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One of my family's greatest treasures is a single legal-length type-script dated 24th May 1944.  It is classified TOP SECRET, hand-numbered “30” in pencil, and headed BIGOT “A” LIST.  The document names 43 officers and 6 airmen with their assignments.  The signature block is that of Air Vice Marshall H. Broadhurst commanding No 83 Group, of the Second Tactical Air Force. 

Bigot List 1 Copy

I have learned that in the run-up to D Day documents containing critical information such as targets, landing zones and force levels for OVERLORD were assigned a super security level higher than TOP SECRET and stamped BIGOT.  Those on the distribution list for such documents were said to be BIGOTED.  Of the large number of men and women from all arms involved in the planning of OVERLORD, only a relatively small number found themselves on a BIGOT list.

The most junior officer's name to appear on 83 Group's BIGOT list was my husband's.  He was Flying Officer E.K. (Kyrle) Farmer, appointed to maps/plans.  He joined the RCAF in 1942, gained his pilot's wings and was posted to 414 (Black Knight) squadron in Britain.  Early in 1944, he was taken offflying duties and assigned to the 83 Group planning organization preparing for the invasion of France.  There he was BIGOTED.  So sensitive was the information he acquired that he was not allowed to resume flying duties nor to leave Britain to rejoin 414 squadron until the Allies were firmly established in Europe.

Kyrle was a young man who had been engaged in the planning for one of the major events of the century.  He probably wanted to have some tangible reminder of his involvement so he asked his superior officer if he could keep his copy of the BIGOT “A” LIST.  His superior said “Yes, but keep it secret; tell no one”. 

The trust wasn't misplaced.  I was the first to know of it and I didn't find out until the two of us visited France in 1987 where he told me his story.

Submitted by: Win Farmer

For an extended version of this story and speculation about the origins of BIGOT, go to November 2015 Issue no. 4 of Vol. 25 The Torch on this website.

 

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