James W. Hudson, 93, an American whose World War II exploits as a spy behind enemy lines included the rescue of Allied nurses, the capture of Nazi scientists and the arrest of a prominent German aviator, died May 28 at a hospital in Fredericksburg. He had sepsis and pneumonia.
After Mr. Hudson’s World War II service with the Office of Strategic Services, the wartime forerunner of the CIA, he worked as a construction consultant in the Fredericksburg area.
In his later years, he wrote memoirs detailing his clandestine OSS work in the Albanian mountains, hidden away in a cave overlooking the Adriatic Sea.
His OSS code name was Bill, and his mission was to parachute into enemy territory, set up an intelligence network and disrupt supply lines of the German 1st Mountain Division.
Among Mr. Hudson’s earliest successes, according to his family, was the rescue of 13 American nurses whose plane had been shot down and crashed into a mountain in Albania. Toward the end of the war, he was dispatched to Austria to round up scientists loyal to Hitler who were to be tried for war crimes in Nuremberg.
His biggest get was Hanna Reitsch, a daring test pilot who flew a glider over the Alps, set more than 40 altitude and endurance records, and was the first woman awarded the Iron Cross by Hitler.
Mr. Hudson helped arrest Reitsch in May 1945, a little more than a week after she left Hitler’s side the day he committed suicide in his underground bunker in Berlin. Ultimately, Reitsch was not charged with any crimes and was released by U.S. forces in 1946.
James Wesley Hudson was born in Philadelphia on July 9, 1917. He was commissioned as an Army officer in 1939 shortly after graduating from Gettysburg College with degrees in chemistry and physics.
Early in his military career, he worked as a researcher at Eastman Kodak. He helped develop a microfilm system for the transmission of military official mail, later known as Victory Mail.
He separated from the military as a captain, and his decorations included the Bronze Star Medal.
As a consultant in Fredericksburg, Mr. Hudson helped builders and architects cut costs by analyzing materials and construction methods.
His first marriage, to Joyce Doner, ended in divorce.
Survivors include his second wife, Patricia Williams Hudson of Spotsylvania County; three children from his first marriage, James W. Hudson Jr. of Kirkland, Wash., Wesley Hudson of Sugar Land, Tex., and Beverly McCormick of Morehead, Ky.; two children from his second marriage, Stephen Hudson of Spotsylvania County and Dana Goldstein of Annapolis; 12 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
In a fall 2003 OSS Society newsletter, Mr. Hudson wrote a letter imploring families to learn for history’s sake about the wartime service of the elder spies in their lives.
“Tell the world about your guy in the rocking chair who was once gung ho, climbing mountains and dodging a ruthless enemy bent on his torture and destruction,” Mr. Hudson wrote. “Climb on his knee yourself, if you must, but get his story.”