Amazing Story Of The Real Life James Bond Who Outwitted The Nazis In Ww2

Amazing story of the real life James Bond who outwitted the Nazis in WW2

Amazing story of the real life James Bond who outwitted the Nazis in WW2

Via

The identity of Britain’s most successful Second World War spy – a real-life James Bond who outwitted the Nazis – is revealed for the first time today.

The picture on the right is the only one in existence of Renato Levi, a dashing, womanising playboy who proved himself too smart for Germany’s Desert Fox general Erwin Rommel.

Levi, an Italian Jew born in Genoa in 1902, spent the war feeding false information provided by his MI5 spymasters to the Germans.

The Nazis thought he was working for them – but really he was a cunning double-agent.

His brilliant deception helped British forces ­under General Bernard Montgomery win the great desert victory at El Alamein in 1942.

Levi also paved the way for the successful invasion of North Africa – and prevented crack Panzer divisions from counter-attacking after the D-Day landings in Normandy and driving our forces back into the sea.

After the war, British intelligence chiefs went to extraordinary lengths to keep Levi’s name a secret for all time.

Even MI5 wartime files released in 2011 were carefully redacted to conceal his identity.

But now spy hunter Rupert Allason, the former Tory MP who writes under the pen name Nigel West, has pieced together Levi’s extraordinary career. And he has given the Sunday People exclusive access to his new book, Double Cross in Cairo.

Mr West said: “As a British ­secret agent, Levi was unrivalled.

“He accomplished more over a longer ­period than any other.

“For an entirely notional spy to dupe a sophisticated ­enemy over four years remains a milestone in intelligence history.”

Rare: The only surviving photograph of Renato Levi

Levi’s background – he spoke fluent English, French, Italian and German – made him ideally suited to the murky world of espionage.

Although Italian-born, he held a British passport, was educated in Switzerland and his family owned a boat-building business in Bombay.

He married an Australian and they had a son. After his wartime exploits, he went home and lived quietly with her until his death in 1954.

The extraordinary tale begins at the outbreak of war in 1939, when Levi was recruited by German military intelligence, the Abwehr.

But he reported the approach to the British, who arranged for him to work for them as a double agent in Paris.

The Germans were fooled. To them, Levi was a spy known by the codename ROBERTO. But British intelligence knew him as CHEESE.

In June 1940 Levi told British spy chiefs that the Abwehr were sending him on a mission to Egypt.

He visited British secret service contacts in Belgrade and Istanbul and briefed them on his assignment. He was briefly imprisoned in Turkey on counterfeit currency charges – but MI6 wangled his release so he could get to Cairo.

In the Egyptian capital, the British were hatching an audacious plan.

GettyBattle: British troops with German PoWs

They would use Levi to feed the Germans false information about their intentions. To accomplish this they created an entirely fictional spy network.

It was one of many schemes dreamed up by wartime British spy chiefs, who were masters of deception.

The most famous of their plots ­involved hiring actor Clifton James because of his resemblance to General Montgomery.

James was sent to Gibraltar and Algiers, where his presence posing as the British general fooled the Germans into thinking Allied landings were imminent in southern France.

The ruse was immortalised in the movie I Was Monty’s Double. When Levi arrived in Cairo in February 1941, he came under the control of the local MI5 organisation, Security Intelligence Middle East.

He developed a good relationship with his MI5 handler, Evan Simpson.

Describing Levi, Simpson wrote: “He is a natural liar, capable of inventing any story on the spur of the moment to get out of a fix. He has a love of adventure, and is very fond of women.

"The work gives him opportunities to travel and of handling large sums of money which he would not otherwise get.”

GettyAllied victory: The Battle of El Alamein

The first stage in duping the Germans involved inventing a make-believe, pipe-smoking Syrian wireless operator called Paul Nicossof.

Nazi spy chiefs would receive a string of misleading secret messages transmitted by “Nicossof”. And they never twigged the MI5 joke – “Knickers-off”.

In April 1941 Levi returned to Italy for new instructions after setting up his imaginary spy ring in Cairo.

He was arrested and imprisoned for working in the black market. But MI5 continued to operate the mythical network he had set up until advancing Allied troops released Levi from jail and he rejoined the operation.

His fake network kept up radio contact with the Germans until the end of the war – unsuspected and undetected.

A record 432 radio messages were exchanged with the Abwehr, an average of two transmissions a week.

The Germans regarded Levi as their master-spy in the Middle East.

He even enlisted his Greek girlfriend, Evangeline Palidou, to pose as the fake wireless ­operator’s lover. The Germans believed she was befriending Allied officers to pump them for information.

GettyWinner: Lieutenant General B L Montgomery watches the beginning of the German retreat from El Alamein

But MI5 knew all about her. They referred to her as BGM – Blonde Gun Moll – because she was reputed to pack a pistol and according to rumours had shot a lover dead with it.

All Levi’s messages were scrupulously logged on a card index to ensure there were no contradictions in future ones. In November 1941 his false information encouraged Rommel’s Afrika Korps to misjudge the Allied offensive which ended with the recapture of Tobruk.

Among Levi’s inventions was a “1st Special Air Service Brigade”. At the time it was a non-existent unit – but later his fakery came to life as the real SAS.

By July 1942 the Germans had come to believe in the existence of 14 imaginary Allied divisions.

Levi convinced Rommel of a threat to his forces posed by the entirely bogus “74th Armoured Division”.

GettyDefeated: Levi”s misinformation duped Erwin Rommel, Commander-in-Chief of the German Africa Corps

It persuaded the German general to delay his attack until the end of August, by which time the Allies were ready to defeat the Afrika Korps at El Alamein.

When later challenged by the Germans about the inaccuracy of his information, Levi claimed he did not have adequate funds to recruit top class informants.

The Abwehr accepted his explanation – and made elaborate arrangements to pass him additional cash. But that ­resulted in the sinking of their submarine U-372 by British warships in August 1942 – and the capture of a courier who was carrying the money.

Levi misled the Germans about the Allied invasion of North Africa by predicting that a fleet carrying troops was destined for the eastern Mediterranean. He also diverted Italian forces from Malta by claiming an attack on Crete was imminent – allowing a crucial convoy to relieve the siege of the island.

And his false messages about amphibious landing training being given to Greek troops in Egypt made the Germans think Greece was about to be invaded.

The result of all this subterfuge was that 20 German army divisions were tied down in the Balkans. Crucially, that meant they were unavailable to counter-attack in France after D-Day.

Double Cross in Cairo, the true story of the spy who turned the tide of war in the Middle East, by Nigel West, is published on Thursday by Biteback, price £20.

Winter Reading List: 50 Books to Read Before They"re Movies

Via
Winter Reading List: 50 Books to Read Before They
We"ve got tabs on what books are being adapted into movies, and with a new season starting, we"ve got a whole new crop of reads to recommend. There are recently announced adaptations, books that have been recently cast, and big-screen books that will be coming to the theater soon. It"s getting…

100 Books to Read Before They"re Movies

Via
100 Books to Read Before They
There are always going to be books that are being made into movies, and we love to read them before they get the big-screen treatment as much as you do. If you like being able to say the book was better (isn"t it always?), then we have 100 novels to dive into. Click through and see which books you…

Fall Reading List: 50 Books You Should Read Before They"re Movies

Via
Fall Reading List: 50 Books You Should Read Before They
There are always tons of books being adapted for the big screen, and new novels get optioned all the time, giving us more and more reading possibilities! If you"re a voracious reader who can"t get enough and likes being on the cutting edge of pop culture, use this updated list to give you some more…

Celebrity Siblings You Probably Didn"t Know About

Via
Celebrity Siblings You Probably Didn
Of course you know that Beyoncé has Solange and Kendall has Kylie, and you"re well aware that Mark and Donnie are totally bros and that Ashton Kutcher has a fraternal twin. But did you know that there"s a third Franco brother? And a third Delevingne sister? Scroll through for the celebrity siblings

220 of the Year"s Best Books (So Far)

Via
220 of the Year
It"s already November, so we thought it was about time to review the best books of the year so far! Here are more than 200 reads we"ve included in our monthly book club roundups (plus some additions). Steamy, sweet, and everything in between, these novels and memoirs run the gamut in genre and tone,

38 Books Becoming 2015 Movies

Via
38 Books Becoming 2015 Movies
We"re always looking for a good book to read, and Hollywood has a pretty good line into the next hot novels, since they"re always in the process of adapting so many books for the big screen. There are a lot of books becoming movies right now, and a lot of them will finally hit the movie theater next

Great North run - Your chance to book one of 3,000 places

Via
Great North run - Your chance to book one of 3,000 places
With 57,000 people taking part, the Great North Run is one of the most famous and iconic running events on the planet. This year the half marathon will take place on Sunday September 13 and Mirror readers have the opportunity to secure a coveted spot on the starting line, with one of the 3,000…

TV survival expert on birth parents search: I don’t think explorers are at peace with themselves

Via
TV survival expert on birth parents search: I don’t think explorers are at peace with themselves
Held at gunpoint by drugs ­traffickers, kidnapped by machete-wielding jungle tribesmen and wrongly accused of murder, few could fail to be blown away by his adventures.Now Ed Stafford, with his posh, private education and military background, is fast becoming the next Ranulph Fiennes or Bear…

TV survival expert Ed Stafford on birth parents search: I don’t think explorers are at peace with themselves

Via
TV survival expert Ed Stafford on birth parents search: I don’t think explorers are at peace with themselves
Held at gunpoint by drugs ­traffickers, kidnapped by machete-wielding jungle tribesmen and wrongly accused of murder, few could fail to be blown away by his adventures.Now Ed Stafford, with his posh, private education and military background, is fast becoming the next Ranulph Fiennes or Bear…

Brit Awards 2015: Rita Ora to battle ex-boyfriend Calvin Harris as BOTH are nominated for Best Single

Via
Brit Awards 2015: Rita Ora to battle ex-boyfriend Calvin Harris as BOTH are nominated for Best Single
Rita Ora may be on cloud nine after her song Grateful received an Oscar nomination today, but she might be a little shocked to learn that she"s facing her ex-boyfriend in the best British single category at this year"s Brit Awards.The Voice star has received a nomination for her hit single I Will…

The TRUE story behind Oscar-tipped film Wild from the woman who lived through the amazing events

Via
The TRUE story behind Oscar-tipped film Wild from the woman who lived through the amazing events
It was the devastating moment that caused Cheryl Strayed’s life to spiral out of control.She walked up to the door of her sick mother’s hospital room to be confronted by a sign asking visitors not to enter without talking to a member of staff.“We have ice on her eyes,” explained the nurse…

Wild: The TRUE story behind Oscar-tipped film from the woman who lived through the amazing events

Via
Wild: The TRUE story behind Oscar-tipped film from the woman who lived through the amazing events
It was the devastating moment that caused Cheryl Strayed’s life to spiral out of control.She walked up to the door of her sick mother’s hospital room to be confronted by a sign asking visitors not to enter without talking to a member of staff.“We have ice on her eyes,” explained the nurse…

Netflix: All the Movies and TV Shows to Look Forward to in December

Via
Netflix: All the Movies and TV Shows to Look Forward to in December
Hoping for a Christmas present from Netflix? You"re in luck. A ton of fantastic movies and TV shows are being added to instant streaming during the month of December, ranging from Martin Scorsese"s crowd-pleasing The Wolf of Wall Street to the comedy classic Romy and Michele"s High School Reunion.…

2014 Must Reads: The 100+ Best Books of the Year

Via
2014 Must Reads: The 100+ Best Books of the Year
Whether you"re looking for a bookish gift to buy for the holidays or you"re hoping to curl up with a new read yourself, we"ve got you covered with a look at more than 100 of the best titles that hit shelves this year. Celebrity-penned books like Lena Dunham"s Not That Kind of Girl, Yes Please by Amy

The Most Fashionable Offspring in Hollywood

Via
The Most Fashionable Offspring in Hollywood
If you"re already a firm believer in the fact that life"s kind of unfair, here"s something else to add to your list of complaints: gorgeous celebrity kids who not only inherited their parents" good looks but are now starting a successful acting or modeling career of their own. Just look at the likes

Celebrity Guys Admit Their Biggest Man Crushes

Via
Celebrity Guys Admit Their Biggest Man Crushes
Everyone has a celebrity crush, right? Well, when you happen to be a celebrity, too, the secret"s going to come out. Mark Wahlberg revealed in a recent interview that he gets lost in Tom Brady"s beautiful eyes. Dax Shepard confirmed during his visit toThe Ellen DeGeneres Show that he"s loved Brad…

A Perfect Book For Every Person on Your Holiday Shopping List

Via
A Perfect Book For Every Person on Your Holiday Shopping List
The year 2014 was a great one for books, so this holiday season, we plan to gift the people we love with handpicked titles that really speak to them. We"ve zeroed in on exactly which books will make ideal presents for almost anyone in your life, so whether you"re still on the hunt for just the right

Is Secret of the Tomb the Best Night at the Museum Movie Yet?

Via
Is Secret of the Tomb the Best Night at the Museum Movie Yet?
In a word, yes. Combine a stellar cast with breathtaking special effects and plenty of high-action excitement, and it"s no wonder that the Night at the Museum franchise has held strong since 2006. This latest installment has an especially impactful storyline (aside from the high-energy international

These Real-Life Tattoo Tales Will Make You Laugh (and Possibly Cry)

Via
These Real-Life Tattoo Tales Will Make You Laugh (and Possibly Cry)
Tattoos can be a very personal thing. Sometimes there"s a hilarious (and deeply embarrassing) story about a late-night stint involving alcohol. Then there are those really touching tales representative of tear-jerking experiences. Finally, there are the in-between ones that make you smile and feel…