Plaque

Operation Mincemeat

Hackney Mortuary Operation Mincemeat

Erection date: 24/4/2022

Inscription

{Below the Hackney crest:}
Operation Mincemeat
The Hackney Mortuary played an important role in a British military operation during the Second World War (1939--1945), which helped save the lives of thousands of soldiers.

In April 1943 Lieutenant Commander Ewen Montagu OBE KC RNVR, a British Jew, and Flight Lieutenant Charles C. Cholmondeley MBE RAF, a British aristocrat, planned Operation Mincemeat to misdirect German forces' attention away from the Allied invasion of Sicily. They brought the donated body of a man to the Hackney Mortuary where it stayed on ice for three months. Cholmondeley and Montague transformed the corpse into a fictitious officer - Major William Martin. The body was taken to Scotland and then to a point off southern Spain, where it was placed in the water carrying false letters from senior Allied officers suggesting the Allies would invade Greece, not Sicily. When the body was found, the letters were shared with Nazi intelligence, misdirecting German forces, saving thousands of British and American soldiers' lives during the invasion of Sicily.

Set a watch before my mouth Lord: and over the door of my lips. {repeated in Hebrew} Psalms 141:3.

Hackney Council, Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation, Martin Sugarman (Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women, Stamford Hill and Hackney Branch)

The Biblical quotation draws attention to the secrecy which was essential to the success of Operation Mincemeat (the 'watch' being a guard, not a time-piece, as we first thought.)

The position of the plaque is strange. Low plaques are difficult to read, often get damaged and suffer rain splash-back from the pavement. It’s not as if they didn’t have a higher section of wall available. 

Hackney Citizen reported on this plaque on 2 December 2021 and we found it on Christmas Day 2021, but it was seemingly not unveiled until 24 April 2022, to tie in with the cinema release of the film Operation Mincemeat.

Site: Hackney Mortuary (2 memorials)

E8, Lower Clapton Road, St John's Churchyard

Taking our photo of the building we were aware of a white van arriving and just hoped that it would not decide to park across the front of the building, as has a habit of happening when we are taking photos. But, unusually, the driver had noticed what we were doing and waited, out of shot, until we were finished.  Thanking him and his colleague, we noticed that the van was labelled "Private ambulance". As we left the van reversed up to the red gates which opened to admit the delivery. A macabre event at any time but this was Christmas Day 2021.

British History Online gives: "part of the Rectory's garden was taken in 1890 for a new mortuary, which was opened with rooms for a coroner's court in 1893."

This section lists the subjects commemorated on the memorial on this page:
Operation Mincemeat

Subjects commemorated i

Operation Mincemeat

Operation Mincemeat was a successful WW2 British deception operation to disgu...

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World War 2

Sorry, we've done no research on WW2, it's just too big a subject. But do vis...

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Major William Martin

See Operation Mincemeat for Major Martin's role in WW2. The body was identifi...

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Flight Lieutenant Charles Cholmondeley

Cholmondeley and Ewen Montagu conceived the idea behind Operation Mincemeat a...

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Lieutenant Commander Ewen Montagu

Montagu and Charles Cholmondely conceived the idea behind Operation Mincemeat...

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This section lists the subjects who helped to create/erect the memorial on this page:
Operation Mincemeat

Created by i

Hackney Council

Hackney Council was created in 1965 from the 3 Metropolitan Borough Councils ...

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Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation

From their website: "The Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation is...

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Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women

From their website: "With over 120,000 Jews having served in the British Arme...

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Martin Sugarman

Chair Hackney-Haifa Twinning Association and co-chair, with councillor Linda ...

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This section lists the other memorials at the same location as the memorial on this page:
Operation Mincemeat

Also at this site i

Hackney Mortuary

Hackney Mortuary

Mortuary Buildings erected by the Hackney District Board of Works, Anno Domin...

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Nearby Memorials

First Zeppelin bomb of WW1 - incorrect

First Zeppelin bomb of WW1 - incorrect

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Herbert Gribble

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