A newly released file at the British National Archives sheds more light on the arrest of the Times journalist and Britain's master of deception in WW2, Brigadier Dudley Wrangel Clarke, CB, CBE.
FROM MADRID TO FOREIGN OFFICE.
No. 1466. D. 10.00 p.m. 18th October, 1941.
18th October, 1941. R. 3.20 a.m. 19th October, 1941.
Following for Sir A. Cadogan.
Dudley Clarke, "Times" war correspondent, arrived in Madrid on October 16th on his way to Egypt via Gibraltar. He informed the Military Attaché that he was also employed by the joint Intelligence Bureau, Near East, and was under the War Office. The Military Attaché and Hamilton-Stokes were particularly struck by his intimate knowledge of military secrets and plans of Naval Intelligence, Middle East. Last night he was arrested in a main street dressed, down to a brassiere, as a woman.
The police interpreter who helped the interrogation of him, informed a member of my staff that he stated that he was a novelist and wanted to study the reactions of men to women in the streets. His luggage contained another complete set of women's clothes, a war correspondent's uniform and a note book with a number of names of people in London in it. Also papers and a roll of super-fine toilet paper which particularly excited the police who are submitting each sheet to chemical tests.
The Consul who saw him this morning found him calm and unconcerned, but he told a different story. He was taking the feminine garments to a lady in Gibraltar and thought that he would try them on for a prank. This hardly squares with the fact that the garments and shoes fitted him.
The interpreter states that the police consider it a homosexual affair, and will probably fine and release him. But the Germans apparently think that they have got on to a first class espionage incident and will certainly make the most of it, either way, I need hardly point out the damage this incident will do to us and the "Times" here. Jokes have already begun about "the editor" of the "Times" masquerading as a woman. Shall I send Clarke back to London or let him proceed if and when released?
[Copy sent to Sir A. Cadogan].
[Source: TNA FO 1093/252, transcribed by www.arcre.com]