The German wireless deception leading to the deaths of three SOE agents sent to France.

France AntelmeLionel leeMadeleineDamerment

On the night of 28/29 February 1944, SOE agents France Antelme on his third mission to France, wireless operator Lionel Lee and Madeleine Damerment arrived by parachute near the city of Chartres to start a clandestine circuit called Bricklayer.

It is now believed sometime in late 1943 Canadian agents Frank Pickersgill and Ken Macalister had been arrested during which their wireless and codes were found, and a German operator started playing back their set and because the correct codes were being used no suspicion was raised in London. It was the Gestapo, not the Canadian agents who requested these agents be sent and consequently were dropped to the waiting Germans.

From the post war investigation, we see Antelme was furious and began fighting the Gestapo officers before eventually being restrained and the three agents were taken to Avenue Foch, Gestapo Paris HQ where Antelme refused to talk whilst being tortured. Antelme and Lee are recorded as being executed at Gross Rosen Concentration Camp in Lower Silesia and Madeleine Damerment along with three other female SOE agents were transported to Dachau in Germany where they were forced to kneel before being shot through the base of their necks. Canadian agents Pickersgill and Macalister along with several other SOE agents were executed by slow strangulation with piano wire suspended from hooks in the crematorium at Buchenwald concentration camp sometime in February 1944.

Also see SOE Agents Frank Pickersgill and Ken Macalister    Canadian SOE Agents Frank Pickersgill and Ken Macalister – Alan Malcher

Alan Malcher

Author: Alan Malcher

Military historian and defence commentator

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