Professor M. R. D. Foot – SOE’s (Special Operations Executive) Official Historian - is adamant that no evidence that points to the existence of a German Connection, at Baker Street; French former agents of the Sicherheitsdienst (the intelligence agency of the SS), speaking literally in the shadow of the guillotine, denied that they had ever heard of such a thing. Never the less a high-ranking Gestapo official is on record as having said:
‘What a pity we haven’t got somebody at SOE’s London HQ. We must try to get somebody there.’
Whilst this story does not pretend to be other than fiction, it is an established fact that Squadron Leader Hugh Verity air-lifted Henri Dericourt (the real life ‘Gilbert’) from a field not far from Le Mans - the night before the date of Operation ‘Confiseur’. Although Dericourt returned to France, in May 1943, and found other fields for SOE - many not far south of the Loire - the Le Mans field was never used again throughout the war. This change of venue lends coincidental currency to the notion that the ‘Cygnet’ pick-up operation compromised the Le Mans field beyond further use . . .
This story was researched and in written in the late seventies. Ian Trenowden died in September 2012 leaving behind an enormous amount of unpublished writing. ‘Baker Street Connection’ was a collection of typed pages and long hand notes secured in a binder. I think it is safe to say that Ian had an academic rather than a commercial brain. The story puts flesh on the bones of an interesting idea and includes a wealth of historical insight and detail. I am keen that Ian’s knowledge is kept alive and is passed on to others. The prose is a little dated, and there is the occasional ‘Crikey’, but I think it evokes the era and I could hear his voice on every page.