PUT THAT THING BACK WHERE IT CAME FROM OR SO HELP ME
In 1944, as the Allies were preparing to invade France, British Intelligence sought a way to confuse the Germans as to their plans. They had many different schemes going on at once, but one was particularly interesting. They hired Meyrick Clifton James (right), an Australian-born lieutenant in the Army Pay Corps who bore a striking resemblance to Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery. The Field Marshal would be commanding the Allied ground troops during the invasion. James was invited to London, and while pretending to be a journalist, he set about studying the general’s speech patterns and mannerisms. Then he was conspicuously sent off, as “Monty”, to Gibraltar and then to Algiers, watched by avid German spies.
It seemed to work. The plot went through “from start to finish without a hitch,” MI5 reported, “and we knew that the main feature of its story had reached the Germans.” The real Monty led the successful landings at Normandy while James recovered from the ordeal in a safe house in Cairo. “He was under terrible pressure and strain,” reported the wife of an intelligence officer detailed to look after him. “Coming out of that part was very difficult for him.” But he had something to cheer him up while he recuperated: Under army rules, he would receive the equivalent of a general’s pay for every day he had impersonated Monty.
Acting is hard :P