MUCH has been written about the two Russian spies who were involved in the Sergei Skripal incident. Whilst carrying out some research recently, I was amazed to find the following information which comes from the diary of General Erwin von Lahousen.

The first German spies to be dropped into this country during the Second World War landed in the Salisbury area, the landmark for the pilot flying the Heinkel who brought them being the spire of Salisbury Cathedral. The two spies, Schmidt and Bjornson who were dropped, actually landed near Stratford Tony – Bjornson was hurt in the drop and this injury led to his being caught very shortly after reaching this country.

The spies were both Danes but fanatical Nazis and their story, if questioned, was that they were Danes who had fled their country after the German occupation. It was decided to drop them near Salisbury to avoid RAF fighters and Luftwaffe bombers which were scheduled to begin intensive attacks on London as an invasion prelude.

Although Bjornson was caught, Schmidt decided to go to Salisbury.

The account says: “It was late afternoon when he halted on the outskirts of Salisbury for a rest. He noticed that the road was filling with cyclists on their way home from work. When the traffic had thinned Schmidt set out towards the centre of the city. Although questioned by the police, he relayed his story and was believed – he was then directed by the police officer to a place where he could get a meal. And not far from the cathedral he eventually enjoyed a meal of toast and fishcakes.”

Someone in Salisbury, not knowing he was a spy, housed Schmidt – fascinating stuff!