Eddie Chapman

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Edward Arnold 'Eddie' Chapman (16 November 1914 Burnopfield, County Durham - 11 December 1997) was a pre-war criminal and wartime spy. During the Second World War he offered his services to Nazi Germany as a spy and a traitor whilst intending all along to become a British double agent. His British Secret Service handlers code named him 'ZIGZAG' in acknowledgement of his rather erratic personal history. He had a number of criminal aliases known by the British police, amongst them Edward Edwards, Arnold Thompson and Edward Simpson. His German codename was Fritz Graumann or, later, after endearing himself to his German cronies, its diminutive form of Fritzchen.



After serving with the Coldstream Guards in the 1930s, Chapman deserted and became a safecracker with London West End gangs and spent several stretches in jail for these crimes. He had affairs with a number of women on the fringes of London high society and then allegedly blackmailed them with photographs taken by an accomplice.

Well along into his criminal career he was arrested in Scotland and charged with blowing up the safe of the headquarters of the Edinburgh Co-operative Society. Let out on bail, he fled to Jersey in the Channel Islands where he attempted unsuccessfully to continue his crooked ways.

Chapman had been dining with his lover and future fiancée Betty Farmer at the Hotel de la Plage immediately before his arrest and made a spectacular exit through the dining room window (which was shut at the time) when he saw undercover police coming to arrest him for crimes on the mainland. It was later that same night, unbelievably, that he committed the slapdash burglary for which he had to immediately begin serving two years in a Jersey prison. This proved to be an ironic twist of fate which ultimately spared him at least 14 more years' imprisonment in a mainland prison afterwards.

Second World War

Chapman was still behind bars when the Channel Islands were invaded by the Germans who soon transferred him and Anthony Faramus to Fort de Romainville in Paris. Chapman, ever the consummate opportunist, offered his services to them as a turncoat agent. He was trained in explosives, radio communications, parachute jumping and other subjects in France at La Bretonnière, near Nantes and dispatched to England to commit acts of sabotage.

He was dropped into Cambridgeshire on 16 December 1942 and surrendered himself to the local police before offering his services to MI5. Thanks to ULTRA, MI5 had prior knowledge of his mission.[1] He was interrogated at Latchmere House in West London, better known as Camp 020. MI5 decided to use him against the Germans and assigned Ronnie Reed as his case officer. (Reed had been invited to join MI5 in 1940 and remained until his retirement in 1976).

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