To think that an argument between a husband and wife nearly derailed D-Day is almost unbelievable – but it’s true.
Recently released secret files of MI5 from the National Archives contain the story of Spanish citizen Juan Pujol and his wife, Araceli. He was a double agent based in Harrow in London’s northwest feeding false information to the Germans convincing them the D-Day invasion would occur in the Pas-de-Calais and not Normandy.
His wife, however, was not happy. She was homesick, wanted to visit her mother, missed Spanish food, and chafed at the restrictions put on her and the two children for fear they would be recognized on the streets. She was also upset her husband was gone so frequently.
Pujol, codename Agent Garbo, ran a network of sub-agents sending phony reports to German intelligence.
Recorded in the files is the occasion when she confronted her husband’s case officer.
She refused to live five minutes more with him, she yelled at Pujol’s case officer, Tomas Harris, threatening to go to the Spanish embassy and tell all even if it meant that she would be killed.
Juan not only tricked the Germans but stopped his wife’s mischief as well. Harris concocted the idea that perhaps Agent Garbo should tell his spouse he had lost his job but Juan didn’t think it was convincing. Since his wife couldn’t return to Spain maybe if she was told that her diatribe had led to his arrest it would silence her.
She was taken to see him, blindfolded, in a detention camp. Following the reunion, she was convinced of the necessity of assisting his covert labors.
Major Edward Cussen, MI5s legal adviser, informed her that he had decided her husband should be freed so he could continue his assignment, BBC News reported.
She was reminded of the importance of her husband’s role. Major Cussen said to her that if her name was ever mentioned to him again, he would order that she be put in jail.