Not only in James Bond

Some people still believe that James Bond books and films are fiction. How naive.

Operation MincemeatI have just read Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre, the true story of a British operation during World War II, in which a dead body was equipped with forged papers and washed ashore in Spain. The idea was that the Spanish would pass on the paperwork to Germany who would find (false) plans of an invasion of Sardinia, Corsica and Greece, thus deviating their attention from Sicily where the actual invasion would take place.

The plan worked.

The man tasked with building the canister in which the dead (and rotting) body was smuggled to Spain on a submarine was Charles Fraser-Smith of “Q-Branch”.

His job was to furnish secret agents, saboteurs and prisoners of war with an array of wartime gizmos, such as miniature cameras, invisible ink, hidden weaponry and concealed compasses.

This is my favourite invention of all:

He invented garlic-flavoured chocolate to be consumed by agents parachuting into France in order that their breath should smell appropriately Gallic as soon as they landed.

Nice to have someone at the office who thinks of every little detail.

If Fraser-Smith reminds you of the Q you know from the James Bond films, that’s no coincidence. Ian Fleming, the author of the underlying novels, was an officer in British Naval Intelligence during World War II.


(Zur deutschen Fassung.)

About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a writer, a spy or a hobo.
This entry was posted in Books, France, History, Spain, UK, World War II and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Not only in James Bond

  1. Robert Miner 123mail says:

    Dear Andreas,

    Greetings to you from Jordan, where we still await your visit.

    You might remember, among all your diverse correspondence, that you helped me last year with questions of German “Einbuergerung”. (Still waiting for the response from Berlin via our local German embassy.)

    To this posting I must respond. I have worked for many years here in the Middle East with a certain Keith Fraser-Smith, who is the grandson of the “Q” you describe below. On numerous occasions he told me about the stories he had heard growing up.

    Certainly, it’s a small world.

    Thanks for all your help!


    ********************************* Robert Miner e-mail: (Please use only this mail address. Thank you.) Skype: robertminer tel. home: (962) 6 515 4903 tel. mob. (962) 777 980 870 tel. office: (962) 6 585 1640, ext 107 (new since Nov. 2011!) fax office: (962) 6 585 1640, ext 124 PO Box 1931 Amman 11118, Jordan **********************************

    • It’s a small world indeed, thank you for establishing the contact with Keith!

      I am sorry to hear that you are still waiting for your naturalization, although it’s not uncommon to take a while. I always think: “If you haven’t heard from the embassy yet, at least your request hasn’t been denied.”

      I am planning to spend this winter in Eastern Europe, but then I might plan a trip to the Middle East for the second half of 2015. It’s really a tough choice because there are so many interesting places and so little time.

  2. Keith Fraser-Smith says:

    Dear Andreas

    If you would like copies of “The Man Who Was Q” and “The Secret War of Charles Fraser-Smith” send me a mailing address and I will gladly send you free copies of the two paperbacks.

    Charles F-S was my uncle and a tentmaker in Morocco prior to WW2.

    He had a passion for the A-W.

    In Christ Jesus


    • Wow, you must have heard a lot of great stories from your uncle!

      Yes, I would be overjoyed if you were to mail me the books. Until the end of September 2014, my address will still be: “Andreas Moser, Interno 5, Via Niccolo Pizzoli 8, 70123 Bari, Italia”
      Thank you very much in advance already!

  3. Pingback: Pro-tip: Don’t ever return to the Office! | The Happy Hermit

  4. Pingback: Der echte Q | Der reisende Reporter

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