Paper Trail

1978 The Making of a Secret Agent The Pickersgill Papers Edited by George H. Ford
1978 The Making of a Secret Agent The Pickersgill Papers Edited by George H. Ford Frank Herbert Dedrick Pickersgill (May 28, 1915 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada – September 14, 1944 in Weimar, Thuringia, Germany) is a Canadian hero of World War II.
Along with fellow Canadian, John Kenneth Macalister, he was parachuted into the Loire Valley in occupied France on June 20, 1943, to work with the French Resistance. The two men were picked up by the SOE agent Yvonne Rudellat and the French officer Pierre Culioli. Their vehicle stopped at a German checkpoint and after Rudellat and Culioli were cleared, they decided to wait for the two Canadians to come through. Minutes later at the checkpoint, their cover was blown and Culioli tried to speed away, but the Germans opened fire hitting Rudellat in the head and Culioli in the leg, causing the car to crash. Both Rudellat and Culioli survived the crash. In March 1944, Pickersgill tried to escape the Parisian Fresnes Prison where they were being held, attacking a guard with a nearby bottle, and throwing himself out the second-storey window. He was shot multiple times in the escape attempt and recaptured; Pickersgill was interned with other agents at a Nazi-camp at Ravitsch 25 miles North of Breslau until on August 27 he was shipped with members of the Robert Benoist group to Buchenwald concentration camp.
Pickersgill was executed at Buchenwald by the Nazis on September 14, 1944, along with 35 other SOE agents, including Canadians Roméo Sabourin and John Kenneth Macalister. Though there are conflicting reports about their death, the men are commonly thought to have been hung on meat hooks and strangled with piano wire, a painful death typically reserved for traitors and spies. Their bodies were incinerated.
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July 17, 2019
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