30 October 2017

A New Book - Double Agent CELERY by Carolinda Witt

Double Agent CELERY by Carolinda Witt
(from her website)
It seems that there are a slew of books coming out in recent years about wartime espionage and the characters involved. One of the newest, hot off the press books is entitled Double Agent CELERY - MI5s Crooked Hero by Carolinda Witt.

It turns out that CELERY, whose real name was Walter Dicketts was quite a character. He had six children via four wives and two mistresses - and none of the children knew of each other. The author of the book is one of his grandchildren who knew nothing about her grandfather until her mother passed away in 2007. Carolinda discovered another Dickett's grandchild on a genealogical forum and began to uncover the unbelievable story of Walter Dicketts.

Carolinda's book is being published today, 30 October 2017 (at least in the UK) by Pen & Sword books, with a foreword by Nigel West. The book will only be available in Canada in January 2018, so I will have to be patient.

The official write-up of the book on Carolinda's site states:
As Britain braced itself for the onslaught of a German invasion in February 1941, MI5 sent a handsome, womanising confidence trickster with a photographic memory, entrepreneurial flair, and nerves of steel to Lisbon to pull off the seemingly impossible.

MI5 wanted double agent Celery, an ex RNAS Officer called Walter Dicketts to persuade the Germans he was a traitor—then extract crucial secrets. With the clock ticking and his life on the line, Dicketts had to outwit his Nazi interrogators in Hamburg and Berlin and return safely to Britain—this time as a German spy. In what must count as one of the most heroic events of WW2, Dicketts managed to pull of the impossible only to discover he had been betrayed before he even left for Germany. It was a miracle he even survived…

Fluent in German and French, Dicketts was worldly and intelligent, charming and charismatic, and devastatingly attractive to women. Of his six wives, two were mistresses, and his six children knew nothing about the existence of the others. Sometimes rich and sometimes poor, Dicketts was an odd mixture of hero and crook, lover, and cad. The difficulty for others was in establishing who he really was.

His granddaughter Carolinda Witt pulls together family and official records, anecdotes and memories, police records and newspaper articles to tell the almost unbelievable true story of the most mysterious and fascinating British double agent during WW2.
It sounds rather intriguing. CELERY was involved with SNOW and it was their February 1941 trip to Lisbon  that tipped MI5s hand in retiring SNOW from his double agent duties. MI5 was never certain whose side SNOW was on. CELERY was indeed lucky to escape Germany with his life.

When the book becomes available over here, I'll post a review after I've read it. Stay tuned.

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