P.W.E. - MILTON BRYAN
|In the wake of the plot, 7000 suspects were arrested by the Gestapo and 4980 are said to have been killed, including the brother of the only survivor of this Generals Conspiracy to ever escape abroad, Otto John. Having advised the Allies of the various attempts to assassinate Hitler now, after several adventures, he would eventually find himself directed to Milton Bryan. Otto had been in the War Office building in Bendlerstrasse, Berlin, when the bomb went off and narrowly escaping the Gestapo, by virtue of his Lufthansa employment he boarded a plane for Madrid on Monday, 24th. July. Arrangements, via a friend, were made to have him passed on to London by the British Secret Service, despite Philby`s Communist inspired obstacles but in the meantime -with his fair hair now dyed black - after a few weeks he was spirited to the British Embassy in Lisbon and a hideout. Knowing him to be in Portugal, the Gestapo tried to extradite him but their efforts were frustrated by the Portuguese government and eventually the British Embassy took control, arranging a flight to Gibraltar.|
|Hitlers' 'Eagles Nest'. The Allies devised a plan to storm the retreat and assassinate Hitler but it was never carried out.|
|On the first attempt, weather conditions became so hostile that the flying boat turned back to Lisbon but the following night a successful passage to Poole was made. The Secret Service then conveyed him to the Chelsea Oratory in London, where enemy nationals were screened. After two weeks of questioning, when again taken to an interrogation room 'a corpulent gentleman in mufti then began sounding out his agreement to work for British propaganda. The gentleman in fact was Sefton Delmer and Otto gained his release in December, 1944, to be given an I,D, card in the name of his new identity, Oskar Jurgens.
A woman driver at the wheel, told he was being taken to`a house in the country` a military car then despatched him to his unknown destination, arriving in the evening at the great gates of a park full of ancient trees. At the gate a blonde girl in uniform directed the driver
British Intelligence arranged for Otto John to escape from the Gestapo by flying him to Poole Harbour. He was then taken to Milton Bryan
|to an iron grille, behind which a half open door lead into a guard room. Here could be seen men in uniform with sub machine guns, A policeman came to the car, identified the guide and opened the grille to let the vehicle through. After awhile the car then stopped in front of a hermetically blacked-out building. The uniformed girl asked Otto to get out and obediently he followed her through a dark entrance, along a brilliantly lit corridor and so to a door, above which glowed a red light. At the acknowledgment of her knock the girl opened the door and Otto entered alone, to find Delmer seated behind a large desk spread across with telephones, Dictaphones and papers. Delmer apologised to his new recruit for the enforced stay in the interim camp but explained that his had been caused by prolonged duties at Allied H.Q. in France.
Sworn to secrecy, Otto signed a pledge to this effect and Delmer now revealed - to the suitably awed newcomer - that he stood within the offices of the Soldatensender Calais. Making his apologies, for being busy with the evening's broadcast, Delmer then promised he would more fully discuss the station over breakfast, the next morning. This would be at his house, to which Otto would now be taken. In accordance, the blonde now lead him from the building and back to the car, which she directed through the local countryside to The Rookery. Welcomed by Delmer`s housekeeper, Mrs. Maddy, Otto was then shown into the living room to meet some of the black broadcast occupants. (Now as Mrs. Davies, Mrs. Maddy currently lives in Wales and still has vivid memories of her wartime days at The Rookery.)
Issued with a Certificate of Registration by Delmer's secretary entitling him, as Oskar Jurgens, to work and travel in Britain without reporting to the police, Otto signed the ubiquitous paperwork and began to settle in. Granted free board and lodging, together with an income of £12 a week, Otto found himself assigned as an assistant to Clifton Child. Thereon he helped helping sift and evaluate all the intelligence, supplied by the many and various sources, that might be deemed suitable for the black propagandists. Restricted by an official British directive, Delmer could not allow Otto to actually broadcast and so confined him to providing answers to specific questions. Otherwise Otto occupied his days exploring the station and becoming familiar with the files.
By now the need to finish the war, once and for all, had become paramount and early in the autumn of 1944, S.O.E. considered launching a commando raid on Hitler's headquarters, intending to assassinate Hitler and also Himmler. In the event the scheme was called off but nevertheless a vast amount of associated intelligence had been gathered and at this crucial time this was now all directed to Milton Bryan. Subsequently transmitted in news reports, the Germans found the information so detailed that convinced of spies at his H.Q., Hitler commanded Goebbels to track them down!
|A single new black broadcast station having been started, at this period again the output of Nachrichten Fur Die Truppe began nearing 1 million copies a day, as the Allies pushed on to the Rhine. By early 1945 1 million remained the figure until the last issue, No. 381, rolled off the press on May 7th., 1945, the day of the German surrender. Harold Keeble gave a celebratory party in the Marylands print shop during which John Gibbs entered the festivities clad in a suit of Nachrichten front pages printed onto cloth! 159,898,973 became the final tally of Nachrichten copies, produced on the Luton presses and on April 8th., 1945, Keeble sent a letter of appreciation to John Gibbs. On the following Tuesday he then mentioned a new enterprise, to commence in conjunction with S.H.A.E.F. This would be entitled 'The Official Organ of the Supreme Allied Command' and having sanctioned this production, Eisenhower believed it would|
|John Gibbs, his firm was responsible for the printing of 'Nachrichten Fur Die Truppe'|
|play an important role, during the period of German chaos and collapse.
Soldatensender West, as Soldatensender Calais had been called, following the fall of Calais in August, 1944, finally disappeared from the airwaves on April 14th., 1945. Having shaved off his beard, Delmer threw a party in the M.B. canteen and for the first time a sufficient relax of security allowed the staffs of M.B. and Marylands to mix and visit. Delmer and a section of his staff now removed themselves to London and there would prepare for new duties, reconstructing the press and radio in the British Occupied Zone.
With the activities of the Milton Bryan complex now at a close, in due course the Post Office collected the multitude of now surplus telephones and for awhile the premises became a hostel for displaced persons. Various intentions to employ the building in a light industrial use met with no success because of the local green belt policy and today the premises are somewhat derelict. By reason of the amount of asbestos, once annexed to the main building the boiler house suffered recent demolition although with now green painted doors the wartime garage, built to house the fire equipment, still remains. Presently the site of the station is leased to the Scout Association as a camping area, being used by the Ampthill and Woburn district.
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