Read The Hornet's Sting Online

Authors: Mark Ryan

Tags: #World War; 1939-1945 - Secret Service - Denmark, #Sneum; Thomas, #World War II, #Political Freedom & Security, #True Crime, #World War; 1939-1945, #Underground Movements, #General, #Denmark - History - German Occupation; 1940-1945, #Spies - Denmark, #Secret Service, #World War; 1939-1945 - Underground Movements - Denkamrk, #Political Science, #Denmark, #Biography & Autobiography, #Military, #Spies, #Intelligence, #Biography, #History

The Hornet's Sting

BOOK: The Hornet's Sting
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Hornet's Sting, The
The Amazing Untold Story of World War II Spy Thomas Sneum
Mark Ryan

Copyright © 2009 by Mark Ryan

All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner without the express written consent of the publisher, except in the case of brief excerpts in critical reviews or articles. All inquiries should be addressed to Skyhorse Publishing, 555 Eighth Avenue, Suite 903, New York, NY 10018.

Skyhorse Publishing books may be purchased in bulk at special discounts for sales promotion, corporate gifts, fund-raising, or educational purposes. Special editions can also be created to specifications. For details, contact the Special Sales

Department, Skyhorse Publishing, 555 Eighth Avenue, Suite 903, New York, NY 10018 or [email protected].

www.skyhorsepublishing.com

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Ryan, Mark. Hornet’s sting : the amazing untold story of World War II spy Thomas Sneum / Mark Ryan.

p. cm.

9781602397101

1. Sneum, Thomas, 1917-2007. 2. Spies--Denmark--Biography. 3. World War, 1939-1945--Secret service--Denmark--Biography. 4. World War, 1939-1945--Underground movements--Denkamrk--Biography. 5. Denmark--History--German occupation, 1940-1945. I. Title.

D810.S8S5976 2009
940.53’489092--dc22
[B]

2009006210

Printed in the United States of America

This story is dedicated to the memory of Thomas Sneum, Kjeld Pedersen, Kaj Oxlund, Arne Helvard, Sigfred and Thorbjoern Christophersen, Lorens Arne Duus Hansen, Christian Michael Rottboell, Paul Johannesen, Hasager Christiansen, John Christmas Moeller, Roland Olsen, Niels Richard Bertelsen, Hans Henrik Larsen and the many others who risked, suffered and sacrificed so much in the Second World War. We are all human, with our fears and faults, and we possess varying degrees of courage and competence in the challenges we face in this life. All those who set out to undermine Adolf Hitler’s Nazis in occupied Europe, however successful, whatever their eventual fate, deserve the respect of future generations. Let the power of their story put to shame those politicians and teachers who already seem to be forgetting the creators of our freedom.

Table of Contents
 
Title Page
Copyright Page
Dedication
>Acknowledgments
INTRODUCTION: ZURICH, FEBRUARY 1998
 
Chapter 1
-
THE TIGHTROPE TO RADAR
 
Chapter 2
-
TRAPPED
 
Chapter 3
-
HIMMLER AND THE LONGBOW
 
Chapter 4
-
A TASTE OF FREEDOM
 
Chapter 5
-
ON LOCATION
 
Chapter 6
-
FLIGHT PLAN
 
Chapter 7
-
THE JIGSAW PUZZLE
 
Chapter 8
-
A CLOSE SHAVE
 
Chapter 9
-
TAKE-OFF
 
Chapter 10
-
UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL
 
Chapter 11
-
WING-WALKER
 
Chapter 12
-
THE WELCOME
 
Chapter 13
-
DISBELIEF
 
Chapter 14
-
SENDING FOR THE DOCTOR
 
Chapter 15
-
THE SPYMASTER
 
Chapter 16
-
SIS, SOE AND A STRAINED MARRIAGE
 
Chapter 17
-
SPY SCHOOL
 
Chapter 18
-
A RECIPE FOR DISASTER
 
Chapter 19
-
INTO ACTION
 
Chapter 20
-
A FRAGILE FOOTHOLD
 
Chapter 21
-
BED MANNERS
 
Chapter 22
-
THE THREAT
 
Chapter 23
-
MEET THE WIFE
 
Chapter 24
-
BROTHERS IN ARMS
 
Chapter 25
-
HISTORY-MAKERS
 
Chapter 26
-
INFIGHTING
 
Chapter 27
-
CHRISTMAS HORRORS
 
Chapter 28
-
HUNTED
 
Chapter 29
-
BOHR’S BOMBSHELL
 
Chapter 30
-
LONDON BECKONS
 
Chapter 31
-
TREK TO THE UNKNOWN
 
Chapter 32
-
CLOSING IN
 
Chapter 33
-
SURROUNDED
 
Chapter 34
-
DEFIANCE AND LOYALTY
 
Chapter 35
-
LIVING ON THE EDGE
 
Chapter 36
-
WALKING WITH GHOSTS
 
Chapter 37
-
SPILLING THE BEANS
 
Chapter 38
-
THE GAMBLE
 
Chapter 39
-
THE CONSEQUENCES
 
Chapter 40
-
THE ORDEAL
 
Chapter 41
-
A DIPLOMATIC INCIDENT
 
Chapter 42
-
SMEAR CAMPAIGN
 
Chapter 43
-
POWERLESS
 
Chapter 44
-
A NEW BETRAYAL
 
Chapter 45
-
ALL’S FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR
 
Chapter 46
-
WHEN LIFE IS TOO SHORT
 
Chapter 47
-
THE ACCIDENT
 
Chapter 48
-
REWARDS AND MEMORIES
 
Chapter 49
-
COMING HOME
Epilogue
-
THE HORNET’S STING
NOTES
Index
Acknowledgments
 

This book would not have been possible without the help of two people—Thomas Sneum and Alan Brooke.

Tommy, the hero of the story, was patient, helpful and amusing, especially once he had overcome an early impulse to shoot me. He was, quite simply, the most fascinating man I have ever met. I will always cherish our many hours of taped conversations, Sneum’s cigar smoke thick in the air, the table littered with history books and the occasional bottle of schnapps, red wine or beer. His gift to me was the material for this book, mine to him the preservation of his story, though I will always be sorry that I didn’t earn him more recognition while he was still alive. It took many years to piee together the full story, perhaps too many, though I hope it has been worth it, both for you, the reader, and for Tommy’s family.

In sharp contrast it took Alan Brooke, Editor-at-Large for Piatkus, no time at all to see the potential of the story once I sent it to him. Like all great ‘bosses,’ having made his key observations, Alan then left the writer to come up with the right blend. If I have succeeded, and only others can be the judge of that, much of the credit should go to Alan for his firm but wonderfully economical guidance.

In the Sneum family, I want to give particular thanks to Tommy’s son Christian, whose knowledge of English and Danish (among many other languages) helped so much with the translation of important documents, such as Danish police reports, history books and newspaper articles. It is one of the enduring joys of having worked on this book that I can now count Christian among my friends. And although some of the tales of Tommy’s womanizing may not be entirely comfortable for ‘Chris,’ his sister Sandra or half-sister Marianne, neither will they come as any great surprise. I can only hope that everyone will recognize that, since a love for women was so central to Tommy’s life, it would have been a less-than-accurate portrayal of his character had some of these romantic adventures not been included here.

In my own family, my wife Victoria has given me invaluable assistance on the technical front, since the computer remains a mysterious beast to some of us. My little son Luca put up with seeing less of his father while the book was prepared, and I hope to make amends.

The late Ronnie Turnbull, who worked for Britain’s Special Operations Executive, also deserves special acknowledgement here. While his impact on Sneum’s war, however indirect, meant that he doesn’t always emerge favorably in the narrative, I always enjoyed our telephone conversations in the years before he died, and I have since been told that he did too. Ronnie was more than capable of arguing his corner, and when we didn’t feel like talking about the war any more we would talk about football instead. I developed an affection for Ronnie and tried without success to persuade Tommy to meet him, so that Sneum could overcome the bitterness he still felt towards SOE. The fact that I had to remain objective in the telling of this story should in no way devalue the personal rapport I developed with Turnbull, whether I agree with some of his wartime decisions or not.

There are so many people to thank: Denise Dwyer and Andy Hine in the Little, Brown London office for their cool professionalism and enthusiasm, and my excellent copy editor, Philip Parr, whose immediate grasp of the story’s various elements and eagle eye for consistency were truly amazing.

Undoubtedly there are many more helpful individuals in England and Denmark who have been overlooked here, so let this page be for you too, and for all those at the National Archives in Kew, London, and the Frihedmuseet in Copenhagen, who put up with my bad temper as I tried to uncover the truth.

Here is the product of all our hard work.

BOOK: The Hornet's Sting
9.14Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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