Ormonde Winter

Brigadier-General Sir Ormonde de l'Épée Winter KBE CB CMG DSO (1875–1962) was a British Army officer and author who after service in World War I was responsible for intelligence operations in Ireland during the Anglo-Irish War. He later became a British Fascist and fought for the Finnish Army in the Winter War.

Ormonde de l'Épée Winter
Th4FL4TLO0
Nickname(s)'O'
Born1875
Died1962 (aged 86 or 87)
AllegianceFlag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Service/branchBritish Army
Years of service-1924
RankBrigadier General
Battles/warsFirst World War
Anglo-Irish War
Soviet-Finnish War for Finland
AwardsKnight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Companion of the Order of the Bath
Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George
Distinguished Service Order

Service

Winter was a Royal Artillery officer and served in the First World War. He was appointed as Chief of the British Army intelligence branch and deputy chief of police in Dublin where he was known as "O," and "the holy terror". Prior to his appointment as CIO he was an 'old' Colonel, who next found himself a young Brigadier-General. Draconian in outlook he was reported to have precipitated the suicide of three of his juniors.

Irish War of Independence

He was appointed in May 1920 by the Secretary of State for War, Winston Churchill to replace his friend General Tudor as Chief of Intelligence. Even given Winter's lack of experience in the espionage field, 'O' impressed at the time with his initial reorganisation of heavily centralised departments. Mark Sturgis wrote of the Dublin Castle regime; "'O' is a marvel, he looks like a wicked little white snake, he can do anything".[1] If nothing else he was innovative, yet his detractors claimed him to be obsessed with cloak and dagger operations.

In his final report to the British Government Winter listed the following as his main methods of intelligence gathering:

  1. Agents obtained by local Police and through the agency of Local Centres
  2. Agents recruited in England and sent to Ireland
  3. Dublin Special Branch
  4. Persons friendly to the Police volunteering information
  5. Those persons who gave information whilst under arrest or in prison, with a view to escaping the punishment of their crimes
  6. Captured documents
  7. Information from ordinary Police sources based on observation
  8. 'Moutons' (infiltrators) placed either in prisons or in detention cells with rebel prisoners
  9. Listening sets
  10. Interrogation of prisoners
  11. Censorship of letters of prisoners in jail
  12. Scotland House (the address to which anonymous letters were sent)[2]

Many members of his exotically named "Cairo Gang" possibly named after their meeting place the Cairo Cafe or possibly due to many having served in the Middle East, met their end on Bloody Sunday in November 1920.[3] The net result was that the intelligence service either retreated into Dublin Castle or evacuated to England.[4] Another of his plans was for potential informers to write to a secret address in England, and the net result as he freely admitted was a pile of hoaxes and abusive mail. However, amidst this mass were some valuable nuggets of genuine intelligence. One informer for Winter, Vincent Fovargue was given safe haven in England, but with informers everywhere even inside Dublin castle (Michael Collins' female cousin was a stenographer who passed security checks but was later uncovered and arrested) Fovargue was tracked down and his body was found upon a golf course with the traditional message 'Spies and traitors beware.'

Another was revealed to be a criminal fraud, uncovered not by Winter but by newspaper reporters and IRA intelligence. The IRA allowed this man to live so that he could be uncovered. Other agents were more successful. One quoted at length in led a raid that captured 3 senior IRA members writing communiques to their subordinates.[5] He rewrote the messages summoning all IRA leaders in the district to a meeting where they were arrested. Maintaining his cover as an IRA member he was placed into custody alongside them, gaining more intelligence from their conversation in jail.

Amongst Winter's other ideas was 'The Raid Bureau', a unit dedicated to analysing the vast amounts of paperwork generated by IRA leader Michael Collins. An obsessive clerk, his dedication to paperwork would to some degree compromise certain activities of the IRA, revealing arms supplies, financial records and even providing lists of IRA members and the identities of traitors within the police. Such documents were more valuable than any informer and could be presented in court as evidence which an informer would be unwilling to do. The principal reason for lack of informers, jury, and even judges in the civil courts was intimidation, which was one of the reasons martial law was in place.

Another innovation was collecting photographs of IRA members netted as results of raids. Winter was able to recruit at least three leading IRA members as informers and many lesser ranks. To supplement the crippled Cairo Gang, Winter formed the igoe Gang named after its commander, Eugene Igoe a policeman from County Galway, who was expelled from Ireland after the Anglo-Irish War. They were a unit of plain clothes police who had limited success in killing and capturing IRA members and a number of other young men who fell into their hands on the streets of Dublin. Ormonde personally killed one IRA assassin whilst shooting his way out of an ambush and captured another. Also, to counter IRA propaganda, Winter published his own versions of IRA newspapers, skilfully edited to subvert the Irish republican cause.

During the first months of 1921, Hamar Greenwood and others were declaring that the IRA was near defeat. However, it quickly became clear that the British Government strategy of combining repression with limited concessions was still not working. Faced with the choice of either waging a war of reconquest or negotiating peace, the government chose negotiation. A Truce was signed in July 1921, and the Treaty in December.

Later service

Winter retired from the army in 1924. In the 1920s Winter joined the directorship of the burgeoning but badly managed British Fascisti, which held several massive rallies (12,000 at one) in the London Parks, their followers being mainly women, ex suffragette types as The Times reported. Winter may have been an agent provocateur.

The director was Brigadier General Robert Byron Drury Blakeney ex Royal Engineers who was in part responsible for the birth of the extremist Imperial Fascist League. Through mismanagement and scandal the BF faded into obscurity in the late 1920s and membership was swallowed up by other fascist movements. In his book Winter makes virtually no mention of this period, perhaps under the Official Secrets Act. After the financial demise of the BF, he apparently took no further part in Fascist politics.

In 1940 at the age of 65, he offered his services to the Finnish Army, in their defence against Communist Russia. He was honoured for his service—certificates can be seen in his personal collection in the Imperial War Museum. He was a master of five Russo-Slavic languages and was a chain smoker. His obituary read that he neither feared God nor man, (Times Obits) and he boasted of having been cleared of manslaughter in his student youth, in an incident when a man was struck on a river with a rowing oar whilst attacking Winter.

Cultural depictions

General Winter appears in the RTÉ miniseries Resistance (2019), played by Paul Ritter.[6]

Works

  • Winter's Tale, An Autobiography, Richards Press: London, 1955

References

  1. ^ (Sturgis papers)
  2. ^ P Hart (ed.), Narratives; British Intelligence in Ireland 1920–1921; The Final Reports.
  3. ^ T Ryle Dwyer, Michael Collins's Intelligence Operations
  4. ^ Frank Percy Crozier, Ireland Forever
  5. ^ Peter Hart (ed.), Narratives; British Intelligence in Ireland 1920–1921; The Final Reports.
  6. ^ https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/television/the-voice-uk-dancing-with-the-stars-resistance-top-tv-picks-for-tonight-and-tomorrow-night-37682877.html

Bibliography

  • Foy, Michael T : Michael Collins Intelligence War (Sutton Publishing 2006) : ISBN 978-0-7509-4267-6
  • Hart, Peter: British Intelligence in Ireland: The Final Reports: (Irish Narratives, Cork University Press 2002) : ISBN 978-1-85918-201-7
    Book's cover with image of Ormonde Winter
  • 'The Peerage' website
  • Family tree
  • [1]
  • Overview of intelligence operations
11th (Northern) Division

The 11th (Northern) Division, was an infantry division of the British Army during World War I, raised from men volunteering for Lord Kitchener's New Armies. The division fought in the Gallipoli Campaign and on the Western Front. The division's insignia was an ankh or ankhus.

Adam Marshall Diston

Adam Marshall Diston (1893–1956; born in Scotland) was a journalist for the Sunday Dispatch and ghostwriter for Winston Churchill. He had 'close affinities' to Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists. He had a military background, serving in a Scottish regiment from 1914-1918.

Arthur Percival

Lieutenant-General Arthur Ernest Percival, (26 December 1887 – 31 January 1966) was a senior British Army officer. He saw service in the First World War and built a successful military career during the interwar period but is most noted for his defeat in the Second World War, when he commanded British Commonwealth forces during the Japanese Malayan Campaign and the subsequent Battle of Singapore.

Percival's surrender to the invading Imperial Japanese Army force, the largest surrender in British military history, undermined Britain's prestige as an imperial power in East Asia. His defenders, such as Sir John Smyth, have argued that under-funding of Malaya's defences and the inexperienced, under-equipped nature of the Commonwealth army, not Percival's leadership, were ultimately to blame.

British Fascists

The British Fascists were the first political organisation in the United Kingdom to claim the label of fascist. While the group had more in common with conservatism for much of its existence, it nonetheless was the first to self-describe as fascist in Britain. William Joyce, Neil Francis Hawkins, Maxwell Knight and Arnold Leese were amongst those to have passed through the movement as members and activists.

Cairo Gang

The Cairo Gang was a group of British intelligence agents who were sent to Dublin during the Irish War of Independence to conduct intelligence operations against prominent members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) – according to Irish intelligence with the intention of assassinating them. Twelve men including British Army officers, Royal Irish Constabulary officers and a civilian informant were killed on the morning of 21 November 1920 by the Irish Republican Army in a planned series of simultaneous early-morning strikes engineered by Michael Collins. The events were the first killings of Bloody Sunday.

Some Irish historians (such as Tim Pat Coogan and Conor Cruise O'Brien) dispute assertions of a common history of service in the Middle East as the reason for the unit's nom de guerre. It has been suggested that they received the name because they often held meetings at Cafe Cairo at 59 Grafton Street in Dublin. Earlier books on the 1919–1923 period do not refer to the Cairo Gang by that name.

Colin Gubbins

Major-General Sir Colin McVean Gubbins (2 July 1896 – 11 February 1976) was the prime mover of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) in the Second World War.Gubbins was also responsible for setting up the secret Auxiliary Units, a commando force based around the Home Guard, to operate on the flanks and to the rear of German lines if the United Kingdom were invaded during Operation Sea Lion, Germany's planned invasion.

Conor Clune

Conor Clune (Irish name Conchobhair Mac Clúin; 1893 – 21 November 1920) was one of three men along with Dick McKee and Peadar Clancy killed in controversial circumstances in Dublin Castle on Bloody Sunday, 1920, a day that also saw the killing of a network of British spies by the "Squad" unit of the Irish Republican Army and the killing of 14 people in Croke Park by British forces. Clune was 27 years old.

English Defence League

The English Defence League (EDL) is a far-right, Islamophobic organisation in the United Kingdom. A social movement and pressure group that employs street demonstrations as its main tactic, the EDL presents itself as a single-issue movement opposed to Islamism and Islamic extremism, although its rhetoric and actions target Islam and Muslims more widely. Founded in 2009, its heyday lasted until 2011, after which it entered a decline. It is presently chaired by Tim Ablitt.

Established in London, the EDL coalesced around several football hooligan firms protesting the public presence of the small Salafi Islamist group Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah in Luton, Bedfordshire. Tommy Robinson, a former member of the British National Party (BNP), soon became its de facto leader. The organisation grew swiftly, holding demonstrations across England and often clashing with anti-fascist protesters from Unite Against Fascism and other groups, who deemed it a racist organisation victimising British Muslims. The EDL also established a strong social media presence on Facebook and YouTube. Moving towards electoral politics, it established formal links with the far-right British Freedom Party, a breakaway from the BNP. The EDL's reputation was damaged in 2011 after supporters were convicted of plotting to bomb mosques and links were revealed with Norwegian far-right terrorist Anders Breivik. In 2013 Robinson—supported by the Quilliam think tank—left the group; he claimed it had become too extreme, and established the rival Pegida UK. The group's membership declined significantly following Robinson's departure and various branches declared independence.

Ideologically on the extreme-right or far-right of British politics, the EDL is part of the international counter-jihad movement. Officially, it presents itself as being opposed to Islamism, Islamic extremism, and jihadism, although its rhetoric repeatedly conflates these with Islam and Muslims more broadly. Rejecting the idea that Muslims can truly be English, the EDL presents Islam as an intolerant, primitive threat seeking to take over Europe. Political scientists and other commentators have characterised this Islamophobic stance as culturally racist. Both online and at its events, EDL members have incited violence against Muslims, with supporters carrying out violent acts both at demonstrations and independently. The EDL's broader ideology features nationalism and populism, blaming a perceived decline in English culture on high immigration rates and an uncaring political elite. It distinguished itself from Britain's traditional far-right by rejecting biological racism, anti-Semitism, and homophobia. Although several of its leaders were previously involved in fascist organisations and some neo-Nazis and other fascists attended EDL events, commentators differ on whether the EDL itself is ideologically fascist or not.

Headed by a small leadership team, the EDL sub-divided into over 90 local and thematic divisions, each with considerable autonomy. Its support base consisted primarily of young, working-class white British men, some from established far-right and football hooligan subcultures. Polls indicated that most UK citizens opposed the EDL, and the group was repeatedly challenged by anti-fascist groups. Many local councils and police forces discouraged EDL marches, citing the high financial cost of policing them, the disruptive influence on community harmony, and the damage caused to counter-terrorism operations.

Football Lads Alliance

The Football Lads Alliance (FLA) is a movement in the United Kingdom founded by John Meighan in 2017. According to The Times, "the movement was set up as a self-proclaimed 'anti-extremist' movement" but has increasingly become associated with far-right politics and far-right activists.The Premier League has warned clubs that "the group is using fans and stadiums to push an anti-Muslim agenda". Concern has also been expressed that the Alliance is "giving cover to the far right" and "uses a secret Facebook page full of violent, racist and misogynistic posts".

Henry Hugh Tudor

Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Hugh Tudor, KCB, CMG (14 March 1871 – 25 September 1965) was a British soldier who fought as a junior officer in the Second Boer War (1899–1902), and as a senior officer in the First World War (1914–18), but is now remembered chiefly for his part in the Irish War of Independence (1919–21) and the Palestine Police.

MI5

The Security Service, also known as MI5 (Military Intelligence, Section 5), is the United Kingdom's domestic counter-intelligence and security agency and is part of its intelligence machinery alongside the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and Defence Intelligence (DI). MI5 is directed by the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), and the service is bound by the Security Service Act 1989. The service is directed to protect British parliamentary democracy and economic interests, and counter terrorism and espionage within the UK.

Within the civil service community the service is colloquially known as Box 500 (after its official wartime address of PO Box 500; its current address is PO Box 3255, London SW1P 1AE).The service has had a national headquarters at Thames House on Millbank in London since 1995, drawing together personnel from a number of locations into a single HQ facility: Thames House also houses the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, a subordinate organisation to the Security Service; prior to March 2013, Thames House additionally housed the Northern Ireland Office (NIO). The service has offices across the United Kingdom including an HQ in Northern Ireland.Details of the northern operations centre in Greater Manchester were revealed by the firm who built it.

Nevil Macready

General Sir Cecil Frederick Nevil Macready, 1st Baronet, (7 May 1862 – 9 January 1946), known affectionately as Make-Ready (close to the correct pronunciation of his name), was a British Army officer. He served in senior staff appointments in the First World War and was the last British military commander in Ireland, and also served for two years as Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis in London.

Paul Ritter (actor)

Paul Ritter (born 5 March 1966) is an English stage and screen actor. He is most famous for his roles in films including Quantum of Solace, Son of Rambow, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and The Eagle, as well as television programmes including Vera, Friday Night Dinner, The Hollow Crown, Peredur in The Last Kingdom and Anatoly Dyatlov in Chernobyl.

Ritter's screen work has included roles in Nowhere Boy, the 2007 television serial Instinct, the comedy drama Pulling, the role of Pistol in Henry IV, Part II in BBC Two's cycle of William Shakespeare's history plays, The Hollow Crown, the late comic actor Eric Sykes in Tommy Cooper: Not Like That, Like This and a lead role in BBC One's 2014 serialised Cold War spy drama, The Game. The Daily Telegraph described Ritter as 'an actor who is surely destined for greatness very soon. His Pistol conveyed perfectly the shock of a man who reluctantly had left behind the rowdy cheer of Eastcheap, and found himself in middle age contemplating the melancholy of a medieval autumn.'From 2005 to 2006, Ritter played Otis Gardiner in the original Royal National Theatre production of Helen Edmundson's Coram Boy. He was nominated for a Tony Award in 2009 for his role in The Norman Conquests. In 2012, he appeared as the protagonist's father in the stage version of Mark Haddon's novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the National Theatre and in 2013 as John Major in the premiere of Peter Morgan's The Audience.

Resistance (miniseries)

Resistance (released as Rebellion Season 2 on Netflix) is a 2019 television miniseries written by Colin Teevan for Irish broadcaster RTÉ, dramatising the events surrounding the Irish War of Independence.Set during the time of Bloody Sunday in 1920, it is a sequel to the 2016 miniseries, Rebellion, which was set during the 1916 Easter Rising.

Sarah Winter

For the fictional character see Sarah Winter (The Reaping). For the British actress, see Sarah Winter (actress).Sarah Winter née Domville-Taylor (1870–1944) was a noted British Nazi Supporter and member of the British Union of Fascists, as well as a Society hostess throughout the 1920s and 1930s.

Sarah Domville-Taylor was born in 1870 in Ludlow, Shropshire the youngest of five daughters of Walter Domville-Taylor JP and his wife Mary Hamilton, daughter of Col. Christopher Hamilton MP. She grew up in an impoverished but Upper class home with a house in Shropshire and a house in London, 48 Belgrave Square. She grew up with a German governess Baroness von Altenburg and was taught a very pro German and Anti-semitic ideology.

After being educated at home and then at Finishing School, she made her appearance at court as a debutante, in 1890, the year she also married her only husband Robert Winter (1872–1898), whose family were major landowners in Newport, Shropshire. They had one child, Arthur Trevor Winter, educated at Fettes College and who was a banker with Barclays. He refused to ever talk of his mother's political views, his grandson is Professor Michael Winter. Her husband's cousin was Ormonde Winter, another noted British Fascist, who was married to a first cousin of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, emphasizing her position in British Society. Many historians believe that this close family relationship with King George VI was hugely responsible for her apparent diplomatic and social immunity during these years.

Following her husband's death of typhoid, Mrs Winter devoted her life to charity but also to the social life she loved and cherished. Her annual Hamilton House Christmas Ball was always well attended, including an appearance from Edward VII in 1902. She was not Pro-German at this time but began to be more so after the end of the First World War, on hearing accounts from her relation Ian Standish Monteith Hamilton.She joined the Anglo-German Fellowship in 1935 and the British Union of Fascists in the same year. Her knowledge and support for the Nazi party grew in this time and continued to her legendary display of the Nazi flag at all her residences on the eve after the Anschluss. Unlike many of her contemporary Nazi supporters she was not interned under Defence Regulation 18B, for reasons unknown, however many historians believe her friendship to leading political figures including Winston Churchill himself maintained her security. She instead retreated to Shropshire where she continued her support for Nazi Germany and was frequently accused of espionage. After the war, her actions were not looked into due to intervention from Geoffrey Lawrence, 1st Baron Oaksey and Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe, who were both close friends of hers in pre-war London.She died in 1944 and is buried at Pershore, Worcestershire

Seán Treacy

Seán Treacy (Irish: Seán Ó Treasaigh; 14 February 1895 – 14 October 1920) was one of the leaders of the Third Tipperary Brigade of the Irish Republican Army during the Irish War of Independence. It was his actions that initiated the conflict in 1919. He was killed in October 1920, on Talbot Street in Dublin, in a shootout with British troops and spies during an aborted British Secret Service surveillance operation.

Although sometimes written as Tracey, as inscribed on the commemorative plaque in Talbot Street, or even as Tracy, his surname is more usually spelled as 'Treacy'.

Sharon Ebanks

Sharon Elizabeth Ebanks (born 1967 or 1968) is a former member of the British National Party and one of the founder members of the New Nationalist Party. In 2006, she was wrongly declared elected to Birmingham City Council.

The Link (UK organization)

The Link was established in July 1937 as an 'independent non-party organisation to promote Anglo-German friendship'. It generally operated as a cultural organisation, although its journal, the Anglo-German Review, reflected the pro-Nazi views of Barry Domvile, and particularly in London it attracted a number of anti-semites and pro-Nazis. At its height the membership numbered around 4,300.

The Link was opposed to war between Britain and Germany, and because of this attracted the support of some British pacifists. When The Link and the Anglo-German Review were included among a number of peace organisations across the political spectrum in the Peace Service Handbook (a publication put out by the Peace Pledge Union), the Daily Telegraph and The News Chronicle published articles accusing the PPU of supporting Nazism. In response, PPU member Stuart Morris wrote to the papers stating there was no connection between the PPU and The Link, and that the former organisation did not support the German demand for colonies or peace at the expense of smaller nations. The PPU also sent a letter to its group leaders dissociating The Link from the PPU, and ceased publishing the Peace Service Handbook.The organisation was investigated by Maxwell Knight, head of counter-subversion in MI5 and future role model for James Bond's boss M. The organisation closed shortly after the start of World War II in 1939.

Barry Domvile was interned in 1940 as someone who might "endanger the safety of the realm".According to Anthony Masters, the Link was allegedly resurrected in 1940 by Ian Fleming, then working in the Department of Naval Intelligence, in order to successfully lure Rudolf Hess (deputy party leader and third in leadership of Germany, after Adolf Hitler and Hermann Göring) to Britain in May 1941.

Vincent Fovargue

Vincent Patrick Fovargue (22 August 1900 – 3 April 1921) was a company officer in the Dublin brigade of the IRA during the Irish War of Independence, who was shot dead in England by the IRA, which accused him of being a British spy.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.