David Inderwick Strangeways DSO, OBE (26 February 1912 –1 August 1998) was a Colonel in the British Army who helped organize several military deceptions during World War II. After leaving the Army in 1957, he took holy orders.
Strangeways was born in Cambridge, the third son of Dr. T. S. P. Strangeways, founder of the Strangeways Research Laboratory. He attended Cambridgeshire High School for Boys and later Trinity Hall, Cambridge, reading History.
Strangeways was commissioned into the Duke of Wellington's Regiment in 1933 and served in the 1st Battalion based at Aldershot then Malta. After the outbreak of World War II, he was sent to France where he participated in a rearguard action while the British forces tried to reach Dunkirk. Strangeways successfully managed to evacuate part of his battalion on a Thames barge.
In 1942, Strangeways' career in military deception began in earnest. Sent from the War Office in London to Cairo, he reported to General Sir Harold Alexander with deception plans designed to fool the Axis powers as to the time and place of the Allied invasion of North Africa. The deception relied upon convincing the Axis powers that the massed landing craft were destined not for North Africa but to relieve beleaguered Malta. To bring about the deception, novelist and fellow deception officer Dennis Wheatley, based at the London Controlling Section, supplied Strangeways with a letter to an acquaintance in Cairo and a copy of his latest novel. The book, with the letter left inside, was then left at a Cairo hotel for enemy agents to find.
Strangeways then joined Brigadier Dudley Clarke's A-Force. His job was to use deception to gain a strategic and tactical advantage over the enemy in the Near and Middle East. He achieved this by using radio nets to broadcast false information. Decoy tanks and other vehicles were used in order to divert Axis forces away from the areas of Allied attack. Using a combination of bluff, boldness and speed, Strangeways was able to seize the German headquarters at Tunis before the Germans could destroy their secret documents.
In 1943, General Bernard Montgomery took command of 21st Army Group and requested that Strangeways take charge of R-Force. This was principally a deception force and consisted of armoured vehicles, field engineers and a wireless unit. Strangeways developed Operation Quicksilver, a significant part of Operation Fortitude, with the aim of fooling the Germans that the Allied invasion of Europe would take place at the Pas-de-Calais.
After the Allies' victory over Nazi Germany, Strangeways was given the role of political adviser to the Allied Commissioners for Westphalia and the Rhine. This role was a combination of intelligence work, administration of German detainees and border control. Later, following two staff appointments in England, Strangeways briefly joined the Green Howards. In 1949, a posting to the British Military Mission in Greece saw him advising the Greek government.
In 1952, Strangeways took command of the 1st Battalion the East Yorkshire Regiment. The regiment was on a three-year tour of Malaya and engaged in fighting the Communist insurgency during the Malayan Emergency.
Strangeways left the Army in 1957to attend Wells Theological College and gain Anglican holy orders. In 1958, his first appointment was as curate of Lee-on-the-Solent. From 1961 to 1965, he was vicar at Symondsbury, Dorset, followed by eight years at Holy Trinity Church, Bradford on Avon. He served as Chaplain at St Peter and St Sigfrid's Church in Stockholm and, in 1977, became Chancellor and Senior Canon of St Paul's Pro-Cathedral, Malta.
Strangeways retired in 1981 and returned to England, continuing to serve as a priest in the dioceses of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich and Norwich.
Operation Fortitude was the code name for a World War II military deception employed by the Allied nations as part of an overall deception strategy during the build-up to the 1944 Normandy landings. Fortitude was divided into two sub-plans, North and South, with the aim of misleading the German High Command as to the location of the invasion.
Operation Bodyguard was the code name for a World War II deception strategy employed by the Allied states before the 1944 invasion of northwest Europe. Bodyguard set out an overall stratagem for misleading the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht as to the time and place of the invasion. Planning for Bodyguard was started in 1943 by the London Controlling Section, a department of the war cabinet. They produced a draft strategy, referred to as Plan Jael, which was presented to leaders at the Tehran Conference in late November and, despite scepticism due to the failure of earlier deception strategy, approved on 6 December 1943.
Operation Husky was a major campaign of World War II in which the Allies invaded the island of Sicily and took it from the Axis powers. It began with a large amphibious and airborne operation, followed by a six-week land campaign, and initiated the Italian Campaign.
The 55th Infantry Division was an infantry division of the British Army's Territorial Army (TA) that was formed in 1920 and existed through the Second World War, although it did not see combat. The division had originally been raised in 1908 as the West Lancashire Division, part of the British Army's Territorial Force (TF). It fought in the First World War, as the 55th Division, and demobilised following the fighting. In 1920, the 55th Division started to reform. It was stationed in the county of Lancashire throughout the 1920s and 1930s, and was under-funded and under-staffed. In the late 1930s, the division was reduced from three to two infantry brigades and gave up some artillery and other support units to become a motorised formation, the 55th Motor Division. This was part of a British Army doctrine change that was intended to increase battlefield mobility.
Operation Copperhead was a small military deception operation run by the British during the Second World War. It formed part of Operation Bodyguard, the cover plan for the invasion of Normandy in 1944, and was intended to mislead German intelligence as to the location of General Bernard Montgomery. The operation was conceived by Dudley Clarke in early 1944 after he watched the film Five Graves to Cairo. Following the war M. E. Clifton James wrote a book about the operation, I Was Monty's Double. It was later adapted into a film, with James in the lead role.
Operation Titanic was a series of military deceptions carried out by the Allied Nations during the Second World War. The operation formed part of Operation Bodyguard, the cover plan for the Normandy landings in 1944. Titanic was carried out on 5–6 June 1944 by the Royal Air Force and the Special Air Service. The objective of the operation was to drop 500 dummy parachutists in places other than the real Normandy drop zones, to deceive the German defenders into believing that a large force had landed, drawing their troops away from the beachheads and strategic sites such as Caen.
The 76th Infantry Division was an infantry division of the British Army, which was formed in November 1941 and served during the Second World War. It was created when the Norfolk County Division, initially raised in 1940 to defend the Norfolk coast from a potential German invasion, was redesignated. The division maintained the defensive duties that had been assigned to it, prior to it being renamed, until late 1942 when it became a training formation. It was then responsible for providing final tactical and field training to soldiers who had already passed their initial training. After five additional weeks of training, the soldiers were posted to fighting formations overseas. The formation was used as a source of reinforcements for the 21st Army Group, that was fighting in the Normandy campaign. After all available British troops had left the United Kingdom for France, the division was disbanded in September 1944.
First United States Army Group was a fictitious Allied Army Group in World War II prior to D-Day, part of Operation Quicksilver, created to deceive the Germans about where the Allies would land in France. To attract Axis attention, prominent US general George S. Patton was placed in command of the fabricated formation.
The 61st Infantry Division was an infantry division of the British Army, raised in 1939 as part of the expansion of the Territorial Army in response to the German occupation of Czechoslovakia. The division was created as a duplicate of the 48th Infantry Division, and was assigned to home defence duties.
The 80th Infantry (Reserve) Division was an infantry division of the British Army formed at the beginning of 1943, during the Second World War. For the twenty months that the division existed, it was a training formation. It was made responsible for providing final tactical and field training to soldiers who had already passed their initial training. After five additional weeks of training, the soldiers would be posted to fighting formations overseas. Notably, the division was used as a source of reinforcements for the 21st Army Group, which was fighting in Normandy. After all available troops left the United Kingdom for France, the division was disbanded.
Brigadier Dudley Wrangel Clarke, was an officer in the British Army, known as a pioneer of military deception operations during the Second World War. His ideas for combining fictional orders of battle, visual deception and double agents helped define Allied deception strategy during the war, for which he has been referred to as "the greatest British deceiver of WW2". Clarke was also instrumental in the founding of three famous military units, namely the British Commandos, the Special Air Service and the US Rangers.
Operation Hardboiled was a Second World War military deception. Undertaken by the Allies in 1942, it was the first attempt at deception by the London Controlling Section (LCS) and was designed to convince the Axis powers that the Allies would soon invade German-occupied Norway. The LCS had recently been established to plan deception across all theatres, but had struggled for support from the unenthusiastic military establishment. The LCS had little guidance in strategic deception, an activity pioneered by Dudley Clarke the previous year, and was unaware of the extensive double agent system controlled by MI5. As a result, Hardboiled was planned as a real operation rather than a fictional one. Clarke had already found this approach to be wasteful in time and resources, preferring to present a "story" using agents and wireless traffic.
Ops (B) was an Allied military deception planning department, based in the United Kingdom, during the Second World War. It was set up under Colonel Jervis-Read in April 1943 as a department of Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander (COSSAC), an operational planning department with a focus on western Europe. That year, Allied high command had decided that the main Allied thrust would be in southern Europe, and Ops (B) was tasked with tying down German forces on the west coast in general, and drawing out the Luftwaffe in particular.
R Force was a British deception force during World War II that consisted of armoured vehicles, field engineers and a wireless unit. During Operation Fortitude it attempted to exaggerate the strength of Allied forces in Britain, and deceive German intelligence about Allied intentions. Later it performed a similar role during the fighting in Western Europe in 1944–45. It was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel David Strangeways.
Colonel Harry Noel Havelock Wild OBE was a British Army officer during the Second World War. He is notable for being second in command of the deception organisation 'A' Force and well as head of Ops. B. He was educated at Eton College.
The United States Army created a large number of notional deception formations that were used in a number of World War II deception operations. The most notable fictional US formation was the First U.S. Army Group (FUSAG); this field army was originally intended as the main invasion force for the Invasion of Normandy, however that was renamed to the 12th Army Group. FUSAG remained in existence on paper and was used during Operation Fortitude South to divert Axis attention to the Pas de Calais area.
Operation Graffham was a military deception employed by the Allies during the Second World War. It formed part of Operation Bodyguard, a broad strategic deception designed to disguise the imminent Allied invasion of Normandy. Graffham provided political support to the visual and wireless deception of Operation Fortitude North. These operations together created a fictional threat to Norway during the summer of 1944.
Operation Animals was a World War II mission by the British Special Operations Executive (SOE), in cooperation with the Greek Resistance groups ELAS, Zeus, EDES, PAO and the United States Army Air Force. The operation took place between 21 June and 11 July 1943 and included an organized campaign of sabotage in Greece, to deceive the Axis Powers into believing that Greece was the target of an Allied amphibious landing, instead of Sicily. Despite the mission's success, the Greek civilian population suffered from mass reprisals and British intervention into the internal affairs of the Greek resistance exacerbated the tensions between its various components.