Thursday, 16 January 1941

Stradishall – Non-occupied zone (ZNO), France

Oettle and Keast fly a 7 hour 10 minute sortie to the non-occupied Zone of France, with Oettle as Captain. Keast characteristically dates the operation to the 16th. Take-off is recorded by the Watch Office at approximately 10.20, and they land at 05.25 the following morning. (Keast will have recorded it from taxi out to engines off, whereas the Watch Office log will have noted its observation times from take-off to landing. This would account for the difference.)

This operation parachutes the SIS agent Michel Charles Joseph COULOMB into the Chateauroux area in the French Unoccupied Zone. A French citizen, he has been recruited the previous June by Commander Dunderdale’s A.4 section, which maintains links with Vichy intelligence. Coulomb has already completed at least one mission, having been landed by fishing boat in August 1940 and extracted in October. On 23 October 1940 he is commissioned into the Intelligence Corps as 2nd Lieutenant Michael James CARTWRIGHT (151291). His circuit has a strong aviation flavour and purpose, with links to several pre-war French aviation figures, including the aircraft designer Maurice DELANNE. At some unknown date in late 1940, his circuit has joined up with a group run by Robert IVERNEL, a subset of the Vichy French circuit ‘SR Air’.