Secret War in Portugal [1939-1945]
For SOE [British Special Operation Executive] 24 Land was the code name for Portugal

22 November 2009

Operation Longshanks, Goa: a non-ending story

Quoting James Leasor's book Boarding Party, Johnn Grosvenor Beevor, head of SOE station in Lisbon states in his memoirs [Recollections and Reflexions, 1981] that operation against Axis ships in Goa [he forgets to mention the Italian vessel Anfora], conducted by Force 136 [Meerut] «suceed in kidnapping the radio operator», and the raid against the ships «was successdully carried out».
If that was the purpose of SOE's Operations Longshanks I agree the Brits can claim victory; but if the the plan aimed to capture the German Ehrenfels, Drachenfels, Braunfels, from Hansa Linien, and the above mentioned Anfora, then it was a fiasco. The crews set fire and sunk them [see photo]. A serious diplomatic crisis almost emerged. After all, Goa was neutral and Portugal and the United Kingdom were allies, after one of our oldest alliances. And where is Röffer, the captain of the Ehrenfels? And Robert Koch, the German spy ashore, and wis wife Grete? I made the research, wrote a book about the case [Operação Longshanks, O Espião Alemão em Goa], disagreeing with the official version of the events, and could not find any trace of them. Probably that is part of the story I have to start all over again...