Daily Event for April 30

April 30, 1943 as the HMS Seraph P-219 approached the coast of Spain a very important passenger was
about to depart the submarine. Major William Martin of the Royal Marines had been assigned a very important
mission. It was his job to convince the German's that the upcoming landings on Sicily would really take place
in Greece. The plan required Major Martin to be captured by the Spanish and have the contents of his briefcase
intercepted by the German Abwehr. He had to accomplish this without allowing the Spanish learning his true

Everything went as planned, Major Martin was picked up and the contents of his briefcase were given a
complete going through and as expected the Spanish informed the German's who had the information sent
directly to Adolf Hitler himself. Hitler, believing the landings would be on Greece moved a great number of
his forces into place at the specified landing points, far from the true landing points on the southern end of

Major Martin did his job flawlessly, his identity was never found out by the German's or even perhaps by the
British. Major Martin you see was just a name given to a corpse from a London mortuary. The dead man was
dressed in a British uniform and had a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist. He was given the normal items you
might expect to find on a soldier such as photographs of his nonexistent girlfriend, money and even a ticket
stub from the theatre. He was then loaded in a canister and placed aboard the HMS Seraph. Under the command
of Lt. N. Jewell the submarine dropped off the body near the Spanish town of Huelva.

When his body was found the Spanish alerted the British Naval attache' in Madrid and then the German's. The
British attache' had no idea of the operation and informed London about the dead man found on the coast.
London in turn sent several messages stating the importance of gaining the contents of the briefcase before
the Spanish authorities opened it. His instance that the case not be molested in any way gave the Spanish and
the German's the impression of authenticity the British wanted them to have about the documents inside.

As stated before all went as planned, the Spanish informed the German's and the German's reacted in the
predicted manor thus making the landings on Sicily that much less deadly for the Allies. Many soldiers owe
their lives to Major Martin,... the man who never was.

© 2006 Michael W. Pocock

HMS Seraph P-219 seen in 1944