The boat was due to leave the following day, so Chapman and his fiancée headed out for lunch. As they ate Chapman spotted two policemen closing. He simply rose, kissed his date goodbye and dived head first out of the closed window. A chase down the beach then followed, but Chapman managed to give the police the slip.
Then he made a decision that would change the rest of his life, he carried out a rushed and ill planned burglary. When he was caught he was sentenced to be imprisoned in the Jersey Islands for 2 years, then to be returned to mainland for the charges there. However while in prison the Germans invaded. Playing on a chance Chapman immediately volunteered to join the Germans.
After months Chapman was selected for training, and several more months of instruction followed. But in December 1942 Chapman was given his first mission. Armed with a pistol, some detonators, a wireless and a suicide pill Chapman was parachuted into Britain. His target was to blow up the Mosquito factory at Hatfield.
First he needed some explosives. He used his earlier knowledge and raided a quarry near Sevenoaks coming away with a substitutional pile of explosives.
All was set. On January the 29th 1943 Chapman found himself lurking in the darkness made all the more profound by the blackout, next to the perimeter fence of the Hatfield factory. He quickly scaled the fence and moved in. He found the powerhouse of the building and planted his charges before withdrawing not having seen a single soul.
At midnight a huge explosion rocked the factory, blasting holes in the buildings walls, and smashing several transformers, throwing two to the ground. Following Chapman's triumphant radio message to the Germans they sent over a plane to photograph the damage. Remarkably the Reconnaissance plane had a very quiet flight, and returned with pictures showing the wide devastation. Equally stories appeared in the Daily Express which confirmed the attack.
|The Damage at Hatfield|
|SS City of Lancaster, Chapman's ship to Portugal|
In 1944 Germany needed every asset it could get, so Chapman was dispatched back to London. His job was to report on the fall of the V1's being launched at London. Chapman remained at large for the rest of the war sending back precise targeting information for the V1 launches. This enabled the Germans who had been overshooting their targets to lower the range and effectively bombard the capital.
Or at least that's what the German intelligence service thought had happened.
Back in December 1942 as soon as he had landed Chapman gone to the nearest house he could find and telephoned the police and handed himself in. And he had then volunteered to be a double agent, codenamed "Zigzag". The Hatfield bombing had been achieved by the special effects department from the Old Vic theatre. The newspaper story in the Daily Express was a plant. Originally MI5 had approached The Times to run the planted story, however the editor had refused stating:
"Nothing untrue had ever been published and he wasn't about to start now!"
|Faked damage at Hatfield|
While at the Norwegian safe house Chapman had covertly photographed all the visitors, including several spies, and then through a female fiancée in the Norwegian underground smuggled that information to the British.
On his return to London the V1's had been hitting perfectly, but due to Chapman stating they were overshooting the range was dropped and the bombardment caused less damage than it should have done.
|Chapman, shortly before his death in 1997, being interviewed by the BBC.|