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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces part of
The Man Who Never Was

Ewen Montagu

published by
J. B. Lippincott Company
Philadelphia and New York,

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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Chapter 1

 p13  Author's Note

This is a true account of an Operation carried out in the years 1942‑1943. Such facts as are not within my own personal knowledge are derived from contemporary documents and reports, and are neither based on anyone's recollection of what happened ten years ago nor on anyone's attempts to justify his actions or those of his associates.

I naturally could not speak or write about it until a fictional story partially based on this operation, and references in German memoirs to the receipt of the documents which formed the basis of this deception, made it clear that it would no longer be possible to maintain that secrecy which all of us who took part in the operation had preserved. This fact was recognised by the authorities, who doubtless appreciated the possible dangers and disadvantages which might result from publication by partially informed writers, and I was given official permission to publish the full story.

The operation was carried out by a team who must,  p14 unfortunately, remain anonymous as some of them are still in Government service, therefore I have substituted a false Christian name for "George's" real one; I have also, of course, maintained the secrecy of "Major Martin's" identity. Where I have referred to other persons I have used the titles and ranks that they held at the time of the operation.

If anyone studies this story, some good may result. Perhaps, when some "leakage" of a secret document is reported, the public may not be so ready as they have been to blame our security services; they may wonder whether the security services have been stupid — or clever?

I must record my thanks to Lord Ismay for his help in 1942 and 1943 and for writing the Foreword, as well as to Jack Garbutt of the Sunday Express for his great kindness and for the wise advice which he gave me on this, my first, excursion into author­ship.

I wish to acknowledge my deep indebtedness to all my colleagues, without whose loyal help and brilliant inventiveness there could have been no "Operation Mincemeat." And also my indebtedness to Viscount Norwich, without whose unwitting assistance there could have been no publication of this story.

Ewen Montagu

Warren Beach,

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Page updated: 13 Dec 20