|something to stop this aggressive and subversive dictatorship dominating a future world. High ideals but
ones perfectly at home with John Argyris. The engineering firm that he worked for was dealing with German secrets insofar as
they knew exactly what the Germans were doing at the design stage of their projects and their end results. These secrets would
eventually be used by British Intelligence. His mother said that he was in grave danger of his life if he stayed in Germany any
longer. Unfortunately as plans were being made for his mother and himself to return to Greece, war did indeed break out. He
was then working in Northern Germany where one of his first actions in helping others and risking his life was when a desperate
parent and friend asked him to try and save around thirty young German women aged between 15 and 25 years, all with a
Jewish heritage, from the Nazi tyranny. John Argyris decided that the only option open to them was to get them to a then free
nation. The nearest was at that time Denmark. He enlisted the help of a friend who loaned him the use of a motor boat. The boat
filled to capacity and unfortunately John Argyris had to leave more than the boat could carry, including the parents of the
children. This secret attempt for freedom and 'life' carried out in the dead of night was successful. If he had been caught, John
Argyris would have been hanged.
As war was progressing in Europe and the Germans knew of John Argyris's great worth, they asked him point blank to help them in their war efforts. He refused, bringing upon himself the wrath of the Nazis. He knew that he had to move swiftly and to an environment where he would be safe. The only place close was the Greek Embassy in Berlin. What he had heard and been told by the Germans he put to good use. He told the officials that it would not be long before Greece was invaded and passed on a great deal of secret German information. (Three months later he would be proved correct as Greece was invaded and conquered by the Nazis.) John Argyris was flown to Greece on what was supposedly official embassy business where this important information was passed onto the British
|Ambassador to Greece, Sir Michael Palairet. Sir Michael said that Argyris had to leave because it was far too dangerous for him to stay if the
Germans found out about his work for the Allies.
John Argyris flew back to Berlin as he had no alternative. On arrival in Germany the secret police were unfortunately waiting, they approached him and told him he was an enemy of the state. John Argyris was sent to one of their infamous concentration camps. After four to five weeks he escaped during an RAF attack on the camp after which he contacted a high ranking friend and contact in the German war machine - Admiral Kananis. John Argyris knew that he was a fanatical anti-Nazi and also of Greek origin, but who had kept his personal feelings extremely close to his chest for obvious reasons. Admiral Kananis said that he would help John Argyris escape from the Nazis and attached one of his officers to him (a Colonel in the Army) who also had an intense hatred for the Nazi regime. The Admiral also gave John Argyris special papers and a visa to enter and stay in Switzerland as long as he wanted. Over a three week period both the officer of the Third Reich and John Argyris walked through the vast part of Germany until they arrived at the Swiss frontier barred by the Rhine in South East Germany. The officer said that he had to swim to Switzerland to gain freedom. John Argyris's second example of his heroic spirit was to talk seven others into swimming with him - five reached Switzerland with him. The Rhine was icy cold at that time of year and was made even colder by the dissipation of iced waters flowing continuously from the Swiss mountains.
On arrival at the Swiss side of the Rhine he was captured with the others and the soldiers told him that they would all be interned and sent back to Germany as the Swiss did not want any problems with Nazis themselves. On arrival at the Swiss interrogation centre the authorities found two things that changed their minds to send John Argyris back to Germany. Firstly the Swiss found a dossier on him and secondly and probably the more important at that time, was that he possessed a visa
|issued through one of Germany's highest ranking military officers. Admiral Kananis and the Colonel Dohnanyi were executed
under the direct orders of Hitler six months later.
Not knowing anyone in Switzerland and thinking that he was in relative safety, John Argyris bided his time before he embarked to England by enrolling at the Technical University of Zurich where he completed their two year Doctor of Science higher course in engineering in a mere 6-months and was awarded the university's prize. His engineering brilliance if not previously known was shown by this single and immense feat of excellence; but unknown to the world-at-large there was much, much more to come in future years. Shortly after this enormous feat of intellectual and technical achievement, two attempts were made by the Nazis to abduct him from Switzerland.
Having being found out he went to the British Embassy to ask for their help. John Argyris told them how he had helped the British with some vital information when in Greece. The embassy contacted Sir Michael Palairet to verify matters and embassy officials were immediately told to create some false papers for John Argyris and to arrange for his safe transport to Britain via Spain and then onto Portugal. Flying from Lisbon to England gave him the greatest of pleasure as John Argyris now knew that his dream to help Britain stop the Nazi war machine was finally at hand.
When he reached Britain at a military air base in England, he was interrogated for three days without relent by two British Intelligence officers who could not believe his story of how he had escaped from Germany and the Nazi regime. They believed that he was a German spy as they constantly asked, ‘how did you hoodwink the Germans for so long?’. Who could blame them for it was a quite extraordinary story. Once the British Intelligence Service was satisfied that John Argyris was perfectly genuine he was attached through Lord Beaverbrook's Ministry of Aircraft Production to the Royal Aeronautical Society(RAeS) who were responsible for giving instructions to the Aviation Industry on how to produce high speed, high
|mach fighters, among other things. He was installed initially as a technical officer but, due to the RAeS's
amazement at his work that no-one at the Society could follow, after a mere few months was promoted to chief technical officer.
Indeed, it was agreed and acknowledged at the time that John Argyris was years in advance of any of their engineers. His
knowledge and thinking was, to put it mildly, revolutionary. This would inevitably be proved to be the case and was the
revolutionary thinking that eventually would lead to the full creation of the 'Finite Element Method’ (the FEM) which was
conceived and conceptualised in Britain at the end of the war years, between 1944 and 1945.
When John Argyris's started his work at the RAeS in the early 1940s, 'Data-Sheets' for the design of all civil, military and high speed fighter aircraft were issued to the aircraft manufacturers. However on investigation he found that the methods and those proposed were completely out of date and in many cases had eighty-percent faults in their designs, a point that would indirectly save tens of thousands of Allied lives. As the new chief technical officer at the RAeS John Argyris set about changing all this and single handedly brought all the data-sheets up to the high standards necessary for the war effort. But all was not fair sailing though and great difficulties lay ahead as the aircraft manufacturing industry was hard to change to these new, revolutionary and far safer designs. Their reticence was possible due to the decline in profits that realignment to John Argyris's new data-sheets would entail. Indeed, at first they said that what was being asked of them was 'Impossible' and could not possibly be right. Through perseverance, tenacity and sheer grit he stuck to his guns and eventually John Argyris 'showed them the light', with his revolutionary new methods being accepted and adopted by the industry. Indeed, he carried the torch in the aviation industry for revolutionary change. Had he not, Britain would have been at a distinct disadvantage in the air, particularly with D-Day looming.
Over a period of time, eminent people within science
|2||www.thewif.org.uk - The World Innovation Foundation - April - July 2000|