WW2 Major Frank Foley

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Aunty Stella, Jan 23, 2009.

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  1. I had to go and look at a job today in Stourbridge (Black Country, West Mids) not far from one of the parks.

    After I got chatting to the guy I was seeing, it turned out that we were both ex squaddies and he mentioned to me that there was a plaque to Maj Foley at the entrance to the park and that I should go take a look.

    So, off I went and looked and following that did a Google on him when I got home.

    Turns out that as well as being a member of SIS and a previous WW1 veteran, he is also on the " Righteous Among the Nations" list as created by the Jews, the same list that Schindler is on.

    Have looked him up on t' interweb but, although he has many, many links, there doesn't seem to be that much info on how he actually saved the thousands that he did outside of the general info of using his diplomatic status to do so.

    More interestingly, according to Wiki (although I do tend to take with a pinch of salt everything that is on there), there is a planned film but there are quote "critics of the project that maintain it may pose a threat to National Security" unquote. Surely anything of this nature that happened over 60 years ago could not possibly constitute a "threat to national security"

    Just wondered if any of you esteemed historians out there had any real info on this man as I'd love to find out more about him and more importantly, would love to find out why his story is still classed by some as a security threat.
  2. Frank Foley was MI6 station chief in Berlin in the 1930s. He saved tens of thousands of Jews from the Holocaust, not my figures that comes from Jewish archives. There was a hearing at which a relative of one of Foley's agents tried to get more information out of MI6 but they have strict rules on protecting agents for obvious reasons and refused to even confirm the man was one of their agents. That has nothing to do with a film and certainly will not stop the film which is being considered and is based on the book Foley: The Spy Who Saved 10,000 Jews, by one Michael Smith. If you just want a bit of information you can go to the Frank Foley page on Wiki, which is accurate, I have checked it all.

    Frank Foley on Wiki

    If that is not enough for you, you can get the book from Amazon. :wink:

    Foley from Amazon
  3. I have this book and I thoroughly enjoyed it (thanks Mick - you made me laugh and cry!) - Foley came across as a very understated character with a 'can do, must do' attitude.

    More links here if you've not seen them:



  4. Thanks DozyBint, it's good to have the feedback
  5. Ditto here Dozy.

    Get the book AS it's a very good read, as for Foley himself a true Gentleman who saw the Nazis for what they where and did everything in his power to save lives.

    As an aside Mick Smiths books are all worth a read, I started with The Spying Game and then onto the rest of his back catalogue (well the ones that are still obtainable).
  6. Thanks Mick, Dozey and Gwa, I shall certainly look into it further.

    And a second thanks to Mick for PM'ing me prior to posting a response and correcting a guffaw I had made :)
  7. Bloody Hell just started looking at this fella.

    talk about understated hero. Makes you wonder who else is out there with just a plaque to his name. If this was septic land he would have at least 1 aircraft carrier 2 schools a uni and a bus stop named after him
  8. On a similar theme, BSM Charles Coward. Never was a man so inaptly named.


    His testimoy from Nuremburg: http://www.mazal.org/archive/nmt/08/NMT08-T0603.htm
  9. Now him i have heard of due to the fact that they had a large display of things that had happend during the Nuremberg trials in the CAEN Memorial museum in about 2006 or so and remember his name sounding so inappropriate.
  10. Just as an add on, I ordered the book from Amazon and have just finished it.

    Heartely reccomended and well written, good effort Mick.

    Now I have to go and scrub my fingers after typing something nice about a journalist :)
  11. LancePrivateJones

    LancePrivateJones LE Book Reviewer

    Wasn't Frank Foley later involved with the XX (Twenty) committee?

    It seems to be this period of his life that is causing discomfort to HMG.

    I think Frank Foley's later life looks fascinating as well.

    A extraordinary bloke dressed up like a really ordinary one.
  12. There is a Street named after him in Burnham on Sea, Somerset
  13. Reading accounts of people like these two gentlemen is a truly humbling experience. Throughout time people haven't just taken the easy route or thought only of themselves. It is to these people that we owe our existance and our freedoms today.
  14. Even then I don't think it should be an issue. The "double cross" thing lost all relevance after the war really and pretty much everything else from that period has been released, although I defer to Mick Smiths obviously far greater knowledge about MI6 never releasing info about their agents.

    An interesting one about the XX committee (so I read on Wiki) is that EVERY spy sent to Britain, bar 1 who topped himself, turned themselves in or were turned by the XX boys! That has got to be an achievment in itself.

    A trully remarkable man and I'm very glad I asked the original question. I'm sure that there are far too many "unsung heroes" from our past out there that saved thousands if not hundreds of thousands that don't even have a plaque to their name.