Saturday, February 17, 2024

Operation Mincemeat

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

In a cemetery in Aberbargoed stands a memorial stone. On it is the inscription, “In recognition to the allied war effort by Glyndwr Michael of Aberbargoed”. But who was Glyndwr Michael and what did he do?

Glyndwr Michael was a homeless tramp who had died from eating rat poison.  The poison had caused pneumonia and he had died without any known relatives to mourn him.

So the question remains, “What did this penniless, insignificant man do to contribute to the war effort in 1943?”
The answer is found in an enigmatic inscription on the top of the memorial stone.

“Y dyn na fu erioed”.

Below is the English translation.

“The man who never was”.

Glyndwr Michael was, unknowingly, instrumental as one of the greatest deceptions named Operation Mincemeat which was carried out by British Intelligence to fool the enemy.  His body was acquired by the Intelligence service who then created a wholly fictitious person by the name of Major William Martin (Royal Marines).

Michael, as Major Martin, was given a whole newfake identity right down to personal letters and a receipt for an engagement ring, and his body dropped into the sea from a submarine off the coast of Spain. 

Major Martin was carrying fake secret documents about the proposed allied invasion of Greece and Sardinia.  The true target for invasion was Sicily.
The papers inevitably ended up in the hands of the Nazi commanders who swallowed the lie and diverted their defences away from the vital areas where the invasion was to take place. 

It was later argued that the ruse led to the saving of many lives and a shortening of the war.

What did Glyndwr Michael do? He literally gave his body – unknowingly – to save others.

As we think of that action, we have to admit that Michael’s contribution has some significant similarities to the greatest sacrifice of all times – the death of the Lord Jesus Christ.

But although there are some similarities, there are also many differences – and the differences are enormous.

It is true that both gave their bodies, but Michael gave his body unknowingly and, it must be said, without consent. On the other hand, as Jesus went to the cross, He did so readily and willingly, knowing everything that lay before Him.  As He instituted the Lord’s supper, He could say as He passed around the broken bread, “This is my body, given for you!”

Operation Mincemeat was one big lie.  It can be argued that the lie was for the greater good, but it was founded upon falsehood – as so much of intelligence and counter intelligence often is.  On the other hand, Jesus’ death was founded upon truth. He, Himself, declared, “I AM the Truth” (John 14 v 6) and his sacrifice upon Calvary was the fulfilment of many faithful and true prophecies made down through the centuries.

Glyndwr Michael was part of the struggle of World War 2, which, although it came to an end, was just one of many fights and battle that have marked the last century. He was just a small cog in a very large war machine. The Lord Jesus single handedly fought and won the greatest battle of all the ages – the battle against sin and death, and that battle and His victory in it will bring about the end to all conflict.

Finally, Operation Mincemeat brought about the saving of many lives from death and injury in warfare.  But some of those saved were later killed in other battles in the war.  Jesus brings life eternal to all who will receive Him.
His words have been proven to be true by all those who have made Him their Saviour.

“I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”


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