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Double Agent Celery (ePub)

MI5's Crooked Hero

Military WWII > Espionage & the SOE

By Carolinda Witt
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
File Size: 7.2 MB (.epub)
Pages: 271
ISBN: 9781526716163
Published: 6th November 2017


£6.99 Print price £25.00

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As featured in the Wall Street Journal: Five Best, Helen Fry on Books about Clandestine Agents in World War II.

Winner of the Non-Fiction Prize from the Society of Women Writers. 

"A fascinating journey into the past to uncover one of the most colourful rogues who spied for Britain."

Michael Smith, bestselling author The Anatomy of a Traitor and The Secrets of Station X.

"A classic recipe of wartime espionage with romance, perfidy and tragedy as added ingredients."

Nigel West, bestselling author. Voted "The Experts' Expert" by a panel of other spy writers in The Observer in November 1989. 

"The wartime double agent is one of the most indelible figures in all of literature. But there are few characters as bizarre and intriguing as the rascal who was codenamed Celery by MI5. In telling the story of her grandfather's adventures, Carolinda Witt has added a rollicking chapter to our understanding of World War II. And here's the incredible part: It's all true." 

- Peter Duffy, bestselling author Double Agent and The Bielski Brothers.

"As gripping and immersive as any spy novel. This tells the real story of agent Celery."

Dr Helen Fry, author and historian The M Room: Secret Listeners who Bugged the Nazis and Spymaster: The Secret Life of Kendrick

"Powerful feel for the period and a sure touch generally on the techniques of spycraft. Without the Double Cross system Britain would probably have lost the Second World War."

-  Professor Paul Moorcraft, former UK Ministry of Defence and prolific author on security issues.

- The daring and scandalous life of British double agent 'Celery'. Listen to author, Carolinda Witt being interview in Australia on ABC News Conversations.

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With Britain braced for a German invasion, MI5 recruited an ex RNAS officer, come confidence trickster, called Walter Dicketts as a double agent. Codenamed Celery, Dicketts was sent to Lisbon with the seemingly impossible mission of persuading the Germans he was a traitor and then extract crucial secrets. Once there, the Nazis spirited him off to Germany. With his life on the line, Dicketts had to outwit his interrogators in Hamburg and Berlin before returning to Britain as, in the Nazis’ eyes, a German spy.

Despite discovering he had been betrayed as an MI5 plant before he even left for Germany, Celery somehow got back to Lisbon. After that he persuaded an Abwehr Officer to defect, and spent nine months undercover in Brazil.

A mixture of hero and crook, Dicketts was worldly and intelligent, charming and charismatic. Sometimes rich and sometimes poor, his private life was a web of complexity and deception, with four wives, two mistresses, and six children who knew nothing of each others existence. Using family and official records, police files, newspaper articles, and memories, the author unravels the tangled yet true story of Double Agent Celery.

"Five Best Books On Clandestine Agents in WWll"

Helen Fry, Wall Street Journal, 2nd March 2019

Article as featured by

Click here to view online (see pages 20,21)

Pittwater Life, January 2019 - words by Rosamund Burton

Written by Walter Dicketts' granddaughter, Double Agent Celery: MI5's Crooked Hero is the amazing, true-life story of the WW II British double agent Walter Dicketts (codenamed Celery), a talented con man tasked with the daunting mission of persuading the Germans that he had turned traitor so he could obtain critical military intelligence. Although Dicketts was betrayed as an M15 plant before his initial trip to Germany, his mental agility and persuasive charisma allowed him to outwit his interrogators in Hamburg and Berlin, and successfully return to Britain. Celery successfully persuaded an Abwehr Officer to defect, and was undercover in Brazil for nine months. Dicketts' penchant for deception enveloped his private life as well as his military service; his swindles oscillated between making him wealthy and leaving him impoverished, and his family life was even more tangled. Double Agent Celery is the fascinating portrait of a man who was both hero and crook, fully capable of conning his way out of the most extraordinary situations, and highly recommended.

Midwest Book Review

Double Agent CELERY tells the complex, often convoluted story of a Double Cross agent who bravely served his country behind enemy lines and the families he left behind who only learned about him and each other after his death.

Read the full review here.

Studies in Intelligence, March 2018

Spy stories, fiction and non-fiction, are enduringly popular. This story of a British agent during WWII will be no exception, with all the elements to keep the reader turning pages to the end – Highly Recommended.

Read the complete review here.


Author as interviewed on

ABC: Conversations

★★★★★ An amazing story which has remained untold for far too long.

Read the complete review here.


★★★★★ Meticulously researched and beautifully written, about a very colourful character.

Read the review here.

LizzieB, Amazon Customer

★★★★★ This is a truly extraordinary tale. A fascinating insight into the world of double agents and the crucial role Agent Celery played in altering the course of World War II.

Read the complete review here.

Amazon Customer

★★★★★ An absolutely fascinating read that had me hooked from the start.

Read the complete review here.

Amanda Hampson, Amazon

★★★★★ This is quite an extraordinary book.
Double Agent Celery, aka Walter Dicketts, was a complex character. On civvy street he was an incorrigible rogue and he paid the price for that on a number of occasions. In times of conflict during WW1 and WW2 his sense of duty to King and country was solidly resolute.

It is a remarkable story wonderfully told.

Read the review online here.

Amazon Customer, Johnny

Carolinda's latest book Double Agent Celery: MI5's Crooked Hero provides us with a fascinating insight into the life of a loveable rogue - one of the few double agents who undoubtedly helped Britain win the Second World War. Carolinda's book about her grandfather is a fabulous read, her story one of love, hope, betrayal and courage. Her story needs to be told and deserves to be read.

Read the complete review here.

Angela Crowe, Amazon

★★★★★ My Father would have been very envious and spellbound to see his civilian and wartime exploits so vividly and accurately portrayed by Carolinda Wit. The book says it all - no holds barred - a unique and intriguing picture of a profound and perilous risk taker.

Read the complete review here.

Richard Tudhope, Amazon Reviewer

★★★★★ This has been a truly absorbing read with Carolinda demonstrating just how much can be achieved with such whole-hearted perseverance.

Read the complete review here.

Anne Morjanoff, Amazon Reviewer

Walter Dicketts led one of the most unglamorous, dangerous, strange lives of anyone serving British Intelligence during World War II. His exploits undercover in Germany and France and England, operating as a double agent, at times in tandem with another double agent, is confounding and challenging to read and absorb. The immensity of his undertaking, the sheer gall of the man, his ease traversing the criminal and patriotic walks of life, make for a most fascinating individual. Whether Dicketts is a hero or not is for readers of Double Agent Celery to decide. Even after reading the book I’m not sure where to lean.
Dicketts led a criminal life for many of his years. He married multiple women, had children with most of them, yet somehow kept these lives separate and unknown to each other, even when he carried on two marriages at once. The very capabilities allowing him to emotionally manage such a crazed existence likely enabled him to thrive in the difficult-to-imagine pressure cooker of being an English spy in Germany during the war.
Having to prove himself over and over to his superiors, due to his background and reputation, Dicketts’ work as a spy was remarkable and fruitful. He may have been the most effective salesperson of his generation, and certainly was cool and calm under pressure.

Read the complete review here.

Stuff I Like, John Koenig

This has been a truly absorbing read with Carolinda demonstrating just how much can be achieved with such whole-hearted perseverance.

Read the complete review here.

Radio Out There, Barry Eaton

A thrilling book chronicling the story of a double agent spy who helped save countless lives in the Second World War.

Forest of Dean Gazette

"Spy, lover, scoundrel. Walter Dicketts was the real deal"

To read the feature please click here

Sydney Morning Herald
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About Carolinda Witt

Carolinda Witt is the granddaughter of MI5’s Double Agent Celery aka Walter Dicketts. After growing up in Africa, she has sailed around the Caribbean, skied throughout the Alps, scuba-dived in the Pacific and, at the age of twenty-one, became one of the first female hot-air balloon pilots in Britain. In 1988 she flew the Virgin Jumbo Jet shaped balloon across Australia in the Trans-Australia balloon race.

Following being co-owner of a successful medical supplies company, Carolinda developed a modern version of the popular anti-aging yoga routine known as ‘The Five Tibetan Rites’ now practised by thousands of people all over the world. She is the author of the bestselling T5T: The Five Tibetan Exercise Rites and The 10-Minute Rejuvenation Plan.

She lives in Sydney, Australia.

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