Martin S. Quigley, a film rep and spy sent to gather intelligence on Ireland during World War II, died, at the age of 93, of a heart ailment on February 5 in his West Hartford, Conn. Home, according to the Boston Globe.
Mr. Quiqley wrote two books about his years as a secret agent in Europe during World War II, in which he worked for the Office of Strategic Services and its director Major General William “Wild Bill’’ Donovan. An executive with movie-trade publications, he used his ties to the film world as his cover for espionage.
In 1943, Donovan sent Quigley, a devoted Catholic, to Ireland to gather intelligence on the state of Ireland’s official neutrality and the local sentiments about the Allied and Axis powers.
Quigley, who was an executive with movie-industry trade publications, said his cover as a commercial film rep was effective.
“It was a passport to be able to communicate with all kinds of people at every conceivable level,’’ Quigley later told the Irish Emigrant. “I traveled around the country and would go to a provincial city and see the bishop, the newspaper editor, the cinema owner, and the man on the street. People opened up. It was an ideal cover.’’
He added that his espionage work often overlapped with his movie work.
“I used to sit next to [Irish film censor] Richard Hayes and I would argue with him, trying to get him not to cut scenes where background ‘Buy War Bonds’ posters were included,’’ Mr. Quigley told the Irish Emigrant newsletter. “He was adamant that anything visual alluding to the war would be cut.’’
Mr. Quigley reported to Donovan that he thought the Irish, despite their conflicts with the English, were supportive of eventual Allied victory. He also noted that the Irish were too economically entwined with England to risk a German alliance.
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore