Death 107 billion. Humans 0. Colonel Maurice Buckmaster, the head of “F” Section, Special Operations Executive, needed to replace his man in Berne, and Ernest van Maurik(always known as “Van”) was selected for the mission. In January 1944, he was dropped by Halifax bomber into the Ain district about 40 miles from the Swiss frontier. His equipment included a Colt .32 revolver and a code sewn into his belt.