Unless correspondents ask us not to, this Website will post selected letters that it receives and invite open debate.
writes from Portugal, October 13, 1998:
I HAVE JUST come across your Internet site and feel I must congratulate you on a most stimulating undertaking. As a professional historian, I have made a point of reading all your books, ever since I bought The Destruction of Dresden many years ago. I wrote you back in the early 1980s, about the "Gleiwitz incident," to which you were kind enough to reply.
Having spent a few years working in intelligence assessment, in my country of origin, I was particularly interested in the Polizei intercepts shown in your site. My question is, how reliable are they? Were the actual intercepts 'edited' before they were submitted to Winston Churchill?
The reliability of one's sources, as you yourself have shown time after time, is vital. Years ago, I was contacted by a US television network and asked to give an expert opinion on Hugh Thomas' Rudolf Hess book. The author's theory was that, on that fateful day, Hess took off on a peace mission but was forced to land on his way to Scotland and replaced by a lookalike flying a broadly similar Bf 110.
He based his theory on a number of photos, said to have been taken before and during take-off, which clearly showed Hess boarding a Bf 110 with different camouflage and markings from the aircraft which crash-landed in Scotland. I wrote a report, identifying the aircraft by model and variant, Werk-Nummer, call sign and camouflage scheme, and concluded that I had no doubt that the aircraft shown in the photos and the one which ended up in Scotland were not the same.
Then I added that, in my humble opinion, the author's theory was mainly based on a rather flimsy detail: was he sure that the photos were indeed taken on that day, and how could he prove it? I must have annoyed somebody, because I never received so much as a thank-you note.
YES, THAT takes me back a few years. Those Polizeberichte are all genuine. Churchill was shown not only regular digests, but always demanded to see the raw originals too, he must have had an amazing reading load each day. The expert to contact on them in the UK is Dr John Fox. I have put your most interesting data on the Hess plane into my Hess file in case I do an updated edition of my book HESS THE MISSING YEARS.