ROBERT CORNELIS MICHELS.
Name: MICHELS, Robert Cornelis.
P.T.C. 08-09-1944 (MI-5 and C only).
Pte. Address: Koningstraat 7, Arnhem.
Father: W.H. Michels.
Mother: C. Corduwener.
Remarks N 16-09-1944: To be trained as agent in the field commencing 09-09-1944.
Mil. Service: 1936 for 4½ years in Foreign Legion. 1940 joined British Army. April 1940 transferred to Dutch Commando -
Quite an able performer all round. His jumping was satisfactory and he is a reasonable safe risk.
FOUR DESCENTS SECOND CLASS
DISPOSAL OF STUDENT 03-05-1945.
Rate of Pay: Paid by Dutch.
Com. Training: 06-09-1944.
Schools Att: STS-51, STS-50.
Operational Knowledge: Considerable, 6 months in the field.
Sec. Students: None.
Reas/Disp: No further work available in this section.
Rec. by Country Section: R.T.U.
D/CE's Rec: To be R.T.U. to Dutch authorities.
Submitting disposal Form. From 1936 - 1940 he served in the Foreign Legion, transferred in 1940 to the British Army and thence to the Dutch Commando's. He joined us on 06-09-1944 and was given brief para-military and parachute training. He went to the Field on the 11-10-1944 and returned in March of this year; he served as a weapon instructor for the underground. His reports throughout have been satisfactory and of no security interest. The Section have no further work for him and propose returning him to the Dutch authorities. I recommend that we endorse the proposal as the case paper to be quite straight forward.
The a/h student was sworn out yesterday, 04-05-1945 and is being returned to the Dutch authorities.
Welbeck 6611 Special Forces Headquarters,
PORTIA II Operation Montagu Mansions,
(combined with Dudley IV) Montagu Street,
11th October 1944.
Dear General van Oorschot,
In order to complete your files, SAS have informed that the following Sergeants were dropped in HOLLAND on the night of 9/10 October to a KP reception committee:
Sgt. VAN DER VEER.
Sgt. DE KONING.
Their mission was to act as arms instructors to the resistance movements in the DRENTHE area. I am afraid that I have not received further details, but thought that you would like to know this for record purposes.
BSSA/KV/3227 26th May 1945
To: N From: BSS/A
Sergeant R. MICHELS.
With reference to your N/HQ/1439 of the 25th May, and our telephone conversation on the a/m. I have to confirm my views as already expressed to you on this case.
My opinion is that the report deals with the treachery against Holland committed in Holland as substantiated by Dutch witnesses; under the circumstances, quite apart from one's personal feelings about DUDLEY, the fact that he was a British officer is only incidental to the case. Under the circumstances it would hardly be practicable for us to deal with this matter and if we did take any action, it might well be looked upon by the Dutch and rightly so, as interference in their affairs. Since this is the case I recommend that you should approach the Dutch to deal with the case themselves.
For your guidance - but for no other purpose - I suggest that the man could be recalled from leave and posted to a Dutch unit, where he should be under strict military discipline and close supervision; in this unit he could be conveniently held until such time as the Dutch J.A.G. or other authority had built up the case and decided whether they were in fact in a position to prefer a charge for Court Martial proceedings.
N/OR/1481 27th June 1945
To: Colonel Dobson From: Major Dadley
O.C. M.E. 27 S.F. HQ
Sgt. Michels, Robert.
Herewith a report on the above by Van der VEER which was forwarded to B.S.S. who passed the matter over to the Dutch authorities for action.
In view of your citation, am forwarding attached reports immediately.
I understand that this matter is being dealt with by the Dutch Military legal authorities, therefore, no further action or enquiries are required.
To: Maj C.F. Dadley WAM/27/52
From: O.C M.E. 27 2 Jul 1945
Subject Sgt. Robert Michels.
Reference your letter N/OR/1481 of 27 Jun 1945 and the enclosed reports regarding the above.
Michels is certainly a rough type and in lieu of his past as a legionnaire it is not at all surprising that he was acquisitive and sought after his own comfort as far as he could. That he made himself out to be a Captain is also not surprising in view of his attempt to gain additional prestige for the purposes of his job and he touches on this aspect himself in his report.
Altogether I do not think that any of the foregoing need influence the question of a citation. However, although some corroboration of Michels's work is contained in the report from NECKING (Tazelaar) and BLATT it is true that we did not know much of what he really did and in view of the state of Resistance in Drenthe and Groningen, it is quite probable that he spent a lot of time in hiding or being chased from place to place.
I think that he deserves some form of citation although perhaps not quite se definite as the one already submitted; I therefore enclose revised citation in quadruplicate (one copy for you) which please substitute for that already submitted if still possible.
REPORT on R.B. @ Michels, Robert
In Assen I spoke to a member of the Dutch underground movement, named [redacted] who gave me the following information about R.B:
"Everywhere he appeared, he pretended he was a captain. He had taken action in actual warfare in France, North Africa, Sicily, Norway and Burma. He pretended to be married which is not true. He required 1000 Guilders of us, which I gave to him".
The following happened in Veenhuizen, BOB was there, dressed in civil. There were three German SD men. they had just arrested a man whom we'll call A for the purpose of the report. One German was walking across the street with A, while the other two were about 200 yards further on and went into a house. The German stopped BOB on the road and asked him: "Did you see two anywhere near?" BOB told him he had seen two and pointed out where they were.
A and BOB knew each other and looked each other in the eyes. Although A only was accompanied by one German, BOD did let them pass by without even trying to liberate A. This is confirmed by A who later on was liberated from prison in Assen.
Five addresses where BOB stayed for some time were afterwards searched by the Germans and the people arrested.
Also I spoke to doctor [redacted], who gave me the following information:
"BOB is a very unreliable person, who always tells lies and is absolutely untrustworthy. He required money from different organisations and left with about 14.000 Guilders.
The Germans searched my house and I am rather afraid that BOB had something to do with it. I am also afraid that it is BOB's fault that "HENK" was shot in Assen, for BOB was one the very few people who knew where HENK was. BOB became so unreliable in the end, that we put him into a house and kept him hidden by a widow who of course was informed. I have sent in a report about BOB to M.C. in Assen.
The widow who's name I have forgotten told me the following story:
"BOB was very unreliable and ill-concerned. Once a American pilot hidden in my house in uniform. I had told the pilot to remain in uniform for if ever he was caught he would be treated as an ordinary prisoner of war. For myself it would have made no difference whether they found the pilot either in uniform of civil, I would have been shot in any case. One afternoon coming back from a visit the pilot was there sitting in civil clothes. His uniform was packed in the hide out place. BOB had told him to do so, for he was extremely jealous because of the nice uniform. Against my wish he called a girl to my house and smuggled letters out of the house. He was extremely bad mannered in my house".
The commander of the V.S.O. told me that when they had made up the plan to liberate the prisoners in Assen, BOB ordered them not to do that for he as a captain could not take the responsibility. I do not allow you to free those prisoners.
Later on, he changed his mind and told that he would like to go with them, but when the time was there to act, BOB was vanished.
These are the information I got about BOB, Addresses where you can obtain more information are the following:
H.G. in Assen
[redacted] in Zuidlaren.
Personally I know BOB for over two years and I know him as unreliable and in my opinion he was not the right person in the right place for this job.
He is always drinking too much.
He has three weaknesses: money, drink and women.
24 April 1945
REPORT by SERGEANT MAJOR R. MICHELS.
Before I commence this report I an sure you will appreciate that everything I have written here is based on memory only, because of being in constant fear of capture by the SD I did not dare to keep any notes during my stay in Holland.
I was dropped on the night of the 11th October 1944 at 23.15 hrs. with three other agents (Sgt/Major Van der Veer, Sgt/Major De Koning and Sgt/Majoor Greenwood, the latter beloning to the Belgium SAS).
We were sent out as armed instructors (weapons) for the underground resistance movement in the three following provinces: GRONINGEN, FRIELAND and DRENTHE. On landing on our DZ (Veenhuizen) we were taken by the Dutch Military Police, who worked with the underground, to their barracks.
After staying there three days I was taken to GRONIINGEN by a man called CREMER, the journey was made in an ambulance, to the house of Dr. MUNTENDAM where I was introduced to the KP (Dick) who quickly assured me that without civilian clothes I had no possible chance of success in my work, I fully realised this and changed my clothes immediately.
Two days later I had my first meeting with various chiefs of the underground movement, I was soon convinced that no organised resistance existed or that any amount of weapons needed for this cause had been collected, there was no co-operation between the KP, OD and the RVV, because no leader would accept the necessary responsibility, I therefore accepted the position myself and issued orders with the effect that the above were to work closer together and form the NBS of which Prince Bernhard was commander in chief. By doing this i had many difficulties to overcome because of my low army rank in the former Dutch Army.
The KP was the most active part of the movement, being responsible for the general distribution of ration-cards, permits, clothing, food, etc for old and new members of the movement and also organised sabotage with good results.
The OD acted as the administrative section of the movement for Post-War plans and organisations.
THE RVV as such as I could discover, was an active communist party, but it's work seemed to be purely of a political nature dealing with Red propaganda, but they offered the KP and OD on one occasion weapons, which I was given to understand once belonged to the former Dutch Army, this offer was refused by both the KP and the OD (this happened before I made this connection)
By the end of January 1945 I succeeded in forming the NBS with the OD section working on it's Post War administration, but the KP played an even more active part.
I took under my personal command some 250 men composed into 5 sections which were intended to operate as Stoottroepen.
My next step was to organise DZ's for weapon supplies by the SAS. I sent the map references of the selected DZ's through the sender "MACBETH" (SAS team GOBBO) and later through "TONY" (Lt. Tazelaar) but received no weapons or acknowledgement.
I than made contact with a doctor [redacted] (being the underground code name of the latter) through them I obtained some very useful information which was sent to England through sender "HENK" (Who was killed later) "TONY" and "MACBET".
My achievements during the time I was in Holland were not of spectacular nature, but I feel duly responsible for the strengthening and continuance of the underground movement where ever I made connections.
I would like to mention that the Stootroepen that I formed were directly responsible for holding the telephone exchange at Assen which was in working order an hour after the Canadians arrived. They were also successful in preventing the bridge on the highway to Groningen from being destroyed by the enemy.
I was known by the underground as "BOB", my papers and identity in the name of Dr. Eshuis, and according by the Gestapo reports killed towards the end of February 1945.
Having died thus I then became an electrical engineer called A. de Vries and I also wish to bring to your notice that my work was mentioned in the reports made by Lt's BLATT and TAZELAAR.
I will gladly furnish any further details you may require.