Double Agent: The Eddie Chapman Story, originally published in 1954, recounts the early life and war-time adventures of Eddie Chapman, later code-named ZigZag by British intelligence. Born into poverty, Chapman joined the army, only to go AWOL in the 1930s. He took to cracking safes, using his newfound wealth to ingratiate himself with London’s elite. He reportedly seduced society ladies, only to later blackmail them. Eventually arrested for safe cracking, he was jailed in the Channel Islands, the only part of the British Commonwealth to fall under Nazi occupation. Once the Germans took over, Chapman offered his services to the Nazis. He convinced them that he could use his contacts with London’s criminal underground to further their goal of having sabotage agents in England.
After a year of training in France under Nazi supervision, Chapman was parachuted into England, where he immediately turned himself over to the British. Luckily so, since MI5, which had already broken the German code, knew exactly who Chapman was and what he was sent to England to do. Like the Germans, the British saw an opportunity to use Chapman as their own agent.
To convince the Nazis of Chapman’s usefulness, MI5 worked with him to fake the bombing of the factory producing the Mosquito bomber, going so far as to plant newspaper stories and create the illusion, when seen from above, of complete devastation. Chapman returned to Germany a hero, with the Nazis awarding him—the only British subject to receive one—an Iron Cross.
He returned to Britain after the war, preparing several memoirs of his war-time activities. This edition includes several photographs and a new Preface by Steve W. Chadde.
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