director Naval Intelligence
From: Ian Fleming

Operation Ruthless

I suggest we obtain the loot by the following means:

1. Obtain from Air Ministry an air-worthy German bomber.
2. Pick a tough crew of five, including a pilot, W/T operator and word-perfect German speaker. Dress them in German Air Force Uniform, add blood and bandages to suit.
3. Crash Plane in the Channel after making SOS to rescue service.
4. Once aboard rescue boat, shoot German crew, dump overboard, bring rescue boat back to English port.

In order to increase the chances of capturing an R or M [Räumboot – a small minesweeper; Minensuchboot – a large minesweeper] with its richer booty, the crash might be staged in mid-Channel.

Bundesarchiv_Bild_101II-M2KBK-249-32_Frankreich_M-Boot_auf_See-595x383

The Germans would presumably employ one of this type for the longer and more hazardous journey.

NB. Since attackers will be wearing enemy uniform, they will be liable to be shot as franc-tireurs if captured, and incident might be fruitful field for propaganda. Attackers’ story will therefore be that it was done for a lark by a group of young hot-heads who thought the war was too tame and wanted to have a go at the Germans. They had stolen the plane and equipment and had expected to get into trouble when they got back. This will prevent suspicions that party was after more valuable booty than a rescue boat.”

Operation Goldeneye

Operation Goldeneye was an Allied plan during the Second World War, which was to monitor Spain after a possible alliance between Francisco Franco and the Axis powers, and to undertake sabotage operations. The plan was formed by Commander Ian Fleming

With no German takeover of Spain or invasion of Gibraltar, the plan was closed in 1943.

Map_of_Gibraltar_in_World_War_II

The object of the operation, was to ensure that the UK would still be able to communicate with Gibraltar in the event Spain joined the Axis powers. The plan also incorporated elements for the defense of Gibraltar had the Germans invaded through Spain.

Ultimately General  Franco , Spain’s dictator, declined to join the Axis powers, Adolf Hitler having refused to give Gibraltar and French North Africa to Spain after these had been seized.

Fleming later dubbed his Jamaican estate “Goldeneye”, and began writing his series of James Bond novels there.The name was also used for the title of the seventeenth James Bond film, GoldenEye starring Pierce Brosnan as Bond.

GoldenEye-02

30 Assault Unit

In Sep 1942, the Director of Naval Intelligence authorised the formation of the Special Intelligence Unit, composed of 33 (Royal Marines) Troop, 34 (Army) Troop, 35 (RAF) Troop and 36 (Royal Navy) Troop. The Special Intelligence Unit was later renamed 30 RN Commando (Special Engineering Unit), and was redesignated 30 Assault Unit in December 1943.

B Troop_33RM Section 30AU Jan 45

The unit was formed by Ian Fleming.

Fleming did not fight in the field with the unit, but selected targets and directed operations from the rear.[41] On its formation the unit was thirty strong, but it grew to five times that size.[42] The unit was filled with men from other commando units, and trained in unarmed combat, safe-cracking and lock-picking at the SOE facilities.

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Operation Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

bang_bang

I am just having a bit of fun here, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was never a WWII operation, however what many people don’t know this was the last book Ian Fleming ever wrote. But how cool would it have bnne if there actually had been an “Opertaion Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” The screen play for the movie was written by another WWII hero and legendary author, Roald Dahl.

DAHL

Fleming had first mentioned to friends during the war that he wanted to write a spy novel, an ambition he achieved within two months with Casino Royale. He started writing the book at Goldeneye on 17 February 1952, gaining inspiration from his own experiences and imagination.

007

 

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

BBC

ww2today