Lieutenant-ColonelRoger Fleetwood HeskethOBE TD DL JP (28 July 1902 – 14 November 1987), born Roger Bibby-Hesketh, was a Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdom. He was Member of Parliament (MP) for Southport from 1952 to 1959.
He was the first of six children born to Major Charles Hesketh Fleetwood-Hesketh (1871–1947) and his wife Anne Dorothea (Brocklebank) Fleetwood-Hesketh (1877–1940). His mother died in the torpedoing and sinking of the ocean liner SS City of Benares in September 1940.
Hesketh was educated at Eton from where, in 1922, he was commissioned into the Duke of Lancaster’s Own Yeomanry as a 2nd Lieutenant. He attended university at Christ Church, Oxford, and was called to bar in 1928 at the Middle Temple.
During the Second World War, in February 1940, then at the rank of Major, he transferred to the Royal Artillery from the Yeomanry. As Lieutenant Colonel, Fleetwood-Hesketh was a member of Ops (B), the deception section of SHAEF that helped plan Operation Fortitude, a key portion of Operation Bodyguard, the deception plan covering the Allied invasion of Normandy in 1944. He wrote a history of his role and the operation that was published after his death.
Following the end of the war, Hesketh was sent to Germany, alongside his brother, to search through the files of German intelligence, and question officers. He was then asked to write a history of deception in Western Europe, including the work up to and including Operation Fortitude.
In the 1970s books about Second World War deception began to appear. Sefton Delmer‘s 1971 book, The Counterfeit Spy, appeared to be copied from Hesketh’s earlier unpublished report. Noel Wild had provided Delmer with a copy of the report. Hesketh was annoyed and threatened to sue. However, the Government claimed Crown Copyright on his report and he was not able to. In the end Delmer added a credit to the second edition of the book, and Hesketh and other deceivers were able to correct inaccuracies.
Hesketh’s report was eventually published posthumously in 1999, with a foreword by “Nigel West” (the pseudonym of Rupert Allason).