Anthony Brooks

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Anthony Morris Brooks
Born (1922-04-04)4 April 1922
Orsett, Essex
Died 19 April 2007(2007-04-19) (aged 85)
London, England
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch Special Operations Executive
Years of service 1941–1945
Rank Major
Unit F Section
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Distinguished Service Order
Military Cross
Croix de guerre
Légion d'honneur

Major Anthony Morris "Tony" Brooks DSO MC (4 April 1922 – 19 April 2007) was a British undercover agent in World War II. He received the Distinguished Service Order, Military Cross, Croix de guerre, and Légion d'honneur for his work as a leader of a group sabotaging German reinforcements prior to and during the Normandy invasion. He later worked for the Foreign Office, and MI5 and MI6.

Parents, education[edit]

Brooks was born at Orsett, Essex. His father, Douglas, was a businessman who had been involved in intelligence work in the First World War. His parents separated when he was young, and his mother, Beryl, died when he was a teenager. He educated at Chillon College on Lake Geneva and Felsted.[1] He spent much of his youth with relatives in France and Switzerland, and spoke fluent French.


He was deemed too young to join the British Armed Forces in 1939 (he was only 17), and returned to his family in the Jura region of France, where his aunt was helping British servicemen evade capture and return to England. He found out that he was under suspicion from the Vichy regime in May 1941, and escaped to Spain, where he was arrested and interned at the Miranda de Ebro camp.[1] After a few weeks, the British embassy arranged for his release to Gibraltar, and he made his way to England. He was rejected by MI9 and the Secret Intelligence Service also as "too young", but was recruited by the Special Operations Executive.

SOE service[edit]

Brooks was commissioned as a second lieutenant on the General List (without Army pay and allowances) on 9 April 1942.[2]

After training, he parachuted back into France without a gun in July 1942, landing at St Léonard-de-Noblat, near Limoges.[3]

After recuperating from injuries sustained in a heavy landing, he was involved in setting up the "Pimento" circuit of F Section, based in Toulouse and Lyon. His own codename was "Alphonse". He worked with railway workers in southern France, and he was able to slow the 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich under Heinz Lammerding from reaching the front after D-Day by derailing every train that left Marseille for Lyon at least once.[4]

Brooks was both the youngest and longest-surviving F Section organizer started by the Special Operations Executive.[3] He was arrested once, in July 1944, and interrogated at Montluc Prison, but his cover story was sufficiently convincing that he was released. He ended the war as a Major, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order,[5] Military Cross,[6] Croix de Guerre and Légion d'honneur for his service.

After the war[edit]

He worked for the Foreign Office after the end of the war, spending time in the British embassy in Paris. He joined the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), serving in Sofia from 1947 to 1950, but refused a posting to Hanoi in 1952 and resigned. After spending time in France, he rejoined MI6 in 1956, and was sent to Suez. He also undertook counter-terrorist operations in Cyprus. He was later British Consul General in Geneva, working again with MI6 in Cold War counter-espionage.[1] He later joined the Security Service (MI5) before retiring in 1977.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Brooks married twice, but had no children.

He died of stomach cancer in London, aged 85.[8]


  1. ^ a b c van der Vat, Dan (26 June 2007). "Obituary: Anthony Brooks : British secret agent brilliant at wartime espionage in France". The Guardian. London. ISSN 0261-3077. OCLC 60623878. Retrieved 20 April 2011. 
  2. ^ "No. 35567". The London Gazette (Supplement). 19 May 1942. p. 2233. 
  3. ^ a b Foot, M. R. D. (15 May 2007). "Anthony Brooks : SOE agent in wartime France". The Daily Telegraph. London: TMG. ISSN 0307-1235. OCLC 49632006. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 20 April 2011. 
  4. ^ Note correction to New York Times Obituary states that "An obituary on Monday about Anthony Brooks, a British undercover agent in France in World War II, misidentified a German armored division he sabotaged and its commander at the time. It was the Second SS Panzer-Division, not the Second Panzer Division. It was commanded by Heinz Lammerding, not Heinz Guderian. Because of an editing error, a correction in this space yesterday referred incorrectly to the command Guderian held before a promotion. It was the Second Panzer Division — not the Second SS Panzer Division, which he never commanded."
  5. ^ "No. 37244". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 August 1945. p. 4372. 
  6. ^ "No. 36382". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 February 1944. p. 827. 
  7. ^ "Brooks, Anthony Morris [Tony] (1922–2007)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/100840.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  8. ^ Martin, Douglas (21 May 2007). "Anthony M. Brooks, Undercover Foe of Nazis, Dies at 85". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 20 April 2011. 

External sources[edit]