Op JB by Christopher Creighton - Book Review
OP JB - The Last Great Secret of the Second World War by Christopher Creighton - Book Review
This book purports to tell of a British intelligence plan to kidnap Martin Bormann and bring him out of the ashes of Berlin in 1945, just as the war was coming to a crashing end.
Indeed, the writer insists that that is precisely what he did, accompanied by the late Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, after whom this operation was supposedly named.
You must forgive my scepticism, but the book is so full of amazing and extravagant claims that it makes it difficult to take anything too seriously. Did James Bond even exist in 1945? I doubt that.
Mister Crieghton claimed to be personal friends with Winston Churchill, Lord Louis Mountbatten, Ribbentrop the German foreign minister, and if that wasn't enough, you can throw in the King and good old Adolf himself, with whom he stood on the French cliffs watching allied servicemen being slaughtered during the Dieppe raid. Creighton had provided the Germans with the information of that raid to prove he was a genuine German double agent. Mmm. Sound plausible? Possibly not.
Conspiracy theories and outlandish claims abound throughout the 256 pages, such as the fact that the Germans were using Donegal in Ireland as an active U-boat base, that many of the Battle of Britain pilots were only sixteen, and in some cases, fifteen, and that he personally accounted for, (murdered even?) the entire crew of an allied Dutch submarine that had spotted the Japanese fleet on their way to attack the Americans at Pearl Harbour, to ensure that America came into the war.
The book opens with our Biggles-type hero diving from a British motor torpedo boat into a heavy swell, carrying an unbelievable amount of equipment and weaponry, and swimming into Dublin harbour at the dead of night. Surely any British agent entering the Irish republic would have done so by taking the ferry to Belfast and driving across the unmarked border, or better still, fly across in half in hour, and the job's done. But of course that would all be too dull, and too sensible.
Included in the book are some weird quasi sexual references sprinkled throughout work, such as the WRENS, (women's royal naval officers) in his unit who were regularly beaten with bamboo canes on the bare buttocks in full view of all the men, simply to toughen them up. Dear me!
My mother was attached to an intelligence unit in the WRENS through the war and wrote her memoirs afterwards, a book that I have recently had cause to revisit. Strangely, she makes no reference to such peculiar practices. I would dearly loved her to have read this book. How she would have laughed! Before firing off a letter or two!
The book climaxes with the successful kidnapping of Bormann from Berlin, (of course! What else did you expect?) as seemingly dozens of allied agents flew in and out of the decimated city on light Lysander aircraft without a care in the world, as the Red Army were smashing Berlin to smithereens.
If you enjoy conspiracy theory books, and the more outlandish the better, then this is right up your street. You will be amazed at what you didn't know.
As an afterthought, the man went on to become a film director, working in Prague in the sixties when all along he was really engaged on vital work for NATO. No surprise there then.
As proof of the story, library photographs of Bormann, Hitler, Mountbatten and Churchill are reprinted, but none feature the writer together with any of his supposed chums, not even Ian Fleming, and they were as close as close could be if this book is to be believed.
One of the most surprising things about this work is that Simon and Shuster should issue it at all, but even they did so with some reservations, stating rather shamefacedly I thought: "We have been unable to verify the writer's account by independent research." Yes, quite.
File it under fiction, treat it for what it is, and you might just enjoy it. Anything more than that, and I'd be amazed, but then again... who knows??!!
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