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Monday, April 20, 1992 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Maurice Buckmaster, Chief Of Spies

AP

LONDON - Maurice Buckmaster, who controlled Britain's spies in France during World War II and was credited for helping to shorten the conflict, has died at age 90, news reports said today.

The Times of London said he died Friday, but gave no cause of death.

Mr. Buckmaster ran the French section of the SOE, or Special Operations Executive, from 1941 to 1945, commanding 400 agents. At war's end, Allied commander Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower said the section had helped shorten the war by six months. "It was the equivalent of 15 divisions," he said.

Mr. Buckmaster's agents were deployed around France to spy, sabotage and recruit French resistance fighters, which they did with a high degree of success and at a very harsh cost. More than 100 spies were killed.

France honored Mr. Buckmaster as a chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre, the Medaille de la Resistance, and the U.S. Legion of Merit. Britain made him an Officer of the Order of British Empire in 1943.

After the war, he returned to Ford Motor Co. and eventually became director of public relations.

Copyright (c) 1992 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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