The Strange Case of the Motor Racing Secret Agent
24 May 2012
Sky Sports have been filming at Brookwood Military Cemetery
- the largest Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in the
United Kingdom - to cover the story of British secret agent who was
the first winner of the Monaco Grand Prix.
Grover-Williams - born in France to an English father and
French mother - was working with the French resistance when he was
captured by the Nazis during the Second World War. He was executed
in Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. Or was he?
one of the most successful racing drivers of the late 20s and early
30s. In 1929 he won the inaugural Monaco Grand Prix, driving a
Bugatti, painted in the colour that went on to become known as
British Racing Green.
During the Second World War, with his fluent French, Grover-Williams was
recruited into the Special Operations Executive to work with French
resistance. For years the official accounts said he was
arrested by the Nazis in 1943, and underwent protracted
interrogation before being killed at Sachsenhausen in the Spring of
But British government documents released in 2003 suggest Grover-Williams may
have survived the war. It's been suggested that the cousin of Grover-Williams's
widow, who lived with her for years after the war, might in fact
have been Grover-Williams himself.
On the weekend of the this year's Monaco Grand Prix, 83 years on
from Grover-Williams's first triumph, Sky Sports's reporter Simon
Lazenby has been looking at the story. His report is being shown in
Saturday's Qualifying programme.
And for the record: Captain William Charles
Frederick Grover-Williams, attached from the General List to
the Special Operations Executive, holder of the Croix de Guerre, is
commemorated on the Brookwood Memorial
- Panel 21, Column 3.
Click here to watch a clip
of Grover-Williams winning the first Monaco Grand Prix.
Image courtesy of Bibliotheque nationale de France