MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) _ A newspaper said Monday that a British intelligence officer rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel in Germany’s espionage service in World War II and was given the Iron Cross while stealing secrets from the Nazis.
The Melbourne Age newspaper, in a copyright story by British writer Nigel West, gave details of the purported counter-spy career of Charles Henry Evans.
West, in the article, said he recently received an anonymous letter challenging some details in his latest book on British intelligence. He said he came to Australia with only the Melbourne postmark on the letter to guide him to a series of interviews that eventually led him to contact with Evans, now living in Australia.
West wrote that Evans, who came to Australia in 1949 and has worked in various businesses, agreed to tell his story for the first time.
There was no official comment from British officials in London on the newspaper account.
West wrote that Evans rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Abwehr, the intelligence arm of the German army, and passed on to the British such secrets as the date of the invasion of the Soviet Union, details of new weapons such as the Tiger tank and the V1 missile, and information on Nazi spies.
The Melbourne Age said it had been able to substantiate parts of Evans’ accounts from independent sources, but gave no details.
West said Evans posed as a medical student in Germany before World War II under a British plan to infiltrate him into German military intelligence.
The article said Adm. Hugh Sinclair, head of the British MI6 intelligence service and a friend of Evans’ father, asked Evans in 1933 when he was 15 to assume the identity of a German student who had studied in England and go to Germany. Evans spoke fluent German.
Sinclair believed war with Nazi Germany was inevitable and was certain Evans would be recruited by German intelligence because of his English background, West wrote.
He said Evans told him he was recruited by the Abwehr after graduating from the medical school of Heidelberg University.
″I was in continuous touch with London from the moment I took up my appointment with the Abweher ... to my final escape at the end of January 1945,″ Evans was quoted as saying.
Evans used his position as an Abwehr officer to pass information to MI6 through anti-Nazi Germans, according to West.
He quoted Evans as saying he was awarded the Iron Cross, one of Germany’s highest military decorations.