‘Operation Mincemeat’ is a war drama film. It was suspended during World War II, following the Allies as it tried to overthrow Hitler’s regime in Europe. In order to deceive the invading German troops from the Allied Attack of Sicily, two British intelligence agents plotted and devised a clever plan to disguise the corpse as a military officer and strategically invest it in finding enemies. However, they must tread carefully to defeat the Germans and make their plan before the end of time.
Detailed narratives and characters are made by fascinating actors led by Colin Firth and Matthew MacFadyen. Moreover, the realistic background makes the audience wonder if Operation Mincemeat film is based on real events in history.
Is Operation Mincemeat A Real Story?
Yes, ‘Operation Mincemeat’ is based on a real story. It is based on a book by Ben Macintyre about the real Operation Mincemeat, a brilliant 1943 masterpiece that was organized and executed by British intelligence. It was thought to divert the attention of German troops from Operation Husky, where the Allied forces planned to invade and replace the island of Sicily with Axis power.
The inspiration for Operation Mincemeat came from the 1939 Trout Memo released by British rear intelligence director Admiral John Godfrey. This article outlines a number of strategies and suggestions on how to attract German submarines and ships to dangerous areas in order to conquer them. In this list, point 28 suggested that misleading papers be included in the corpse to be found by enemies.
However, Macintyre suggested in his letter that the memo looked very much like the work of Godfrey’s assistant Lieutenant Commander Ian Fleming, who later wrote a series of James Bond spy novels. After a plane crash off the coast of Cádiz, Spain, in September 1942, British spies discovered that despite their neutral stand, the Spaniards transmitted information obtained from the German intelligence service Abwehr.
Therefore, Charles Cholmondeley, secretary to the intelligence team of the double agent, the Twenty Committee, has made his own version of the above-mentioned proposal in the Trout Memo. According to Cholmondeley’s plan, the lungs of a corpse found in London hospitals will be flooded, and important inscriptions will be planted in the inner garment pocket. This will ensure that when the body is found by the enemy, they will believe that a human plane was shot down.
As the Twentieth Committee questioned Cholmondeley’s plan, chairman John Masterman assigned naval officer Ewen Montagu to work with him on the development. The latter was working in the Naval Intelligence Division under Godfrey at the time and was told about the suitability of the fraudulent job.
Montagu and Cholmondeley worked with MI6 representative Major Frank Foley to improve their strategy. With the help of a gynecologist, they concluded that the lungs did not need to be filled with water, since the Spaniards did not like autopsies. On January 28, 1943, investigator Bentley Purchase of London’s Northern District contacted Montagu and handed over the body of Glyndwr Michael, a homeless Wales man living in London, who died after consuming rat poison.
Michael was given the fake ID of Captain (Acting Chief) William Martin of the Royal Marines and assigned to the headquarters of Combined Operations. However, it was not until the 1990’s that his true identity was revealed to the public. The name William Martin and the position given to him were common in those days in the Royal Marines and as a result, it was chosen to make the corporation ownership generic and unconfirmed. Moreover, his position made him qualified to handle sensitive documents but not to be a known face.
In addition, letters such as a photograph of a fake bride named Pam, letters from her and Martin’s father, a receipt for a marriage proposal, and other such documents stamped with ink that will last longer in seawater, are placed in the pockets of the corpse. Not only that, he added extra sleeping money, lumps of tea tickets, a stamp book, cigarettes, and keys, among other things, to prove that Martin was in London a few days before his death.
MI5 member Captain Ronnie Reed was photographed with an ID, as it was very similar to Michael’s face. Montagu and Cholmondeley then spent the next few days wearing uniforms and IDs to look like they had been working. In a keynote address, Lieutenant General Sir Archibald Nye, deputy chief of the Imperial General Staff, helped deliver the book by hand, as designed by Montagu.
Written to General Sir Harold Alexander, commander of the 18th North African Armed Forces, the letter clearly stated that Sicily was a covert operation in the Balkan invasion and wasted on the main purpose of the mission. Martin’s introductory letter from Vice-Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten was also included in the manuscript, and a single black elash was added to the letter to later confirm that the Germans or Spanish had opened it. The inscriptions were re-inserted into a bag and fastened with a leather-wrapped chain tied to a coat of mail.
Considering the waves and currents and the presence of German intelligence ambassador Adolf Clauss in Huelva, Spain, it was chosen as the place where the body would be laid. In addition, it was decided that the submarine would be used as a means of transportation for practical reasons. The plan was eventually approved by both Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Governor Dwight D. Eisenhower. On April 17, 1943, the body was exhumed and taken to Greenock, Scotland, and placed in the hull of the HMS Seraph submarine.
Finally, on the morning of April 30, 1943, the body was released from the water, off the coast of Huelva. The archive was later destroyed, and the body of “Major Martin” was found by a local fisherman later that morning. Spanish troops carried the body to a naval judge in Huelva, and British ambassador to the United States Francis Haselden was also informed. He was part of Operation Mincemeat privately, which is why he ensured that the body was buried with all due respect, without an autopsy.
Haselden also sent pre-recorded telegrams to his superiors, the British knowing they were being captured by the Germans. As soon as news of the autopsy reached the Abwehr agents, the head Admiral Wilhelm Canaris pressured the Spaniards to hand over the bag, and the carefully crafted information was passed on to the Germans. On May 11, 1943, when the bag was returned to London by Haselden, a forensic examination of the missing elash proved that the Germans were tampering with documents.
Three days later, on May 14, 1943, German communications were removed to hide the code by Ultra – a signal intelligence unit – signaling a warning that the Balkans were under attack. Therefore, Hitler was convinced that Sardinia and the Peloponnesus were of great interest to the British, and he and Mussolini recruited most of their troops to defend Greece, Sardinia, and Corsica.
On July 9, 1943, the Allies invaded Sicily under Operation Husky, and because of a lack of strongholds, the Germans conquered. In view of its great success, Operation Mincemeat is considered one of the most ingenious military tactics in World War II history. A few books and similar games have been created.
In an interview in May 2022, director John Madden shared that the story did not make much sense when he was growing up in England. But Ben Macintyre’s book and several downloaded MI5 files brought the story to light. “It’s one of those stories [where] you think, ‘Really ?!’ as you get into it,” he said. Madden went on to say, “Your weirdness and your weirdness and your playfulness is a weird point to get into World War II film … and it’s very interesting because it’s real.”
However, some parts of the movie have been slightly exaggerated for entertainment purposes. Therefore, we can say that ‘Operation Mincemeat’ in particular is a true reflection of an incredible reality event and honors the efforts of those who participated in the actual operation. “Operation Mincemeat.”