Digby Hardy (J L or J H Gooding)

1920 Aug 12. A convicted forger serving a 5 year sentence in a London prison, one F. Digby Hardy, offered his services as a spy. Hardy was to travel to Ireland and establish contact with the IIS. Hardy's letter, however, had been intercepted and transmitted to IIS Headquarters, where Irish operatives began to amass a dossier of incriminating information concerning Hardy's past. Collins actually got a copy of the letter Gooding wrote offering his services.

1920 Sep 20. Collins permitted Hardy to make contact with the IIS, and shortly there after arranged what Hardy had been led to believe was a conference with IIS officers. Those present were in fact American and British journalists anticipating the scoop that Hardy was shortly to provide. During this meeting the leaders of the IIS confronted Hardy with his criminal past, and his mission to penetrate the IIS. When Hardy learned the true identity and purpose of his host, he made a full confession, hoping thereby to obtain leniency from his inquisitors. Because of Hardy's cooperation, the IIS spared his life and gave him until the next morning to be out of Ireland. The story made international news headlines, and the BIS suffered a humiliating reversal before world opinion.

Beaslai of the IRA has in his papers a number of "F D Hardy's" papers from 1918 to 1920



Basil Thomson