Operation Goldeneye was an Allied plan during World War II, which was to monitor Spain after a possible alliance between Francisco Franco and the Axis powers and to undertake sabotage operations. The plan was formed by Lieutenant Commander Ian Fleming of the Naval Intelligence Division (NID).
The aim of the operation was to ensure that Britain would still be able to communicate with Gibraltar in the event Spain joined, or was invaded by, the Axis powers, and to carry out limited sabotage. In August 1940, responsibility for drawing up the plan was given to Lieutenant Commander Ian Fleming of the NID. Of particular concern to Fleming was the possible installation of radar equipment and infrared cameras in the Straits of Gibraltar, which would have been a threat to the Navy's Mediterranean strategy and to the Allied's shipping interests in the Atlantic.
Fleming was issued a courier's passport, and on 16 February 1941, he travelled to Gibraltar. On his arrival, he liaised closely with Alan Hillgarth, the British naval attaché in Madrid. Hillgarth provided much of the background to the plan for the guerrilla campaign and sabotage that would follow German presence on the Iberian peninsula.[a] One of the prime motivations for Fleming's presence in Gibraltar was to set up a Goldeneye liaison office with a secure cipher link to London, under the control of H.L. Greensleeves, an NID agent. Fleming also set up a similar office in Tangier as a fallback in the event of the German occupation of Gibraltar. During the course of his visit, Fleming also met with William J. Donovan from the American Office of Strategic Services, who was on a fact-finding tour. Fleming returned to London on 26 February 1941.
On 20 May 1941, while in transit to the US, Fleming visited Lisbon to discuss Goldeneye with the various intelligence organisations, and to ensure that they operated smoothly together. He also undertook an inspection of the facilities and equipment for Goldeneye. He suggested that an Anglo-American Intelligence Committee be set up to coordinate intelligence from North Africa and the Iberia peninsula.
In 1942 Goldeneye moved into a state of alert prior to the Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa. The Axis powers suspected that something was about to happen and stepped up their surveillance and sabotage, particularly the use of the 10th Light Flotilla, an elite unit of Italian navy frogmen who used wrecked ships in Gibraltar to launch attacks on Allied shipping.[b]
Post war legacy
Fleming later dubbed his Jamaican estate "Goldeneye", and began writing his series of James Bond novels there. The name was also used for the title of the seventeenth James Bond film, GoldenEye starring Pierce Brosnan as Bond.
Notes and references
- Lycett 1996, p. 125.
- Hart-Davis 2012, p. 203.
- Macintyre 2008, p. 54.
- Haining 2007, p. 29.
- "Real 'Goldeneye' passport to be auctioned". BBC News. 1 February 2000.
- Macintyre 2010, p. 148.
- Hart-Davis 2012, p. 207.
- Lochery 2011, p. 126.
- Lycett 1996, p. 131.
- Lycett 1996, p. 145.
- Cabell 2008, p. 38.
- Macintyre 2008, p. 171.
- Bennett & Woollacott 2003, p. 1.
- Cabell 2008, p. 34.
- Bennett, Tony; Woollacott, Janet (2003). "The Moments of Bond". In Lindner, Christoph. The James Bond Phenomenon: A Critical Reader. Manchester: Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-0-7190-6541-5.
- Cabell, Craig (2008). Ian Fleming's Secret War. Barnsley: Pen and Sword Books. ISBN 978-1-84415-773-0.
- Haining, Peter (2007). The Mystery of Rommel's Gold: The Search of the Legendary Nazi Treasure. London: Anova Books. ISBN 978-1-84486-053-1.
- Hart-Davis, Duff (2012). Man of War. London: Random House. ISBN 978-1-84605-971-1.
- Lochery, Neill (2011). Lisbon: War in the Shadows of the City of Light, 1939–1945. New York: PublicAffairs. ISBN 978-1-58648-879-6.
- Lycett, Andrew (1996). Ian Fleming. London: Phoenix. ISBN 978-1-85799-783-5.
- Macintyre, Ben (2008). For Your Eyes Only. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7475-9527-4.
- Macintyre, Ben (2010). Operation Mincemeat: The True Spy Story That Changed the Course of World War II. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4088-0921-1.