Churchill's secret ninja program
Only vaguely martial arts related, but oh well. Fact: Winston Churchill was a badass. When not trolling Nazis, other Brits, or drinking gin by the bottle (the real man's drink), he also was apparently running a secret ninja program on the side...because dammit if the Japanese are going to be doing something, Churchill was going to do it better.
(Full article from the Dailymail HEREHEREHEREHEREHERE)
Today, Beaulieu is the home of the Montagu family and a major tourist attraction in the depths of the New Forest in Hampshire. But 70 years ago it was the last point of call for secret agents being sent into occupied territory, and at the centre of some of the most extraordinary wartime preparations made to beat Hitler.
Away from prying eyes, trainee agents were taught the arts of silent killing, housebreaking, bridge-blowing, arson, forgery, disguise and sabotage, as well as how to resist interrogation and torture.
'Security was very, very tight. It was like being in a very enclosed family,' says Noreen, now 84 and living outside Paris.
'I knew I had to keep my mouth shut and not ask questions. My mother thought I was working for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.'
In all, about 3,000 Special Operations Executive spies passed through Beaulieu's gates. Nearly half never returned, but those who did often owed their lives to their training.
A gamekeeper from the Queen's estate in Sandringham taught students how to move across a field in moonlight without being seen. A former safe-blower taught them how to pick locks. Two former Shanghai policemen showed them how to kill silently. Even the Soviet double agent Kim Philby was there, sharing the arts of 'black propaganda' - passing false information to the enemy.
The program known as Special Operations Executive, was also called Churchill's secret army and The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare. Real Ninjutsu comes with a side of fish and chips.