The Case of Captain Gough... The Daily News, July 21, 1942The Case of Captain Gough
What Leichester Hemingway, adventurous younger brother of Author Ernest Hemingway, discovered and warned the U.S. about in a Reader's Digest article back in 1940 made news last week. The Army's Caribbean Defense Command arrested 19 Panama Canal employees, nightclub owners and Colon cabaret girls, along with British Honduras's leading businessman: shrewd "Captain" George Gough, so-called. "King of Belize" (rhymes With sneeze). All were part of a spy ring which not only informed Nazi submarines of United Nations ship movements, but helped to refuel the subs at little-known keys and hidden shore bases used three centuries ago by Caribbean buccaneers. The Plot
Hemingway and his traveling companion, Anthony Jenkinson, found in a "snoop cruise" through the Caribbean that a German ship supposedly fishing for shark in pre-war days had charted scores of spots where subs could be refueled "as easily as Mrs. Jones takes in groceries". They named operators of bulging oil depots at strange places. They told of pro-Franco Central Americans openly working for a German victory; of Germans, busily preparing for Nazi submarine activities. Even in 1940 small fortunes were being made by schooner masters on Nazi pay rolls.
The Army found how at least one phase of a mare's nest of Caribbean intrigue had worked. The head man was Gough, an ex-rumrunner suppogedly turned respectable, who pulled much of his information from a blowsy Colon nightclub. Besides getting service men and canal employees to buy them drinks of colored water at 75c. a drink, the cabaret girls were paid off for information they picked up on ship movements. Gough also got information from native labor sent to Panama through an agency his brother helped to run as part of Gough Bros. Enterprises. But probably more lucrative was Gough's fleet of ten small schooners, used to refuel Nazi subs at clandestine rendezvous. The Plot Thickens
In March, when one of these. ships was spotted running at full speed with a deckload of oil drums, suspicion first turned on Gough. In April, when the ship docked at Cristobal, she was searched. One man was found 'carrying plans of the Coco Solo Naval Air Station.
A young U.S. intelligence officer flew to the port of Belize in British Honduras to check on Gough. He stayed until June, when Nazi submarines in twelve days sank 13 ships, five of them in one day in waters where Gough's boats had been operating. At approximately the same time, sabotage of the intelligence officer's plane was discovered. His room was ransacked and a bottle of whiskey in it was poisoned. The first sip of a drink poured out for his British colleague left the Briton paralyzed from the hips down for 24 hours. Just Desserts
By this time Lieut. General Frank M. Andrews, commanding the Caribbean Defense, decided to crack down. He made an inspection flight over the northern Caribbean area, convinced startled British officials or Gough's complicity. But the slippery Gough was not easy to hook. He escaped. In the days of 17th-Century pirates he' might well have outraced his pursuers to the nearby Republic of Honduras. But a Naval patrol plane overtook his boat, forced it to stop, and took over. It was believed the first time in history that an air crew became a prize crew. But it was not the last time, if Snoopers Hemingway and Jenkinson's 1940 warnings were to be re-read, that the U.S. would discover a Nazi octopus in the Caribbean Sea. —Time