WHY DID THEY HAVE TO CALL IT “OPERATION MINCEMEAT”?:  On this day in 1943, a British submarine surfaced off the coast of Spain.  As the captain read the 39th Psalm, the body of a Welsh homeless man, dressed up to appear to be a military courier, was gently cast adrift.

It was all part of an audacious plan.  Attached to the body was a briefcase containing documents—false ones—that suggested that the Allies would soon be invading Greece and Sardinia and that the upcoming attack on Sicily was merely a diversion.  In fact, the real Allied invasion was going to be Sicily.

The hope was that the body would wash ashore and that the Spanish authorities would assume that the man had been the victim of an air crash.  With luck, they would deliver the documents to German intelligence, and the Germans would be fooled into shifting reinforcements to Greece and Sardinia. Sicily would be left relatively undefended.

The British worked hard to make the whole thing seem believable.  The body was given the name Captain (Acting Major) William Martin.  He carried a wallet with a photograph of a fictitious girlfriend “Pam”.  Also in the wallet were two love letters from “Pam,” a receipt for the purchase of a diamond engagement ring, and a notice of overdraft from a bank.  The overdraft notice was a nice touch.

The scheme worked.  The Germans did indeed beef up their positions in Greece and Sardinia at the expense of Sicily.  The Allied attack on Sicily was no picnic, but in the absence of Operation Mincemeat, it would have been a lot worse.

And, of course, they made a movie out of it.  How could they not?  The 1956 thriller starred Clifton Webb and was given a wonderful title–The Man Who Never Was. (This had also been the title of the book written about the operation by Ewen Montagu, who had played a leading role in the scheme.)  I just love that title.

Here’s the part I can’t understand.  In 2021, Warner Bros. did a new movie about Operation Mincemeat, which they named Operation Mincemeat.  What?  Shouldn’t they have come up with a better title?

A few years back, the BBC did a documentary about the operation, which is available on YouTube.  Some of the players are interviewed in it—including “Pam” (or rather the woman in the picture).  I recommend it.