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Gastão de Freitas Ferraz was a Portuguese spy working for the Abwehr. He was one of two radio operators on board the Gil Eannes, the codfish fleet support ship on the Atlantic. Ferraz almost tipped off the Germans on "Operation Torch" in 1942.
The British HMS Duke of York stopped the Gil Eannes on 1 November 1942 and a commando arrested Freitas. During interrogation Freitas was shown a photo of the Abwehr resident in Lisboa, Kuno Weltzien. Freitas became nervous at this moment. The British had picked up radio traffic indicating naval espionage, possibly compromising the secrecy on "Operation Torch". On 15 October MI5 had asked for permission to arrest the neutral Portuguese fishermen, since they knew about two radio contacts of the fishing fleet to the Germans. Freitas was interned at "Camp 020" at London with 500 other spies, some of whom then radioed false messages to the Germans as double agents. The Gil Eannes had been shipping close to General Patton's armada en route to the invasion in Morocco ("Torch").
[edit | edit source]
- Garth, John (March 3), "Revealed: Allied invasion of North Africa was only saved by dramatic arrest of spy", Daily Mail, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1158780/Revealed-Allied-invasion-North-Africa-saved-dramatic-arrest-spy.html
- The Associated Press (March 3), "Exposed: How capture of a Nazi spy changed the course of WWII", Haaretz, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1068330.html
- Evans, Michael (March 3), "Declassified MI5 file shows Nazi spy almost changed course of war", Times Online (London), http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article5834918.ece