LCS – London Controlling Section
- Messengers of Deception by Jacques Vallee
The members of the London Controlling Section in 1944.
The table, carpets, and the dancing faun on the table all belonged to DW.
When Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin took the decision at the Tehran Conference in November / December 1943 that the invasion of Normandy would take place the following summer, LCS swung into action to create cover plans. DW described the following six weeks as among the most interesting in his life.
Taking his lead from a comment of Churchill’s that ‘Our intentions must be surrounded by a bodyguard of lies’, Bevan gave the operation the codename Bodyguard.
Operation Bodyguard had many subsidiary plans. One was to persuade the Germans that the Russians were about to launch a major offensive against Finland – something Bevan journeyed to Moscow in January 1944 to arrange. Another (Operation Graffham) involved discussing with Sweden what they would do in the event of an Allied invasion of Norway, in the knowledge that the information would almost certainly be fed back to Germany.
Perhaps the most famous of LCS’s schemes was the creation of FUSAG – the fake First US Army Group that was supposed to be stationed in Kent under General Patton in preparation for an attack on the Pas de Calais, while the real Expeditionary Forces destined for Normandy were being assembled in Hampshire.
DW told the story of how, when they were crafting their plans for submission to the Chiefs of Staff, they became increasingly long and set about by caveats. DW was worried they had become so cautious and long winded that they would be rejected, and set about persuading Bevan to shorten and simplify them.
To read the amusing story of how he achieved this, click here.
As DW modestly concluded :
‘I was undoubtedly highly incompetent in the matter of staff duties. I took long lunches from which, at times, I returned slightly tight. I spent hours coffee-housing with my friends in the mess and the Air Ministry. I was lazy and indifferent about all minor problems to do with deception. But at least I saved dear, brilliantly capable but over conscientious Johnny from being given a bowler hat by pushing him into redrafting plan Bodyguard’.
References :’The Deception Planners’ Chapter 14-16
Phil Baker pp 422 -3.
Craig Cabell Chapters 26 – 27.
Tina Rosenberg Chapter 9
Provenance: Private Collection
Brief biographical details of the other members of the London Controlling Section in the photograph
Major Derrick Morley
Joined the London Controlling Section March 1943 (7th full time member)
Banker and playboy pre-war and in later life one of DW’s closest friends.
Dedicatee of DW’s novel ‘The Sultan’s Daughter’
Major Neil Gordon Clark (1898-1985)
Joined the London Controlling Section March 1943 (6th full time member)
Served in the Royal Tank Corps in World War I. Co-head before the war of Matthew Clark & Sons, agent for Martell Brandies.
Major Harold Peteval (1900-1977)
Joined the London Controlling Section August 1942 (3rd full time member)
Too young to serve in World War I, before the war he was manager of a soap factory, and served under Bevan for two years in the early days of the war, being evacuated from Dunkirk.
Junior Commander Lady Jane Pleydall-Bouverie (14.9.23 to 21.7.06)
Eldest Daughter of 7th Earl Radnor. Married Richard Anthony Bethell. (Source : Ian Sayer).
Not referred to in ‘The Deception Planners’.
Colonel John Bevan (05.04.1894 – 12.1978)
Inaugural London Controlling Officer June 1942 – September 1945
Son of a Chairman of the London Stock Exchange, he won an MC in World War I.
After the War he was Chairman of the prestigious stockbroking firm of David A Bevan & Co. and was DW’s stockbroker.
According to the 2004 drama /documentary ‘Fooling Hitler’ (Tiger Aspect, 2004), in later life, Bevan became Privy Chancellor, overseeing the Royal Family’s finances. I have however so far been unable to verify this.
Dedicatee of DW’s novel ‘The Ka of Gifford Hillary’
Wing Commander Dennis Wheatley (08.01.1897 – 10.11.1977)
Deception Section of FOPS 12.1941 -05.1942
Along with Bevan one of the first two members of the London Controlling Section (served June 1942 – December 1944)
Lieutenant Colonel Ronald Wingate (4th member of LCS) (30.9.1899-31.08.1978)
Joined the London Controlling Section September 1942 (4th full time member)
(Appointed Deputy Controlling Officer in Dec 1942, and Controlling Officer in succession to Bevan Sept 1945)
Diplomat. Before the War he was Governor of Baluchistan.
Dedicatee of DW’s novel ‘Traitors Gate’
Commander James Arbuthnott (1894 – 1985)
Joined the London Controlling Section September 1942 (5th full time member)
Served in World War I and subsequently became Chief Executive of Scottish Lands, at the time the biggest tea plantation corporation in Ceylon.
He was also a director of Dickson Anderson & Co. (Tea Agency) London from 1947 until 1970 when he retired
(source : Ian Sayer)
Commander Alec Finter from Cairo (1900-1968)
Actor (Source : Ian Sayer)
Transferred to the London Controlling Section for 2 months in 1943 on an exchange suggested by Dudley Clarke. Finter later transferred to Eisenhower’s Allied Deception staff at Norfolk House.
Not in photograph:
Sir Reginald (‘Ralph’) Hoare (19.07.1882 – 12.08.1954)
(8th full time member)
Son of Charles Hoare, Senior Partner of Bankers C.Hoare & Co
Envoy Extraordinary and Minister plenipotentiary to Persia in 1931
Envoy Extraordinary and Minister plenipotentiary to Rumania in 1934
Dedicatee of DW’s novel ‘Codeword Golden Fleece’
Professor Edward Neville da Costa Andrade (1887-1971)
(Joined the London Controlling Section on part time attachment some time after Sir Reginald Hoare’s arrival)
Referred to, presumably in error, in ‘The Deception Planners’ as Professor H A de C (‘Percy’) Andrade, President of the Royal Society.
Among other things the inventor of the metal cricket which airborne forces used as a recognition signal on D-Day (source : Ian Sayer).
Captain Gordon Waterfield (24.05.1903 – 17.12.1989)
Author and broadcaster . A member of the London Controlling Section for a few months. (source : Ian Sayer).
Not mentioned in ‘The Deception Planners’.Joan EdenPrivate Secretary to the London Controlling Section