During the Second World War the offices at 58 St James Street, London, were used by the British intelligence organisation MI5. From January 1941, weekly meetings were held here by the Double Cross Committee, which was composed of Allied government and military personnel. The committee, and the MI5 personnel working at this building, ran secret agents who fed the Germans false information connected to D-Day, the most famous of whom was ‘Garbo’ (Juan Pujol).
The members of the Double Cross Committee worked on part of the Allied deception plan for D-Day, codenamed Operation Fortitud. While the Germans knew a great deal of information about the Allied plans for landing forces in north west Europe, they did not know the two most crucial facts: when and where the Allies would invade. These secrets were to be kept by convincing the enemy an attack was to occur at a different place and time from the reality. This was achieved by providing false information through double agents.
The results were an outstanding success for the Allies. Based on the misinformation spread through the Double Cross System, the Germans focused many of their forces in the Pas de Calais (northern France), in anticipation of an invasion there. Even after D-Day, significant German reserves were held to the north in case Normandy was merely a division for a subsequent attack there. The work of the Double Cross Committee saved thousands of lives and helped establish the overall success of Operation Overlord.
|Address||58 Saint James's Street, St. James's, London SW1A, UK|
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