Top secret war work

Envelope for one of the ‘Most Secret’ communications that Wheatley received during his time in the fortress-basement that was Churchill’s war-time headquarters. ©DW

During the Second World War, Wheatley was a member of Winston Churchill’s Joint Planning Staff, employed to confuse the enemy by writing ‘plausible, official documents’ on various aspects of the war and current affairs. Two years later, in 1941 he was invited to join the Joint Planning Staff of the Cabinet Office which was responsible, among other things, for enemy deception. His fertile imagination was given full rein.

Wheatley became a member of the London Controlling Section which planned such covert operations as ‘The Man Who Never Was’ and ‘Monty’s Double’. Wheatley and the rest of the team came up with many deception plans to mislead the enemy including plans that would lead to the success of ‘Operation Torch’, the landing of a large force in North Africa in 1943, and the deception plans for ‘Operation Overlord’, the D-Day Normandy landings in June 1944.

The North African landings at the end of the successful deception operation. ©DW
The cover page of ‘Operation Solo One’, part of the deception plans for ‘Operation Torch’. ©DW

Some of the deception plans that London Controlling Section were involved with:

November 1942, ‘Operation Torch’ was a deception plan to make the enemy believe that a large force was destined for Norway, when in fact, its destination was North Africa.

Another deception was ‘Operation Mincemeat’. The plan was to drop the dead body of an apparently senior officer off the coast of Spain carrying secret papers to indicate that the Allies were planning to invade Greece and Sardinia, rather than Sicily. The story is told in ‘The Man Who Never Was’. The author, Ewen Montagu, helped in the deception plan.

The following gallery gives information about his time in the army, other operations and non-fiction books.

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