British Intelligence Planned To Seal Six Men ….
Saturday, April 10th, 2004 | Author: David Morris

British intelligence planned to seal six men inside the Rock of Gibraltar after it fell to the Nazis, according to newly-released wartime documents.

They were to be given food and water supplies for seven years. After the fall of France in June 1940, British intelligence believed that the Germans would attempt to move through Spain to capture Gibraltar, say documents released to the Public Record Office at Kew.

It was decided to make caverns in the rock to hide the men. They would have two 12in by 6in slits, one looking East and one West, to spy on enemy movements.

An 18ft radio antenna was to be thrown out of one of the observation slits to enable them to radio back details of enemy targets for the RAF.

The caverns were to be 45ft long by 16ft wide and 8ft high.

Volunteers were told that they would have to be sealed up alive. “Orders are that you should be walled up in the Rock,” they were told. “You will have no way out.”

George Murray Levick, who had been on Scott’s expedition to the Antarctic, was called up, at 64, with the rank of surgeon commander, to advise on survival techniques. His report on the proposed operation included recommendations on “the psychology of the personnel”, diet, the type of exercise and recreation they should take, and use of alcohol and tobacco.

It also gave details of the type of clothing the volunteers should wear, the necessary ventilation and sanitation, and even recommendations on how to dispose of any member of the team who died – “by embalming and ementing-up”.

The plan, codenamed Tracer, was so secret that it was not even discussed
in Whitehall. The main discussions took place at the home of Adml Sir John Godfrey, Director of Naval Intelligence, at 36, Curzon St, Mayfair.

Murray Levick described how he once spent seven months alone in an igloo, by which time he was beginning to hallucinate that he was walking down a street of sweet shops, “always on the afternoon of early-closing day”.

He suggested that “there should be a rehearsal, probably in Scotland, to test the temperamental suitability of the personnel”. In the end, volunteers were taken to the naval school at Shotley, Suffolk, for training, before being sent to Gibraltar with “proper jobs” as cover for
the real purpose of their mission.

They were given radio training by Brig Richard Gambier-Parry, the MI6 expert in radio technique, who provided them with special equipment and a bicycle-operated generator.

The scheme was deemed to be so full of potential that similar Tracer operations were to be put in place at Colombo, Trincomalee, Malta and Aden.

In August 1943, with the pressure on the eastern front drawing German attention away from Gibraltar, it was decided to stand the personnel down, seal up the caves and put Operation Tracer on ice.

Adml Godfrey insisted that Tracer sections should be prepared around the world for future wars. A manual was provided giving details of how Tracer should be operated, with appendices on “food, equipment, clothing, stationery, games, furniture and cooking, utensils, tools, medical stores and surgical instruments”.

It included a section on suitable books for Tracer stations, which attributed Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina to Dostoyevsky.

Extract from the DAILY TELEGRAPH, Aug 20. ‘97