He was an unassuming Gibraltarian waiter known just as ‘Fred’, but to German intelligence he was an important secret agent supplying a steady stream of vital clues to the British war effort during World War II.
Except ‘Fred’ never existed. He was a figment of the extraordinary imagination of Juan Pujol Garcia, codenamed Garbo by the British because of his acting skills, one of the most successful double agents in history.
Along with his MI5 handlers, Garbo created a vast fictional network of agents, including Fred, to supply the Germans with false information.
Garbo’s deception was so good that the Germans even awarded him the Iron Cross for his services, despite the fact that, unbeknownst to them, his misinformation had helped ensure the success of the Allied D-Day landings in June 1944.
Today the British Security Service, MI5, will release a further 25 files on the Garbo case to The National Archives in Kew.
They contain details of a wartime spy story as good as any fiction.
FULL STORY IN OUR PRINT AND E-EDITIONS