Operation Mincemeat True Story: How Much Really Happened

Operation Mincemeat is inspired by the true events leading up to the Allied forces invading Sicily in 1943, but how much of what can be seen in the movie actually happened?
Operation Mincemeat is based on the book of the same name by historian Ben Macintyre. However, the same deception operation was also the subject of the 1953 book 
The Man Who Never Was (adapted into a 1956 film) written by intelligence officer Ewen Montagu, who co-led the effort and is portrayed by Colin Firth in
Operation Mincemeat. The new British War drama was theatrically released in the UK but is exclusive to Netflix in North America.,Set in motion by Montagu and fellow intelligence officer Charles Cholmondeley (Matthew MacFadyen) along with secretaries Hester Leggett (Penelope Wilton) and Jean Leslie (
Harry Potter’s Kelly Macdonald), Operation Mincemeat was a plan to trick the Axis powers and Hitler into believing the Allies would invade Greece instead of Sicily. Invading Sicily to enter continental Europe was the sound choice, so the Axis powers were understandably reinforcing their position there, and the Allied forces needed to change that. Organized conjointly with Lieutenant Commander Ian Fleming (Johnny Flynn), the objective was to plant fake documents detailing the upcoming invasion of Greece on a dead body and let it wash ashore for German spies to intercept and bring to Hitler.,Related: Munich: The Edge Of War True Story – How Much Is Real & How Accurate Is It,Operation Mincemeat repeatedly expresses, through its characters, how absurd the operation sounded and how long a shot it could have been. Yet, despite that and the fact that its full effect is unknown, Operation Mincemeat is believed to be one of the most successful tactical deception operations of World War II. Here’s the true story behind
Operation Mincemeat, how much really happened, and what the drama changed.,Future James Bond
 creator Ian Fleming is presented as the narrator at the beginning of
Operation Mincemeat. He is also shown to be a writer, like many of the people working with him, including Montagu and Cholmondeley, though his iconic 007 novels weren’t yet published at the time. Fleming was part of Operation Mincemeat as an assistant to Admiral John Godfrey (Jason Isaacs). The Trout memo, from which Operation Mincemeat took inspiration, was published under Godfrey’s name, though
Operation Mincemeat author Ben Macintyre believes it mainly was Fleming who did the writing.,While Fleming was probably less involved in the operation than Johnny Flynn’s character is in the movie, he indeed called Godfrey “M,” as depicted in
Operation Mincemeat. The 
James Bond books author was inspired by Godfrey when he conceived the M character for the page, and according to
Operation Mincemeat director John Madden, that isn’t the only reference to 007 in the movie. The intelligence officer helping Montagu and Cholmondeley with the set-up of the documents is part of the Q branch, and Madden revealed that Fleming was inspired by that figure for the creation of the Q character in the
James Bond series.,Operation Mincemeat really placed an old photograph of secretary Jean Leslie in one of the dead body’s pockets, but the love triangle between Ewen Montagu, Jean Leslie, and Charles Cholmondeley never actually happened. According to
Operation Mincemeat screenwriter Michelle Ashford (who also wrote for the World War II series
The Pacific), Montagu and Leslie really wrote to each other as if they were Bill and Pam, but there was no mention of Cholmondeley being jealous of their relationship. Still, historian Ben Macintyre believed Montagu and Leslie actually were in a romantic relationship, although when he asked the real Leslie about it, she refused to answer.,Related: Why Dunkirk Is A Better War Movie Than 1917,The body chosen for Operation Mincemeat was that of a homeless man named Glyndwr Michael. Almost everything the movie says about him is true, like the fact that he was buried in Spain as “William Martin,” and only in 1996 was his role in Operation Mincemeat revealed and subsequently acknowledged on his tombstone. However, Michael’s sister appearing to reclaim his body is entirely fictional. Ashford stated that with that storyline she wanted to portray “
the messiness of war” and convey that Glyndwr Michael was a person and not just a prop in the mission.,Operation Mincemeat has the Ian Fleming character mention that section 28 of the Trout memo was inspired by a novel. That was also true in real life, as revealed by historian Ben Macintyre. He noted in an interview that the original idea to plant fake documents on a dead body of a drowned airman was taken from Basil Thomson’s
The Milliner’s Hat Mystery. Thomson was a prewar author of detective novels, famous in his day but almost entirely forgotten nowadays.,Although quite truthful,
Operation Mincemeat implies that the operation’s name came from the gruesome nature of the plan. While Cholmondeley really did initially propose “Trojan Horse” as an operation name before later changing it to “Mincemeat,” the name wasn’t given because of the operation’s morbid nature. Instead, the name Operation Mincemeat was drawn from a list of meaningless operation titles, chosen randomly as all World War II mission names were.,Operation Mincemeat shows the operation going surprisingly slow when the body reaches the village of Huelva in Spain, so much so that it needs to be aided by naval officers on the ground in order to reach the German spies’ hands. In reality, the first part of the operation went as planned, and some local fishermen found the body. Instead of being turned over to the Nazis, though, the body ended up being discovered by Spanish officials loyal to the Allies. As they didn’t know of the operation and knew Martin belonged to the UK, they almost sent his body to England straight away, risking the success of the whole Allied forces mission.,Related: Saving Private Ryan Cast Guide: Every Famous Actor In Spielberg’s Movie,One worrisome development in 
Operation Mincemeat involves Jean Leslie. The manager of the club she often goes to with Montagu, Cholmondeley, and Hester Legget reveals himself to be a German spy and manages to find her at her home to interrogate her about the operation. When the invasion of Sicily succeeds with little opposition, Montagu and Cholmondeley are sure that it’s because the spy was working for Alexis von Roenne, a Nazi official secretly opposing Hitler. In reality, no German anti-Hitler spy got wind of the operation. Von Roenne really existed, and he was executed for trying and failing to assassinate Hitler in the July 20 Plot (depicted in the Tom Cruise movie
Valkyrie), but he never was privy to Operation Mincemeat.,Next: Munich: The Edge Of War – The Real 1938 Plot To Kill Hitler Explained