The Washington Times ran my On Crime column on One Day in August: Ian Fleming, Enigma and the Deadly Raid on Dieppe.
Some years ago, I came across an account of the disastrous World War II raid on Dieppe written by a British naval intelligence officer who viewed the raid from the deck of a warship off the coast of France.
The intelligence report read like a thriller, which should come as no surprise, as the naval intelligence officer was Royal Navy Lt. Commander Ian Fleming, who went on to write the James Bond thrillers.
The Dieppe Raid was the stuff of thrillers, and Canadian historian David O’Keefe has written a fine book about the failed operation called “One Day in August: Ian Fleming, Enigma and the Deadly Raid on Dieppe.”
“In less than 9 hours on August 19th, 1942, over 1,000 Allied soldiers, sailors and airmen died in a raid on the German-held port of Dieppe, France in the English Channel,” Mr. O’Keefe said. “The vast majority of these deaths, 907, were taken by the Canadians, but the British and the Americans (fighting their first actions against Hitler in Europe) also paid a heavy toll. Right from the start, the excuses given for the inception and the intent behind the raid did not seem to fully explain what the Allies were attempting to do on that one day in August.”
Mr. O’Keefe went on to explain that newly released secret documents established that the raid was planned and launched primarily to solve the cryptographic blackout experience by both British and American Codebreakers when the Germans introduced a new version of their Naval Enigma machine for enciphering their Top-Secret communications.
... I asked what role Ian Fleming played in the raid and Mr. O’Keefe replied, “Lt. Commander Ian Fleming worked for the Royal Navy’s Directorate of Naval Intelligence during the war before becoming famous for his James Bond novels. Fleming was the assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence Admiral John Godfrey and worked as his “ideas man,” his “hitter” his “go-to guy” with his finger in every pie in the Allied intelligence world,” Mr. O’Keefe said.
“As established for the first time in the book, Fleming worked as an integral liaison officer linking the Naval Intelligence Division with MI5, MI6, the Joint Intelligence Committee, Ministry of Economic Warfare, Political Warfare Executive, Strategic Operations Executive, and Bletchley Park in England. He also was responsible for liaison with the FBI, the OSS (forerunner to the CIA) and the Office of Naval Intelligence in the United States.
“At the core of that multi-faceted portfolio was his responsibility for developing “pinch” policy or doctrine to aid the codebreakers at Bletchley Park and, in turn, to ‘sell’ that approach to the Americans once they entered the war.”
You can read the rest of the column below or via the below link:
You can also read my Counterterrorism magazine piece on Ian Fleming and his WWII 30 Assault Unit via the below link:
Note: Below is a photo of David O'Keefe and photos of the Dieepe Raid.