The spy who loved mar­ried women

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News -

DAHL was posted to Wash­ing­ton and New York as an air at­tache in 1942, tasked with ob­tain­ing in­for­ma­tion for Bri­tish in­tel­li­gence. Tall, hand­some and a for­mer fighter ace, he quickly made friends with the rich and in­flu­en­tial and was reg­u­larly in­vited to the White House.

Dahl soon found that the wives of pow­er­ful men felt ne­glected and could be per­suaded to dis­close valu­able tit­bits if they were given enough of the right kind of at­ten­tion.

An­toinette Haskell, the daugh­ter of Texan oil baron Charles Marsh, said ‘he [Dahl] slept with ev­ery­body on the East and West coasts that had more than $50,000 a year’.

One was Eva­lyn Walsh McLean, a glamorous widow whom he de­scribed as ‘fan­tas­tic and rather stupid’. She flirted with him to his great amuse­ment.

Dahl, who stood 6ft 6in, wrote to his mother: ‘I can’t help look­ing down and see­ing the closely guarded se­cret of her finely shaped bo­soms. She has enor­mous pads stuffed into her shirt front. The ef­fect is very good to any­one un­der 6ft 5in.’

Dahl was no­tably dis­tracted by an­other use­ful con­tact, Con­gress­woman Clare Boothe Luce, whose hus­band owned Time and Life mag­a­zines.

Dahl’s ap­petite for this ‘as­sign­ment’ be­gan to wane, how­ever, and one morn­ing he an­nounced to his boss that he was ‘all f ***** out’ be­cause Mrs Luce ‘had screwed him from one end of the room to the other for three god­damn nights’.

When he re­turned to Buck­ing­hamshire af­ter the war, he took his neph­ews’ nanny ‘sight­see­ing’ in Lon­don… al­though she re­turned telling ev­ery­one about the size of the baths at the Savoy Ho­tel.

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