Unearthed Documents Shed Light on Krystyna Skarbek’s Unrealized Mission in Poland

    In the archives of the London-based Polish Underground Study, documents related to a thwarted mission by Krystyna Skarbek (Christine Granville), a Polish agent for British intelligence during World War II, have been discovered. Skarbek, the first female agent in British intelligence, served the longest during the war. Despite her initial involvement in Poland, her mission to the country in late 1944, under the sub-mission code-named Flamstead, was never realized.

    The Flamstead Sub-Mission

    Skarbek’s persistence to be sent to Poland intensified after the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising in August 1944. However, the Flamstead sub-mission, part of the broader Freston mission, aimed to assess the sentiments and needs of the Home Army (AK) and its stance towards the Red Army.

    The Flamstead sub-mission, authorized for deployment to Wilga drop zone near Limanowa, intended to land Skarbek, aka Folkestone, as a British officer and liaison between missions. Equipped with skis for mobility in hilly terrain, the mission faced challenges due to adverse weather, German countermeasures, and the advancing Soviet forces.

    Missions Aborted

    Despite approval and meticulous planning, the Flamstead and other missions across different AK districts never materialized. Unfavorable weather conditions, widespread German actions, and the Soviet offensive in January 1945 led to the decision to withhold missions in territories gradually occupied by the Red Army.

    Krystyna Skarbek’s legacy endures as a remarkable Polish patriot, adept skier, and enduring adventurer.

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