A lone Spaniard contributed in no small part to making the D-Days landings a success 75 years ago. Catalan Joan Pujol Garcia (codename Garbo) was a British double agent. In 1939, during the early days of World War ll, Pujol decided that he must make a contribution "for the good of humanity" (and to oppose the Franco regime) by helping Britain. He was recruited by the Germans as an agent and then offered his services to British intelligence. In the days before the Normandy invasion Pujol managed to convince the German High Command that the landings would be in the Calais region. His information was so convincing that the Germans stationed additional troops in this area to repel the attack, leaving the Normandy area rather poorly defended.
Garbo's British intelligence "handler" was Tommy Harris, who was later to settle in Majorca and worked as an art dealer from his home in Camp de Mar. He later died in a car crash on the island in the 1970s. Garbo's intelligence operation remained a closely guarded secret for many years. Even the MBE he was awarded for his services to British intelligence was kept a secret. He had a private audience with Queen Elizabeth and was presented with the medal on behalf of a grateful nation.
There are many stories involving great heroism during the D-day landings and the actions of Pujol should not be underestimated. Like all those who landed on the beaches 75 years ago he is a true hero.