|Chevalier, Order of the Crown of Belgium|
In our previous post, we not only took a look at a gallery of Clubfoot covers, but also read a brief bio of mystery author and Clubfoot progenitor Valentine Williams.
That biography read:
WILLIAMS, (George) Valentine. Also wrote as Douglas Valentine. British. Born 20 October 1883. Educated at Downside School; studied in Germany. Served as a Lieutenant in the Irish Guards, 1915: Military Cross (twice wounded); with the Guards Division Staff, London, 1918-19; did confidential work for the Foreign Office, London, 1939-41, and at British Embassy, Washington, D.C., 1941-42; Member of the Political Warfare Department, Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire, 1942-45; Married Alice Crawford; Sub-Editor, 1902-03, and Berlin Correspondent, Reuter's news agency 1904-09,; Journalist for the Daily Mail, London, from 1909, Paris Correspondent, 1909-13, Special Correspondent during Portuguese Revolution, 1910, reported Balkan War, 1913; First accredited correspondent to British General Headquarters, 1915; In charge of staff, Versailles Peace Conference. 1919; later Foreign Editor; free-lance journalist in North Africa and United States during 1930s; Chevalier, Order of the Crown of Belgium, 1940. Died 20 November 1946.
This biographical sketch is a bit all-over-the-place chronologically, but it does shed some light on previously discovered and questionable information.
|First edition dust jacket, 1938.|
We already know that Williams was a member of the PWE early in the war, which is listed as him having dome "confidential work for the Foreign Office" from 1939 to 1941, during which time he was awarded the title Chevalier of the Order of the Crown of Belgium [pictured above, left].
He then was apparently assigned to Washington, D.C., as the United States entered the war, spending 1941-1942 in North America. Williams then returned to Britain and spent the duration of the war back at Woburn Abbey with the PWE.
It still seems that "confidential work" and "espionage missions" would not be exactly synonymous in the case of Williams, a German-speaking reporter and author who had written about imaginary espionage carried out on behalf of the Crown two decades before. Could it be that the French version is is simply a mistranslation from the English language biography from detective-fiction.com? We don't know—it isn't cited as a reference, and the references cited don't contain any information similar to that.
Williams is the author of an autobiography entitled The World of Action. The text was published, however, in 1938 and can shed no light on the activities of Williams during the war.