Robert Nairac's Uncle (David Basil Dykes) - WW2

metellus cimber

Old-Salt
Book Reviewer
Can anyone help with this? I seek information on Captain (David) Basil Dykes of the Worcestershire Regiment.

The late Captain Robert Nairac GC (murdered by IRA supporters in 1977) had a heroic uncle called David Basil Dykes (died 1992), who seems to have been an important influence on him. Basil Dykes was for many years a solicitor in Ledbury and Superintendent Registrar. In this capacity he permitted W H Auden to marry Erika Mann in his office in 1935.

Basil Dykes was a Territorial soldier in the 7th Bn The Worcestershire Regiment. He was almost captured at Dunkirk in 1940; was listed "missing believed killed or taken prisoner" but weeks later reappeared in the UK, having somehow got back there in a boat. This was to the relief of his family, who had prayed for his safety. They were less fortunate with Robert in 1977.

Thereafter his war service is a mystery, although he ended the war as a Major. He is believed to have been involved in some form of clandestine warfare, perhaps in SOE. As such, he might have influenced his nephew, with whom he was on very friendly terms (they used to shoot together), to do something similar. The records of his regiment are not very informative. Is there some way of discovering what he really did?

Thank you for your help.
 

metellus cimber

Old-Salt
Book Reviewer
Thanks, Gloworm. But that tells us nothing about what Basil Dykes did after he go back from Dunkirk. Moreover outsiders cannot login to the Worcestershire Regiment site to start a new thread.
 
I guess you are after this?
"In 1943, Captain DB Dykes in MI5's Birmingham office noted: 'Surely the point is whether a man of his nature who has been described as being clever and dangerous should be in a position where he has access to information of the highest degree of secrecy and importance?' "

This is the Klaus Fuchs affair
 

metellus cimber

Old-Salt
Book Reviewer
That is quite possible. Basil Dykes started the war as a Lieutenant and finished as a Major. At what stage he was promoted I do not know, but your information helps us narrow this down.
 

metellus cimber

Old-Salt
Book Reviewer
You are almost right about Auden. The connection is that Basil Dykes' partner was the Senior Registrar in Ledbury at that time. Dykes later succeeded him. That is how Auden came to get married in that particular solicitor's offices. However it appears that Basil Dykes lent his personal office for the occasion, as it was rather grander than the others! It is probably of no importance; Mr Dykes may simply have been an admirer of Auden's poetry and happy to lend his larger or more commodious office for the occasion. I gather that quite a few witnesses/friends were present. The mystery of this is; why Ledbury? Erika Mann was then living in The Netherlands. At that time any British Consul could marry you at a short Consular wedding ceremony. And London is not short of registry offices.
 

metellus cimber

Old-Salt
Book Reviewer
Thank you very much. At least we now know when Dykes was commissioned. It looks as though he was quite a serious STAB veen before the war.
 
I doesn't advance the cause but it may save some nugatory searching - there is no mention of him in Andrew's 'Defence of the Realm' (MI5 official history).
 

metellus cimber

Old-Salt
Book Reviewer
Thank you for checking. I am not sure that it signifies much. Depending upon when the book was compiled, Basil Dykes might have been still alive (he died in 1992) and have preferred not to be mentioned. Also, in wartime MI5 had expanded enormously. Although evidently a person of standing in Worcestershire, the wartime Basil Dykes in MI5's Birmingham office - not in London or the Home Counties - was probably quite a small fish in a big pond.
 
I recently came across the name of a Major Basil Dykes who was a member, possibly OC, of 106 SCIU (Special Counter Intelligence Unit). While British SCIUs were under administrative control of SIS, 105 and 106 SCIUs were made up of staff from MI5 who were to advise SHAEF and 21 Army Group on the use of Controlled Enemy Agents for the purposes of deception - a continuation of the British Double-Cross operation run by MI5. This may be the same man as your DB Dykes, but I have no firm information to confirm this.
 

RRA

Crow
If you are still looking for information about major D. B. Dykes, I found his name as an officer working for MI5 in Latchmere House (known as Camp 020) in south west London in 1943. His name appears in some files at the National Archives (declassified MI5 files).
I'm also trying to find more about his activities after WWII.
 

Bad CO

Admin
Just had a message in from his son

I just received a message that someone in 2014, 'crow', was seeking information about Major D.B.W. Dykes, TA officer, BEF 7th Bn Worcs, Dunkirk, afterwards MI5/6. I have his medals, his account of Dunkirk, and some later info about his MI5/6 activities. He died of lung cancer oin 1992. If anyone still wants to get in touch, I'm happy to help.
If you wish me to put you in touch then please PM me with an email address
 

metellus cimber II

Swinger
Book Reviewer
That is quite possible. Basil Dykes started the war as a Lieutenant and finished as a Major. At what stage he was promoted I do not know, but your information helps us narrow this down.
Basil Dykes was commissioned in the TA on 18 April 1936. King Edward VIII signed his commission. He was gazetted (First) Lieutenant on 1 July 1939. He was soon promoted to Captain. He ended the War as an Acting Major and was, unusually, given the Honorary rank of Major on discharge from the Army in 1946, with the right to use it from the day of his demobilisation. (As far as I know he never called himself 'Major Dykes'.) After his return from Dunkirk, he went to the Army Intelligence Corps; he was then seconded to MI5, where he was entrusted with some very sensitive vetting work. That is why there is little on record about his war service. Latterly he was a Liaison Officer with the Free French forces. General de Gaulle conferred on him the Medaille de la Reconnaissance Nationale for his 'exceptional military services rendered in the course of operations for the liberation of France' and the French Croix de Guerre, which is conferred on officers who have distinguished themselves by acts of heroism in combat against the enemy. Basil Dykes never spoke much about his later war service, although he did write a short book on the early part of the war: 'Dunkirk, A Memoir'. He was inded close to his nephew Robert Nairac and may well have been a role model for him.
 

metellus cimber II

Swinger
Book Reviewer
P.s. Basil's full name was David Basil Woosnam Dykes. He was articled to one of his Welsh Woosnam uncles, a solicitor in Solihull. Robert Nairac and Ian Woosnam, the golfer, share a great-grandfather.
 

Bad CO

Admin
I've been sent some photos of parts of the book 'Dunkirk, A Memoir' which can be seen below. This has been out of print for some time but if anyone would like a copy then his son has offered to have them made for £10 plus p&p. It is approx 180 pages and 30 illustrations/photos.

If anyone is interested then let me know and I'll pass on contact details.

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mas11

Crow
Can anyone help with this? I seek information on Captain (David) Basil Dykes of the Worcestershire Regiment.

The late Captain Robert Nairac GC (murdered by IRA supporters in 1977) had a heroic uncle called David Basil Dykes (died 1992), who seems to have been an important influence on him. Basil Dykes was for many years a solicitor in Ledbury and Superintendent Registrar. In this capacity he permitted W H Auden to marry Erika Mann in his office in 1935.

Basil Dykes was a Territorial soldier in the 7th Bn The Worcestershire Regiment. He was almost captured at Dunkirk in 1940; was listed "missing believed killed or taken prisoner" but weeks later reappeared in the UK, having somehow got back there in a boat. This was to the relief of his family, who had prayed for his safety. They were less fortunate with Robert in 1977.

Thereafter his war service is a mystery, although he ended the war as a Major. He is believed to have been involved in some form of clandestine warfare, perhaps in SOE. As such, he might have influenced his nephew, with whom he was on very friendly terms (they used to shoot together), to do something similar. The records of his regiment are not very informative. Is there some way of discovering what he really did?

Thank you for your help.
He was never missing,believed killed or taken prisoner. He was on the 2nd last ship to leave Dunkirk from the Mole, and arrived in Dover, on June 3rd 1940. There is soon to be a book available on Amazon .Dunkirk, which is his on the ground account of the Dunkirk retreat. After Dunkirk he was in MI5, and then in 1944 he was with MI6 and with SHAEF .All the info is available from the N.A.
 

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