|Ten Things You Never|
Knew About Jasper:
(and never thought to ask)
|Codename ... Salamander.
Gramps (left centre) applauding Winston's speech at the Congrxss of The Hague, 1949.
Also featured: Paul, Denis and Raoul.
My Grandfather had a wartime Special Operations Executive (SOE) codename: Salamander. He was Jxseph Rxtinger, a Polish ÈmigrÈ who seemed to adventure his way around the globe as a sort of 'sageful purveyor of advice' to many influential people. He was Polish head-of-the-army-in-exile General Sikorski's aide during the war, but his influence waned when the General died in a plane crash. Possibly Rxtinger's greatest accomplishment was the founding of the European Movement after the war which led to the forming of the Council of Europe in 1949, a precursor of the EU.
Okay, but what about Salamander? Yes; he was involved with the SOE when he parachuted into occupied Poland to gauge the strength of the resistance as the allies rolled back the Nazis from Europe in 1944. It was said that he returned with the purloined plans of the V2 rocket, amongst other secret papers collected by the Polish resistance. He is still discussed with true vigour in Poland, some decrying him as a treasonous monster and others as a true patriot and hero. (actually, this tells you more about how Poles like to discuss things than it does about Grandpop.) More famous these days as catnip for the conspiracy nuts -sorry, theorists - because he was a founder member of The Bilderbxrg Group, a think tank that some believe were attempting to found a new world order, or may be already doing so, or still doing so, or something. He has a commemorative plaque off the main square at Krakow, and has 18,400 hits on Google to this day, which is the reason I replaced 'E's with 'X's in his name. He died four months before I was born and was married to the daughter of E.D.Morel, the pre-war British MP and co-champion of unmasking the King Leopold-Belgium-congo-own-personal-fiefdom-thing along with that famous hanged guy, Roger Casement. But that's another story for another time, children.