With the recent D-day commemorations, just had to post this story about a clever bit of British ingenuity during World War 2. It shows when it comes to having a cup of good old British tea, all sorts of secrets can be spilled.
During the war, thousands of German POWs were held and bugged by the British. But when it came to a ground of German generals, they got extra special treatment. Held in glorious stately homes, they were given daily cups of tea, fed great food and even had personal servants.
But the Nazis didn’t realise all this pampering was for a purpose. With great amounts of tea, comes a great amount of gossip. And little did the buggers know that every part of their plush accommodation was bugged from the plant bots to the lampshades.
Information about the Nazi war machine was leaked by the idle chit chat as they supped tea and laughed at how stupid the British were. Every day, the allies got more and more information to gain the upper hand in the war.
A book about the event called The M Room: Secret Listeners who bugged the Nazis, written by Historian Helen Fry, details much of the conversations and how vital they were. To the point she believes it was as vital as the work done at the famous code-breaking Bletchley Park. So much so, in fact, that they were given an unlimited budget to glean as much info as possible.
“British intelligence got the most amazing stuff in bugging the conversations. Churchill said of Trent Park that it afforded a unique insight into the psyche of the enemy. It enabled us to understand the mind-set of the enemy as well as learn military secrets.
“If it wasn’t for this bugging operation, we may well have not won the war.”
Three locations were used – Latimer House near Amersham, Wilton Park near Beaconsfield, both in Buckinghamshire, and Trent Park near Cockfosters in north London. A mixture of captured U-Boat submarine crews and Luftwaffe pilots were kept there for a number of weeks, before being sent to other facilities.
Ironically, German Jews were used as translators after they had fled the country following Hitler’s desire to eradicate their fellow Jewish countrymen.
Behold the power of the British cuppa!