The Musuem
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The Dennis Wheatley 'Museum' - World War II

Duty done ...


Wing Commander Dennis Wheatley

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DW keeps a few souvenirs

Strictly against protocol, DW kept a few souvenirs
One of them was the 'Most Secret' envelope above
still with its contents intact

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It was also known from a clause in DW's unpublished (because superseded) Will of 30th June 1971 that he had 'souvenired' two ashtrays used by Winston Churchill at a midnight meeting of the War Cabinet. They were thought lost until one of them came to light in October 2014.

The missing ashtray

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A US Bronze Star

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When the theatre of war moved to Europe, DW's side of LCS had progressively less to do, and - as in his early days as a Pilot Officer - he had to find other ways to occupy his time. One was by building up his stamp collection. DW was always a collector.

DW applied to get out of uniform on 5th August 1944, and was finally released from his post on 22nd December 1944.

The Chiefs of Staff were clear as to the difference the members of the LCS had made. In a minute of 11th October 1944, Major-General Leslie Hollis, Churchill's Deputy Chief Staff Officer wrote to Bevan :

"The Chiefs of Staff instructed me to inform you that they wished to take this opportunity to place on record their warm appreciation of the outstanding contribution which the London Controlling Section and its subsidiary sections in the operational theatres, have made to the success of the various major operations which have been carried out during the last two years. In their view the record of success has been unique."

The last sentence says it all.

Bevan put all six of his team up for decorations, and the recommendations were backed by Pug Ismay, but Sir Edward Bridges, the secretary of the War Cabinet decreed that a CB for Bevan and an OBE for one of the others would be sufficient. In the end, the OBE went to Peteval.

DW was not however to be left entirely empty handed as far as honours were concerned. Eighteen months later he was awarded the US Bronze Star.

He thought at the time that this was his reward for taking lots of American servicemen out to lunch, and when an American General pinned the medal on his breast and said " We can't put it in writing, but I know the really big things you did", he took this to be something that was said to every recipient.

It was only years later that he discovered that this was not the case. At an LCS reunion dinner some time after General Ismay had died, Wingate recounted to him how when Bridges had left the section to receive one OBE and one American Bronze Star, General Ismay himself had told him "I don't mind who has the OBE, but the Americans have allocated a bronze star to LCS, and that must go to Dennis".

The citation read:

For "meritorious service to the US army while serving as LCS representative on the Inter-Service Security Board from August 1943 to August 1944"

References: 'The Deception Planners' Chapter 20
'Drink & Ink' p 231
Phil Baker pp 423 - 424.

Provenance:Top pictures - The Deception Planners
Remaining material - Private Collections