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Double Agent Balloon (Hardback)

Dickie Metcalfe's Espionage Career for MI5 and the Nazis

Military WWII > Espionage & the SOE WWII > Hitler & the Third Reich

By David Tremain
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 264
Illustrations: 40 mono illustrations
ISBN: 9781399061094
Published: 31st March 2023



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Dickie Metcalfe was not your typical secret agent, but he was larger than life in more ways than one. Unlike many other agents who were part of the Double Cross System during the Second World War, he did not defect; nor was he blackmailed into becoming a spy. Instead, using his father’s connection with Sir Vernon Kell, the first Director of MI5, Metcalfe volunteered his services.

Recently cashiered from his infantry regiment, he had an ulterior motive – by supplying MI5 with titbits of information about weapons and arms deals in his newfound profession as an arms dealer, he hoped they would be able to help him get his commission reinstated. Metcalfe became BALLOON, a sub-agent of double agent TRICYCLE’s Yugoslav spy ring.

Concurrent with his spying activities, he collaborated with the co-inventor of the Bren gun to develop a new submachine gun for British forces. After the war, he was also a celebrated motor racing driver and continued to compete until shortly before his death. His success as a double-cross agent in the eyes of both his masters – British and German – is examined in this book, using official documents as a primary source.

"Double Agent Balloon provides some interesting new material..."

Studies in Intelligence

As featured in

The Bookseller, Jan 23

About David Tremain

David Tremain was born in the UK and studied art at Medway College of Design, Rochester, Kent and paper conservation at Camberwell School of Arts & Crafts. This was followed by work at a London art gallery and in Reading. He later emigrated to Ottawa, Canada, and retired from public service in 2010. He has written book reviews for the Canadian Association for Security & Intelligence Studies (CASIS) and is an expert on Second World War spy cases. He has published five books on the subject: Rough Justice (2016), Double Agent Victoire (2018), The Beautiful Spy (2019), Agent Provocateur for Hitler or Churchill? (2021) and Double Agent Balloon (2023).

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