'Spy's Hysterical Wife Almost Compromised D-Day'
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'Spy's Hysterical Wife Almost Blew D-Day'

A row between Britain’s most important double agent and his wife almost compromised D-Day operations.

'Spy's Hysterical Wife Almost Compromised D-Day'

A row between Britain’s most important double agent and his wife almost compromised D-Day operations during the Second World War.

Juan Pujol Garcia, who was codenamed Agent Garbo, was creating elaborate deceptions to convince the Nazis that the landings would take place at Pas de Calais, diverting German forces away from where they were actually taking place in Normandy.

The Spanish national ran a network of sub-agents from his London house, sending false intelligence reports to the Germans.

However, MI5 files that have been made public for the first time revealed that his homesick wife had threatened to expose the operation after being confined to their home in Harrow.

Araceli Gonzalez de Pujol, struggling to cope with the pressure of her husband’s work and being kept indoors in case she was recognised on the streets of London, said she was going to tell all unless she was allowed to see her mother in Spain.

A transit document for Juan Pujol Garcia and his wife, dated 1941 (Picture: The National Archives).

In a confrontation with the double agent’s MI5 case officer, Tomas Harris, a year before the D-Day landings, she said: 

"I don't want to live five minutes longer with my husband… Even if they kill me I am going to the Spanish embassy."

Following the confrontation, Mr Pujol and Mr Harris decided to deceive her and the Germans at the same time.

The next day, Mrs Pujol was told that her husband had been arrested following the confrontation.

The news resulted in what Mr Harris described as a "hysterical outburst", where she threatened to take the couple’s two children and "make a disappearance".

 
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A headshot Tomas Harris, the double agent’s MI5 case officer.
 

An MI5 officer who was sent to check up on her found all the gas taps turned on in the house in an apparent suicide attempt.

The following afternoon Mrs Pujol was blindfolded and taken to the MI5's Camp 020 interrogation centre in West London, where they said her husband was being held.

During the reunion, in which Mr Pujol appeared unshaven and dressed in camp clothing, she was convinced she should support his undercover work "with even greater zeal than before".

The deception continued with one last dressing-down from MI5’s legal adviser, Major Edward Cussen, who told her he had decided her husband should be released to continue with his work.

"He reminded her that he had no time to waste with tiresome people and that if her name was ever mentioned to him again, he would simply direct that she should be locked up," Mr Harris noted. 

"She returned home very chastened to await [her] husband's arrival."