Milton Bryan was by now becoming a powerhouse of intelligence gathering. The debrief of R.A.F. crews provided a regular estimate of the damage to German cities and supportive evidence came from aerial photographs, rushed to M.B. by despatch rider to Milton Bryan. A special section in Child’s team then carried out the analysis. A radio monitoring service also existed and even a direct line to Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre.
As the fame of Delmer’s operation grew, so more and more visitors, British and American, asked to be shown around the premises with it’s record library, newspaper and radio newsrooms, intelligence files and studios. In fact records were especially made at M.B. by the German equivalent of the E.N.S.A. band, conducted by Henry Zeisel. When touring, the unit had been captured in North Africa by the Eighth Army and sent to Britain. The band of the Royal Marines also co-operated with M.B., their recordings being made in the Albert Hall. In the United States even Marlene Dietrich made special records although she was not told of their use on black stations. The programmes certainly found
The Albert Hall. Here the band of the Royal Marines made special records for Milton Bryan
a ready audience and their popularity compelled Himmler to admit ‘we have forbidden listening in to enemy stations, but we have not been able to punish all who have listened’.

Apart from the usual transmissions of black propaganda, from the end of 1943 M.B. also became adept - via Aspidistra - at wreaking havoc with the Luftwaffe air operations. A number of M.B. personnel had been involved with the genuine service and the deception concerned the recording of German ground control instructions one night and then re-transmitting them on the next, so sending the German fighters on false missions across the night skies! When asked by Milton Bryan, in a reciprocal gesture the R.A.F. bomber formations would steer towards a given German city whose radio station, so as to not become a homing beacon for the hostile aircraft, would then go off the air. When this happened, ’alternative’ broadcasters at M.B, immediately ‘took over’ the station via Aspidistra. All manner of bogus instructions would then be given to the inhabitants who had no means of knowing whether they were genuine or not! In Britain, before the war the danger of radio stations being used as homing beacons had been foreseen and as a result, 60 low power transmitters, in populous areas, were eventually established. By this means, aircraft would have to be very close to find the facility of any use By March, 1944, Delmer held charge of around 100 ‘collaborators’, to include some 10 German prisoners of war. At The Holt, Aspley Guise, 16 individuals were accommodated and 12 in dormitories at Dawn Edge. For the locals, the mix of sexes provided an additional and perhaps heightened curiosity, from a penchant for the personnel to sunbathe nude on the radio station roof and in a bizarre romance, a German married a Jewess, both having met though their M.B. employment.

Aerial photographs of bomb damage were rushed to Milton Bryan for analysis
Dawn Edge provided dormitory accommodation for members of the propaganda team
Plans were now being prepared for the Allied Invasion of Europe and for his role in Operation Overlord Delmer was assigned an office on the top floor of the P.W.E. London headquarters, Bush House. He was appointed Director of Special Operations in the following month and in round the clock broadcasts, attempts to confuse the enemy as to where the Invasion could be expected were made. In one story it was said that only those German units deemed smart and efficient were being transferred to the Eastern front. Sloppiness was thereby hopefully encouraged in the area of the designated landings! Other stories dwelt upon America ‘wonder’ weapons. Yet of the significance of these transmissions, certain political persons seemed not to have fully grasped the urgency and in May, 1944, Bracken was quite willing for the Americans to be handed Aspidistra for an entertainment of the forces programme!! Lockhart made a vehement protest!

As part of the preparations for the Allied Invasion, to be dropped by air, ‘Nachrichten fur die Truppe’ was the first Allied daily newspaper aimed literally at the German forces. The idea came from Sefton Delmer who superintended the editorial content, wrote much of the material and inspired the staff. Having been brought to England through the efforts of John Elliot, who had raided advertising agencies, newspaper, magazine and broadcast offices across America for suitable talent as an Anglo American venture the combined team worked in pre-fab huts, erected speedily in the M.B. compound. Every night they put the paper together from the news and talks of Soldatensender, which they sub-edited and rewrote for print. Under the supervision of Harold Keeble, the later features editor of the Daily Mirror Group the layout of Nachrichten was made at Maryland’s, near Woburn and with illustrations, the paper brought up to date news of the war to the German troops, who otherwise had only a carefully censored version, provided by their own authorities. For added interest and appeal, Nachrichten also featured sports

Bush House
Nachrichten Fur Die Truppe. A newspaper produced by Milton Bryan for dropping over enemy lines.
results and even displayed pin ups!

The whole operation had begun in early March, 1944 and after many experiments a test issue was made for the Luton News (Home Counties Newspapers) to print in April, consisting of two 13"x 9" pages. The first edition appeared on April 25th, and after being tied in convenient bales on the publishing bench, these were then transported the 2 miles to the associate firm of Gibbs and Bamforth. There, having been ‘knocked up’ by female labour, the next stage involved the use of 2 guillotines. The first cut off the fold and the second divided the 2 copies. These were then taken and loaded

Marylands, the wartime print centre for the propaganda operations
into leaflet bombs and transported by men of the Night Leaflet Squadron to the relevant airfield, for distribution that night.

On 6th June, D Day, the German news agency put out an urgent newsflash concerning the Invasion and this was picked up at M.B. by the Hellscreiber. A subsequent broadcast on Soldatensender, embellished with a little more ‘information’ was then transmitted and Delmer drove hurriedly to Marylands for the new front page of Nachrichten. That day production peaked at 1 million copies, the process workers having come in at 3.30am. By 10am they were running off the D Day story with full details and thereon 800,000 copies a day became the print run of the 4 page newspaper.

In the aftermath of the invasion, on July 20th, 1944, the Hellschreiber, in the M.B. newsroom, suddenly intercepted a report concerning a plot against Hitler and immediately the intelligence teams began to implicate as many of the German Wehmacht as possible! Even Goebbels seemed sympathetically restrained remarking - with a scant deference to diplomacy - ‘it takes a bomb under his arse to make Hitler see reason’. With two failed attempts behind them, the principle conspirators had been a group in the Army General Staff who, through Stauffenburg, the Chief of Staff of the Replacement Army, had access to Hitler’s briefing conferences. He had planted the bomb under the conference table at Hitler’s H.Q. and although the dictator escaped assassination, the conspirators nevereless went ahead and announced his death, hoping their bluff might succeed amidst the widespread confusion. This might well have been the case, had not at the critical moment a crack regiment of guards been ordered to cordon off the Ministries of the Reich and so effectively imprison the Government. As a loyal Nazi the guard commander then contacted Goebbels, who hurriedly arranged for Hitler to prove his survival by telephoning the commander direct. From thereon the revolt was doomed and suppressed ruthlessly.

Through the night Goebbels and Himmler cross examined all those generals arrested and those condemned were hanged from meat hooks. Goebbels had a film especially made of this gruesome spectacle but reaction proved so hostile, when shown as an example to the Wehrmacht, that it had to be withdrawn.

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