D-Day, Operation Overlord, the Normandy landing. They are all synonymous referring to the most famous military operation of World War II that largely determined the final outcome of the greatest war in history.
It began to be conceived as early as 1943 by Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt, although they had to wait until June 6, 1944 to carry it out. It was an operation built in the most absolute of secrets and away from the indiscreet eyes of the German spies.
However, something as seemingly harmless as a series of crosswords raised suspicions and fears in the agents of the British MI5 (the intelligence service in charge of the internal security of the country). Fond of crosswords of the The Daily Telegraph newspaper, some agents realized that, a few days before the beginning of the landing, too many key words related to the secret operation were coming out: “Omaha“, “Utah“, “Gold” (code names of the beaches), “Overlord“, “Neptune” (code name of the naval support)… Was a German spy sending the keys of the operation to the German intelligence?
In the end, it was an accident or at least that’s what MI5 concluded after investigating Leonard Dawe, the author of the crosswords and director of the Strand School in London. However, there was something else. In 1984, one of his students, Roland French, revealed that he and his classmates were helping their teacher look up the words for the crosswords. It seems that they heard many of those words from the soldiers at the military camp near the school, who were probably nervously and uneasily commenting on what was going to happen on June 6th. Luckily, there were no German spies around…