Harold Cole escaped from his German captors, and made his way to Lille, France. There, he got in touch with the French Resistance, and falsely claimed that was a British intelligence agent sent to help stranded and escaped British military personnel. For some time, Cole actually did some positive work, and escorted escaped personnel across Nazi-occupied territory to the relative safety of Vichy France. From there, the fugitives slipped into neighboring Spain, and secured berths on ships headed to Britain.
However, Cole was unable to shake his shady ways. He went back to the same kind of crime that had got him locked up in a British Army guardhouse, and embezzled from French Resistance, stealing from the funds intended to finance escape operations. Cole used the money to pay for a high society lifestyle of nightclubs, pricey restaurants, expensive champagne, fast cars, and faster girls. When his thefts came to light in 1941, the Resistance arrested and locked him up. While they deliberated what to do about him, Cole escaped.
1. This Crime Bird Betrayed the Resistance by Joining the Nazis, then Betrayed the Nazis by Helping the US Army Hunt Them Down
On the run from the French Resistance, Harold Cole turned himself in to the Germans. He gave them 30 pages of Resistance member names and addresses, and became an agent of the SS’ Sicherheitdienst, or SD. In the ensuing roundup, over 150 Resistance members were arrested, of whom at least 50 were executed. Cole was present during the interrogation and torture of many of his former colleagues. When the war turned against the Germans and Allied armies neared Paris in 1944, Cole fled in a Gestapo uniform. In June, 1945, he turned up in southern Germany, where he claimed to be a British undercover agent, and offered his services to the American occupation forces.
Triple crossing, he turned against the Nazis, hunted and flushed them out of hiding, and murdered at least one of them. The British discovered Cole whereabouts and arrested him, but he escaped his military prison and headed to France. There, French police received a tip revealing his whereabouts in a central Paris apartment. On January 8th, 1946, they crept up a staircase to seize him. However, the cops’ heavy tread gave them away, and Cole met them at the doorway, pistol in hand. He was killed in the ensuing shootout, after he was hit multiple times and bled to death.
Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading