Operation Surgeon

'Surgeon' was the British operation to capture or otherwise gain information about the German aeronautical and rocket weapons programmes (July 1945/1947).

A list of 1,500 German scientists and technicians had been drawn up in the closing stages of the war with a view to the removal of these men from Germany 'whether they liked it or not', and thereby making it impossible for them to fall willingly or unwillingly into Soviet hands. It was feared that if these men had been permitted to remain in Germany their services might have made it possible for the USSR to 'achieve a long range bomber force superior to any other in the world'.

Of the scientists and technicians removed in 1946/47, 100 or so chose to work for the UK. Many of the scientists listed at the start of the operation had already offered their services to British commonwealth countries, Sweden, Switzerland, Brazil and Argentina, and regarded working for the USSR only as a final resort if stopped from working in Germany and unable to find employment elsewhere in the West.