Tar­gets of Nazi ‘Black Book’ re­vealed

De­tails of more than 2,800 Bri­tish res­i­dents who were to be cap­tured in the event of a Ger­man in­va­sion have been made avail­able to ex­plore on Forces War Records

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A ‘ hitlist’ nam­ing Bri­tish res­i­dents that were to be cap­tured in the event of a Ger­man in­va­sion has been made avail­able on­line.

Re­searchers from Forces War Records ( forces-war-records. co.uk) have up­loaded a tran­scrip­tion of the Nazis’ in­fa­mous Son­der­fah­n­dungsliste G.B. ( Spe­cial Search List G.B.) to the web­site’s col­lec­tions, where it can be searched free of charge.

Dubbed the ‘Black Book’ upon its dis­cov­ery by the Al­lies in 1945, the doc­u­ment re­veals the names of more than 2,800 men and women who were to be ar­rested fol­low­ing Op­er­a­tion Sea Lion – Adolf Hitler’s failed plan to an­nex Bri­tain to the Third Re­ich.

Names on the list range from ob­vi­ous political tar­gets such as Prime Min­is­ter Win­ston Churchill, who was to be placed in the cus­tody of Amt VI (the Nazi for­eign in­tel­li­gence depart­ment), to en­ter­tain­ers such as Noël Coward.

How­ever, the book also con­tains de­tails of lesser-known fig­ures classed as po­ten­tial “en­e­mies of the state, traitors and un­de­sir­ables” and were to be pun­ished for ear­lier ac­tions against Nazi Ger­many.

This in­cludes Con­rad Fulke Thomond O’Brien-ffrench, a for­mer sol­dier and MI6 agent who es­tab­lished a spy net­work that stretched deep into the heart of Ger­many dur­ing the 1930s. It was dur­ing this time that he be­friended Ian Flem­ing, who is be­lieved to have used O’Brienf­french as the in­spi­ra­tion for fic­tional se­cret agent James Bond.

How­ever, Tim Hay­hoe, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Forces War Records, said the ‘spook’ had been ac­tive from as early as the First World War, when he re­layed im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion back to Lon­don af­ter be­ing taken pris­oner at the Bat­tle of Mons.

“Al­though cap­tured, [ O’Brien-ffrench] nev­er­the­less man­aged to send let­ters in in­vis­i­ble ink to Cath­leen Mann, the ‘Moneypenny’ to Ma­jor Ste­wart Men­zies of Bri­tish Coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence,” he said.

“They con­tained de­tails of troop move­ments and of a pro­to­type heavy bomber, among other vi­tal facts.”

As well as ex­pla­na­tions of mil­i­tary jar­gon, the on­line ver­sion of the book – which has been trans­lated from Ger­man by Mr Hay­hoe and his col­leagues – pro­vides bi­o­graph­i­cal de­tails for many of the peo­ple named. The tran­scrip­tions were cre­ated us­ing one of only two sur­viv­ing copies of the orig­i­nal doc­u­ment, cur­rently held by Im­pe­rial War Mu­se­ums.

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