Quite a lot has already been written about the Rudolph Hess flight to Scotland on May10th 1941, and I myself have made several postings on this thread. It is of course likely we'll never know with 100% certainty what the whole story was; however, I have always had a feeling at the back of my mind that the Hess affair was contrived by the likes of Churchill and the British Secret Service. I have recently read a book, "Foot Prints in Time", written by John Colville, and published by Collins in 1976, and it dispels any thoughts in my mind that there was more to the Hess's timely flight than we have been led to be believe.
Colville was one of Churchill's Private Secretaries, and on the evening of Saturday May 10th 1941 [ the night Hess arrived], he was alone at #10 Downing St. while Churchill was off spending the weekend at Ditchley. Colville spent the night sheltering in the rather flimsy accommodation at #10, while the Luftwaffe plastered London with high explosives and incendiaries, in what was probably the most devastating raid of the war.
After the "All-Clear" Colville went out for a walk and a bit fresh air. On his way back to #!0 he dropped into the Foreign Office for a chat with his friend, who was Anthony Eden's Private Secretary. Eden's Secretary was speaking on the telephone and he said to Colville,
" This may be a lunatic. He says he's the Duke of Hamilton and that something extraordinary has happened, that he's about to fly down from Scotland to Northolt, and that he wants to be met by Alec Cadogan [Asst. Foreign Secy.], and the Prime Minister's Secretary.".
Colville spoke to the Duke and asked, "Has somebody arrived?", to which the Duke replied,
"Yes, please be at Northolt to meet me.", and rang off.
Colville telephoned Ditchley and asked for instructions from the Prime Minister.
"Well, who, has arrived?", asked Churchill.
"I don't know", replied Colville, "He [Hamilton] wouldn't say.
"It can't be Hitler?" asked Churchill, to which Colville answered,"I imagine not.".
"Well stop imagining, and have the Duke sent straight here from Northolt.", answered Churchill.
A careful reading of the foregoing will doubtless lead to the Questions:
(1) Why was Colville's first reaction to ask, "Has somebody arrived?" ? and
(2) Why was Churchill's first reaction to ask, "Well, who, has arrived?" ?
The answer to Question #1 is simply that during the air-raid Colville had been dozing and daydreaming about Peter Fleming's 1940 book, "Flying Visit", a fantasy which had Hitler inadvertently landing in the U.K.. But it wasn't Hitler Colville had been daydreaming about, but Göring, who it was rumoured, was believed to take flights in German bombers.
The answer to Question #2, is that Churchill too was aware of the information from Air ministry Intellegence, that Göring was believed to take flights in German bombers, and simply in his thoughts, replaced Göring with Hitler.
I now believe that it was later that day, Sunday May 11th, that Churchill first learned, from the Duke of Hamilton, that Hess had arrived in Scotland, and that MI5 and/or MI6 had nothing to do with the arrival of Hess in Scotland.