STRATTON DORSET
   
             
Philip Frank Chamier
3rd January 1909 – 30th April 1945
 
             
   
             
 

Philip Frank Chamier married Georgina Constance Sadler in September 1934 and they moved onto a farm in Bradford Peverell - a neighbouring parish to Stratton - to begin their married life. There is no record of them in the parish electoral registers.

Philip, or Frank as he was known, was born in Frankfurt, Germany on 3rd January 1909. He was educated there and became fluent in English and German. He also spoke Italian, French and Arabic. His father, Frank senior was an Australian-born Englishman who had moved to Germany in 1906. His mother was German-born Elena Ema Stallforth.

When he was two years old his parents separated and within a year his father's German business interests collapsed. He had been a partner of the German inventor Heinrich Beck at the Frankfurt-based Beck Arc Lamp Society.

By 1918 Frank senior had left Germany and was in London, leaving his wife and family in Germany. Frank junior believed that his father had abandoned him.

Before 25th January 1933; the date of his father's death in Bayswater, London, Frank junior had arrived in England.

When the 1939 England and Wales Register was compiled, Frank was resident at 21 Brunswick Square, Hove, Sussex, with his mother, Lena. His occupation was given as ‘Government Service’.

A year earlier he had made several trips to Germany, photographing airfields and gathering military information.

On 24th April 1940, Frank was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, having been called up by MI.1(x) of the Directorate on Military Intelligence. He became an Intelligence Officer with "special duties without pay and allowances from Army funds".

This arrangement had ceased by 17th March 1941 when he was posted to the Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre (CSDIC) at GHQ Cairo..."with pay and allowances".

By 11th February 1942, Frank, now a Lieutenant, joined the Intelligence Corps. In December 1942 he was posted to 102 Military Mission with the Libyan Arab Force.

On 9th February 1943 he was posted back to CSDIC at Cairo, 'specially employed - not entitled to Army funds'. Whilst in-post there all correspondence for him was forwarded to Major S. J. Fulton, c/o Room 024, War Office, which was an MI6 cover address.

In March 1943 whilst interrogating Prisoners-of-War in Cairo, Frank met Friedrich Wilhelm Reschke, who claimed to be a deserter from the German 155th Panzer Grenadier Regiment. Reshke said that between 1936 and 1941 he had been a Sergeant in the French Foreign Legion serving in North Africa. In 1941 he had been allowed by the German Armistice Commission to return to Germany for military service and was eventually posted to the Afrika Corps. Then, along with other German ex-Legionnaires he decided not to fight his former colleagues and deserted. He presented himself to the British near El Alamein and was sent to POW Camp 308 at Alexandria, and then transferred to Camp 306 at Ismailia. During this time, MI6 under its guise as the Inter-Services Liaison Department (ISLD) singled out Reschke and on 10th January 1943 he was sent to Camp 309 at Cairo.

Friedrich Reschke was believed by Frank Chamier who convinced his senior officers that that he should carry out a mission to drop behind enemy lines with Reshke as his wireless operator.

After the war, Reschke said that he first met Frank on 23rd March 1943 and that Frank was then using the name 'Robinson'. They lived in the same flat in Cairo where Reschke, who was using the alias 'Ross', was given instruction on wireless transmitters, codes and ciphers. He attended a parachute course at Haifa. During their time at the flat, Reschke said that he had free unescorted movement. He was issued with a British Army pay book in the name of James Allan in July 1943.

In February 1944 Reschke and Frank Chamier, who had been promoted to the rank of Captain, travelled to England via Gibraltar and Poole. They took the train to London where Reschke was instructed use of the Mk. XV wireless set. On 5th April 1944 they travelled to a farmhouse near Cambridge.

On the night of 11th-12th April 1944, Operation Elm began. Frank Chamier, now having assumed the rank of Temporary Major, and Friedrich Reschke, using the codenames 'Chip' and 'Rance' respectively, took off in a Halifax of 161 (Special Duties) Squadron from Tempsford near Cambridge. The two men parachuted from the aircraft near Guendringen, west of Stuttgard. The purpose of the operation was to secure details of German military movements prior to D-Day. Once encoded, the information was to be radioed to London.

The Halifax was detected at an observation post in Altensteig and the police were informed. In the morning the two men went to the railway station at Guendringen and bought tickets to Pforzheim. At the station, a police officer checked 'Chip' and 'Rance's German identity papers. Frank's papers were those of a Major Geske of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht and Reschke's claimed that he was Oberfeldwebel Rudolf Berger of the artillery. They carried false documentation from a firm in Pforheim showing that they had official business there. The police officer believed the papers to be in order and left the railway station.

By design or otherwise, Frank and Reschke split up before boarding the Pforzheim train. When the train pulled out of the station only Frank was aboard. Reschke was in the station lavatory.

Soon afterwards, Reshke informed a railway official that the man on the train was a British spy. This message was passed to the next station at Nagold. Reschke surrendered his revolver to the station official and took the police to their drop zone. Suitcases containing a wireless set, and ciphers were recovered.

Frank was arrested at Nagold and taken to Berlin. Reschke was also taken there, independently. Frank was delivered to Amt IV A.2.b. a section of the Reichsicherheitshauptampt (RSHA) concerned with 'turning' captured agents and broadcasting false information to their controllers, using their own wireless transmitters. This section was under the direction of SS Sturmbannfuehrer Horst Kopkow, Kriminaldirector der Gestapo.

By 1944 Kopkow had overseen the infiltration of a huge network of Soviet spies and captured more than a hundred Special Operations Executive agents who had parachuted into Nazi-occupied Europe although no agents had dropped into Germany itself. The risk was considered too high. Frank was the only MI6 agent to have fallen into Nazi hands.

With assistance from Reschke, Kopkow's section passed false information by wireless transmissions to London. For a time British Intelligence responded but then became suspicious.

Frank was sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp, and then to Ravensbrück men's sub camp, where it seems he was shot or hanged. This was probably in early 1945.

After the war, details resulting from enquiries began to come together.

The War Crimes Group (North West Europe) enquired into the period that Frank spent as a Prisoner-of-War.

It asked British Military Intelligence if Frank's codes and wavelengths had been used by the Germans and, if that was the case, whether they had successfully deceived the British. They also enquired as to whether Frank had had the means to indicate that he was acting under pressure.

Military Intelligence confirmed that after Frank had been captured, the Germans did transmit messages using his codes and wavelengths but that the transmissions were unsuccessful. It was apparent after a few messages that Frank had not sent them of his own free will. He did not have a pre-arranged means to indicate this. It was the opinion of Military Intelligence that Frank would not have provided the information necessary to transmit the messages unless he was under severe pressure.

Wing Commander Harry Melville Arbuthnot Day, who had been a Prisoner-of-War at Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp in May 1945 told of a prisoner at the camp called 'Frank' from Weymouth. He was also known by his home telephone number 'Upwey 282'. Frank had left Sachsenhausen in the summer of 1944.

These details were passed to MO1 (SP) (SOE) who in turn reported them to the War Casualties Branch. It was confirmned that the 'Frank' referred to was Major Philip Frank Chamier, Intelligence Corps.

Further information came from a female former prisoner of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp. She said that an English Major had arrived there in the summer of 1944. He was known as 'Upwey 282'.

Two other former prisoners at Ravensbruck said that two English Majors had been held in the men's section in 1944, and a former Gestapo soldier being held on war crimes charges by the Americans said that he been on guard duty at a Sicherheitspolizei (SIPO) camp near Ravensbrück when a British parachute agent known as 'Mr Boston' was there. 'Mr Boston' claimed his real name was Chamier and that he his German companion had betrayed him.

Additional evidence was gathered that suggested that Frank was tortured on Kopkow's orders and that he had eventually died.

As Prisoners-of-War were returning to the UK in 1945, Georgina Chamier expected to see Frank. He did not return. On 5 November 1945 she considered going to Germany to look for him. She wrote to a relative: “Frank, my husband, was in the intelligence service and is still missing. I am trying hard to find some way to get to Germany after the children's holidays to try to gather some scraps of information - no trace or records of him can be found anywhere.”

Vera Atkins, who had worked as an intelligence officer with the Special Operations Executive (SOE) began investigating missing SOE agents. Whilst researching four SOE women who had been at Ravensbrück, she found a reference to 'Frank of Upwey 282'. She was aware of the name Horst Kopkow.

In September 1946, Vera learnt that Kopkow had been in the custody on MI6 for thirteen months and that during that period he had not been fully interrogated about war crimes.

When questioned, Kopkow eventually accepted that he was aware of Frank Chamier and that he had been at the Sicherheitspolizeischule at Furstenberg, where Amp IV A 2 had been relocated after bombing raids on Berlin. Kopkow claimed that Frank was held under the alias 'Mr Boston' and that he had agreed to cooperate by sending false information by wireless. Reschke had operated the set. This situation only lasted a few weeks when the British became suspicious after errors were made.

Kopkow denied knowledge of how Frank was treated whilst a prisoner and claimed that he had been killed during an Allied bombing raid on the Berlin Polizeipresidium. Kopkow's interrogators did not believe him.

Reschke's recollections were different. He said that broadcasting wireless messages to Britain ended because Frank would not divulge his security codes.

War crimes charges against Kopkow were drawn up but by April 1948 British investigators were told he had died.

In reality, Kopkow was 'released for special employment'. Kopkow's death was faked by the British. He was given a new identity and MI6, now fighting the Cold War, used him to obtain communist network intelligence.

The true details of Frank's death are not known. British authorities accepted that it was virtually impossible to give an exact date on which he died. On this basis it was decided that 30th April 1945 would be appropriate; a time when Berlin was under continuous air bombardment.

Philip Frank Chamier has no known grave. He is commemorated on the Brookwood Memorial, Surrey (Panel 21. Col. 1).

Frank's wife, Georgina Constance Sadler was born on 18th August 1903 at Godalming, Surrey. Her parents were George Brooks Sadler and Constance Kathleen Sadler nee Carr.

On 4th August 1921 at Cuddington, Surrey Georgina married Harold William Read.

Philip Frank Chamier married Georgina Constance Read in September 1934 at Hendon, Middlesex.

Harold William Read married Rachel Mary Melville Wall in June 1931 at Camberwell, London. They had one son; Peter Read.

Philip Frank Chamier and Georgina Constance Chamier had two children, a son; Frederick Anthony Chamier born on 11th March 1933 at Paddington, London and a daughter; Frederica Chamier, born in 1936(?).

When Frank senior (Philip Frank Chamier's father) who was known as Fred, died in 1933 his entry in the England and Wales National Probate Register read, "CHAMIER Fred of 27 Palace Court, Bayswater, Middlesex died 25 January 1933 Probate London 15 May to Georgina Constance Chamier single woman. Effects £ 1843 9s 11d". It seems that Georgina was using Chamier as her surname although she did not marry Frank until September 1934. The probate record lists her as a sigle woman. Georgina and Frank's son, Frederick was born in 1933. Fred senior left his estate to Georgina.

Georgina Constance Chamier died in Essex in October 2005 aged 102 years.

Frank's mother Elena Ema Chamier nee Stallforth was born on 27th March 1880. She died in Überlingen, Baden, Preußen, Germany on 6th March 1953.

Philip Frank Chamier's entry in the England and Wales National Probate Register read, "CHAMIER Phillip Frank of Manor-cottage, Buckland Ripers, Dorsetshire died between 1 and 30 April 1945 on war service Administration Winchester 25 September to Georgina Constance Chamier widow. Effects £329 18s 10d"

Frederica Chamier married Robert E Armstrong in September 1953 at Weymouth

Manor Cottage, Buckland Ripers had a succession of occupants during the 1930's including Geoffrey Mainwaring Sladen, Victor George Doone Mansell and Clarence Dinsmore Howard-Johnston. These men were all serving Royal Navy Officers.

 
     
     
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