"The Walls Have Ears" by Helen Fry

The Walls Have Ears The Greatest Intelligence Operation of World War II Helen Fry

Publication date:
27 Aug 2019
Yale University Press
320 pages: 235 x 156mm
24 b-w illus.

A few days before the start of World War Two, Secret Intelligence Service spymaster Thomas Kendrick arrived at the Tower of London to trial a top secret operation: German prisoners’ cells were to be bugged and listeners installed behind the walls to record and transcribe their private conversations. This intelligence gathering mission proved so effective that it would go on to be set up at a further three sites – and provide the Allies with crucial insight into new technology and deadly V-weapons being developed by the Nazis.

In this astonishing history, Helen Fry uncovers the inner workings of the bugging operation.  On arrival at stately-homes-turned-prisons like Trent Park, high ranking German Generals and commanders were given a ‘phoney’ interrogation, then treated as ‘guests’, wined and dined at exclusive clubs, given cigars and whiskey, and encouraged to talk. And so it was that the Allies got access to some of Hitler’s most closely guarded secrets – and from those most entrusted to protect them.

Historian and biographer Helen Fry is the author of more than twenty books focusing mainly on intelligence, prisoners of war, and the social history of World War II. She lives in London.