Eddie Chapman
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Basic Information

He was a crook and a safecracker; a womanizer who enjoyed high living. He was also a double agent, whom his handlers in MI5 codenamed "Zigzag".

Edward Arnold Chapman grew up poor in a small town in the north of England. His mother died when he was about 11 and he avoided school when at all possible. As a young man in the 1930s, he served briefly in the Coldstream Guards, but deserted and turned to crime. He was in and out of jail several times for petty crimes and safecracking; which was why he was in a prison on the island of Jersey when it was seized by the Germans in 1940.

The Germans recruited him as a spy and trained him to commit acts of sabotage. But when they parachuted him back into England in 1942, he immediately turned himself over to the police and offered his services to MI5. After a thorough interrogation, the British decided that Chapman was useful. They faked the sabotage mission he was supposed to perform and used him as a channel for misinformation.

Chapman made his way back to Germany where he continued his dangerous job as double agent. "The Germans came to love Chapman," one MI5 officer said. "But although he went cynically through all the forms he did not reciprocate. Chapman loved himself, loved adventure and loved his country, probably in that order." Chapman received the Iron Cross, the first Englishman to do so since the Franco-Prussian War, and was sent to Oslo to teach at a German spy school. While he was there he picked up information about the V-1 rocket which he sent back to England.

Along with his espionage activities, he managed to keep two lovers as well: Freda Stevenson in England and Dagmar Lahlum in Norway. After the war, he dumped them both and returned to his pre-war lover, Betty Farmer, whom he married.

He retired from spying and was granted a pardon for his pre-war criminal career and a £6,000 payment for his services. Although he had a few brushes with the law afterward, his MI5 contacts were able to keep him out of prison. He and his wife eventually set up a health farm, and he also bought a castle in Ireland. He died on December 20, 1997 of undisclosed causes.


2. Declassified dossier on Chapman, including an analysis by Col. Robin "Tin Eye" Stephens. (pdf. file)
4. movie: Triple Cross (1966) — film loosely based on Chapman's wartime exploits.

Game and Story Use

  • In a World War II campaign, Chapman would make a good model for a spy PC.
    • It wouldn't have to be a WWII campaign either; any type of espionage campaign can use a good double-agent.
      • If "good double-agent" is the term I want…
  • He could also be an NPC whom the characters meet. But whose side is he really on?
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