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Uncovered: Czechs’ bid to recruit escort lady (and 1950s pop star Emile Ford’s ex) as MI5 double agent

Revealed: Czech offer to recruit an escort girl (and 1950s pop star Emile Ford’s ex) as MI5 double agents to catch intelligence officers for the Soviet Union

Monique Dahlmann’s penchant for extravagant outfits indicated an eventful past for her neighbors – but hardly anyone would have thought that her life would not have looked out of place in a James Bond film.

The glamorous seventy-year-old, who kept herself to herself in her council flat on West London’s Fulham Road, once rubbed against pop royalty and was cared for as a Mata-Hari-style agent by spies from the Soviet bloc.

Little did even her close friends know that Monique was once married to 1950s heartbreaker Emile Ford before she became the focus of an extraordinary Cold War espionage scheme to ensnare MI5 officers.

She married Ford in 1959, the year he became the first black artist in the UK to get a million copies of a single called What Do You Want To Make These Eyes At Me For? sold.

Intelligence files The Mail unearthed in Prague’s Cold War Archives on Sunday describe the unlikely plan by Czech spies to recruit Monique – who became a high-class escort after their marriage failed – as a Honeytrap agent.

She married Ford in 1959, the year he became the first black artist in the UK to get a million copies of a single called What Do You Want To Make These Eyes At Me For? sold.

But the marriage failed and in 1964 Monique, then in her mid-twenties, divorced the singer because he was leading his adultery with a secretary.

Within a few years, agents of the dreaded Czechoslovak spy agency Statni bezpecnost (StB) had become aware of Monique, which operated from the embassy of the communist nation in London. Her interest was aroused by the contact between the German-born beauty and British MI5 officers and her work as a high-class escort.

Through a series of meetings, as the files show, the Czechs began to pull Monique into their conspiracy.

A report from November 1967 by the head of the secret service, Josef Kalina, who was the first secretary to work undercover at the embassy, ​​outlined the background of the victim.

‘M. [Monique] has stopped drinking schnapps for health reasons and now only drinks it occasionally, “he wrote.” She still works as an escort. “

Then a detailed plan was devised to use Monique as a potential double agent to ensnare British intelligence agents, particularly an MI5 man named Tony Harwood.

The conspiracy required Monique to compromise Harwood, who was believed to have targeted Czech embassy agents for MI5. The files say Harwood offered to pay Monique £ 20 to provide information on tax clerk agents, but she refused and asked for £ 100 (£ 1,500 in today’s money). The Czechs hoped to “turn them around” and get information about the MI5 officer. “She was contacted earlier this year by MI5 officer Tony Harwood, who is focused on the Czechoslovak embassy in London,” the file said.

Little did even her close friends know that Monique was once married to chart topper Emile Ford from the 1950s

“She was recruited for contacts in the embassy and to gather details about individual employees and officers.”

It goes on to say: “In order to get to the official Harwood via M, a complex and sensitively coordinated operational combination is required in which it will be the main link in the chain.

“Since M accompanies several such people every week, it can be assumed that these people are people of interest to the intelligence service. It is also true that when men spend several hours with M and absolutely lose their inhibitions about drinking, and given the way these appointments are organized, these men certainly have a lot of information about themselves, their jobs, their positions, theirs Sharing preferences, weaknesses, etc. M has good prospects as an ideal intelligence worker and the first phase of her development should focus on this. ‘

But a later report of a meeting between the would-be agent and Kalina seemed to signal a postponement. Monique claimed she was no longer an escort and her communication with Harwood had deteriorated. Then she disappears from the tax records.

Monique lived in her council flat near Chelsea football field for the last 20 years of her life before her death in 2016. A neighbor, Sid Daniel, 73, described her last night as a “quiet lady” who liked old war movies. “I never knew anything about her past,” he said.

Another, who did not want to be named, said: “She once mentioned that as an escort she was the target of a newspaper article, but nothing more.”

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