17 January 2018

Book Review - The London Cage: The Secret History of Britain's World War II Interrogation Centre (2017)

The London Cage by Helen Fry (2017)
The London Cage by Helen Fry (2017)
The Book
The London Cage: The Secret History of Britain's World War II Interrogation Centre. Helen Fry. Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2017.

The London Cage stormed into public view over 10 years ago (2005) when Ian Cobain published a provocative article in The Guardian - The Secrets of the London Cage. The article took the lid off and established that torture had been used at the London Cage. Cobain's follow-up book, Cruel Britannia (reviewed on my blog) pretty much put a nail in the coffin. Without a doubt, the London Cage, under the command of Lt. Col. Alexander Scotland, had been the scene of hideous events against members of the German Army as well as Nazi officers. What more could be said about it?

This past year, Helen Fry tackled the subject in a full-length book. The write-up sounded promising. An excerpt from the inside cover of the book jacket tell us that:
Until now, what has happened at the London Cage has remained a secret closely guarded by the Home Office. This riveting book reveals the full details of operations there as well as the subsequent efforts to hide them.

Helen Fry's extraordinary original research paints rich portraits of the interrogators and their prisoners, and gives disturbing, compelling accounts of daily life revolving around systemic Soviet-style mistreatment. Fry also provides sensational evidence to counter official denials concerning the use of 'truth drugs' and 'enhanced interrogation' techniques.

Bringing dark secrets to light, this groundbreaking book at last provides an objective and complete history of the London Cage.
The author devotes various chapters to such diverse topics as: Lt. Col. Scotland, interrogators, "guests", interrogation methods, truth drugs and various war crimes carried out against Allied forces by the Nazis. The book is not arranged chronologically, so each chapter tends to jump around a fair bit in time and space, with the exception of the war crimes chapters which are relatively coherent. The author takes great pains to point out how the information gathered at the London Cage between 1940 and 1945 helped Allied forces defeat the Nazis.

I've read Lt. Col. Scotland's own memoir on the London Cage (reviewed on my blog) and I've read Ian Cobain's book on Cruel Britannia. I've read Lt. Col. R.W.G. Stephens' report on MI5's secret interrogation centre (Camp 020) where violence was ostensibly verboten. Stephens was working on the Camp 020 report while his subordinates were abusing prisoners at the Bad Nenndorf interrogation centre. I have to admit that Helen Fry's book was a bit of a challenge.

While the book is extremely well-researched, the presentation of the material, particularly in the first half of the book made me question the editorial process. In a nutshell, the material is poorly organized and disjointed. Space is devoted to introducing the well-researched background of minor individuals but these people are never referred to again. At times it feels as if material has been cut from the book, thereby affecting the continuity and flow of the narrative. The war crimes chapters were very familiar as they are described at some length in Scotland's own book. Without referring to the footnotes, it was difficult to tell what material was drawn from Scotland's unpublished memoirs (confiscated by the authorities before the abridged version was published) and what material was drawn from his published book. One chapter dealt with truth drugs but, other than the first and last paragraphs, made no mention of how truth drugs related to the London Cage. The only concrete evidence of truth drugs being used by Lt. Col. Scotland was when he showed up at Camp 020 with a syringe that he promised would make a prisoner talk (as noted in Guy Liddell's diaries).

Scotland is also quoted in various places as stating under oath:
...he [Scotland] permitted no violence during interrogation and nor were prisoners beaten to extract information. (p.205)

No physical force was ever used during our interrogations to obtain information, no cold water treatment, no third degrees, nor any other refinements. (p. 206)
I would have liked to see the author dissect these statements with a view to identifying any possible prevarications within them. Perhaps physical force was not used "during" interrogations but does that mean it wasn't used before interrogations or between interrogation sessions? Perhaps prisoners were not beaten "to extract information" but were simply beaten to soften them up prior to interrogation?

The book leaves a lot of questions unanswered but the author does note that "in times of war and extreme tension, moral boundaries can often become blurred". While there is no doubt that the interrogation results from the London Cage helped the Allies win the war against the Nazis and brought many war criminals to justice, one is left wondering... do the ends justify the means?

Or is justice a one-way street? High-ranking German army commanders were tried and found guilty for the crimes of their subordinates. And yet, in the face of overwhelming evidence that their subordinates brutalized prisoners in their charge, Lt. Col. Scotland and Lt. Col. Stephens were either not tried (Scotland) or were tried and acquitted (Stephens re: Bad Nenndorf).

As A.W. Brian Simpson noted in his book In the Highest Degree Odious (1992) - all power corrupts - particularly power exercised in secret (p. 412).

Review Score
3 out of 5 - well researched but disjointed narrative

12 January 2018

Bella in the Wych Elm - The Mysterious Anna from Claverley (a.k.a. Una Hainsworth)

Sherlock equipment
Sherlock equipment
What would Sherlock Holmes do with the Bella in the Wych Elm case? Had he handled the case in 1943 when the body was first discovered, I am confident he would have used his exquisite powers of deduction to eliminate the impossible and identify the solution, no matter how improbable it seemed. Alas... Sherlock Holmes is a mere fictional character but... knowing his modus operandi, I would tend to think that he would have tracked down the facts of the case. But, at this point, almost 75 years after the discovery of Bella's skeleton in the Wych Elm, the facts of the case are clouded by rumours, innuendos, assumptions, fallacies, inaccuracies and errors. I am no Sherlock but... I do tend to find it most annoying when people ignore the obvious facts, add to the rumours or perpetuate the inaccuracies. Is the mystery of Bella solvable? Perhaps not... but I do believe that some theories can be explored in more detail with a view to determining if they are "impossible" or simply "improbable".

With that in mind, let us put on our collective deerstalker hats, clench our meerschaum pipes in our teeth and have a closer look at a few of the pivotal clues in the case. Before we begin, much of what is to follow is based on the West Mercia Police files that deal with the Hagley Wood murder (a.k.a. Bella in the Wych Elm). The files were released to the Worcestershire Archives and are available for purchase. The conditions of release are rather narrow and I am therefore not going to be able to share full document images. We are therefore stuck with my own transcripts of the relevant documents. I have included the document references as provided by the Worcestershire Archives.

Anna of Claverley
Express & Star building Wolverhampton (www.historywebsite.co.uk)
Express & Star building
Anyone familiar with the case knows that in the fall of 1953, an Express and Star columnist, Lt. Col. Wilfred Byford-Jones, using the nom-de-plume of Quaestor, wrote a series of sensationalist articles about the Hagley Wood murder.

A woman calling herself Anna, with a return address in Claverley, wrote a letter to Quaestor on November 18, 1953. The contents of the letter have been reprinted numerous times and run thusly:
Nov 18, 1953
My dear Quaestor,
Finish your articles re: the Wych Elm crime by all mean, they are interesting to your readers, but you will never solve the mystery.
The one person who could give the answer is now beyond the jurisdiction of earthly courts, the affair is closed and involves no witches, black magic or moon light rites.

Much as I hate having to use a nom-de-plume I think you would appreciate if you knew me.

The only clues I can give you are that the person responsible for the crime died insane in 1942 and the victim was Dutch and arrived illegally in England about 1941. I have no wish to recall any more.

(there is a last paragraph which references a "mutual friend" that, according to the police files and Quaestor, has nothing to do with the Hagley Wood murder. It has been scribbled out by pencil and is difficult to decipher. The Worcestesrshire Archives blog has images of both pages of this letter, for those interested in deciphering the last paragraph.)

On November 21, the editor of the Express & Star, B.E. Whiteaker sent Anna's letter to S. Inight, the Asst. Chief Constable, Count Police Headquarters, Worcester. The police were naturally quite interested in the letter and appealed to Anna to step forward. On December 3, 1953, Anna finally sent another letter to Quaestor, which read as follows:
Dear Quaestor,

Had so much publicity not been given to 'Anna' I would have contacted you before.
I will meet you and officers of the Worcestershire C.I.D. at the Dick Whittington (it is beyond The "Stewponey" from Wolverhampton) tomorrow night (Friday) at about 8:30 p.m. and maybe I can help them with their investigations if they are still interested, subject to my conditions to which I think they will agree. You of course, will not advertise this meeting in your press.

You have had many wild goose chases during the last few days maybe this will be the last or the beginning of many who knows?

At the Whittington they have a bar on the left of the entrance called the "priest's hole".
Anna meets the Police
Whittington Pub (now The Manor House of Whittington) Horse Bridge Lane, Whittington, Kinver, Stourbridge, West Midlands  DY7 6NY (www.pub-explorer.com)
Whittington Pub (now The Manor House of Whittington)
Horse Bridge Lane, Whittington, Kinver, Stourbridge,
West Midlands  DY7 6NY
There is, unfortunately, no clear record in the West Mercia Police files of what transpired in the Whittington Pub on the night of December 4, 1953. All we have to go on is a newspaper article written by Quaestor on January 16, 1958. He had been sworn to secrecy by the police but, after seeing an interview with the pathologist on ITV, who stated that the woman had been identified, Quaestor felt free to tell the tale of the meeting with Anna from Claverley.

I have made a few notes [italics in square brackets] where the errors are too glaringly obvious not to mention.
It was late in April 1943, that the remains of Bella were found by three youths [there were four youth] in a hollow tree in Hagley Wood. A picture of what the girl had been like was soon built up by a pathologist and the robot figure he created told the police much—but not her name and address and the secret of her death.

No indication that either of these mysteries had been solved was given until recently, when a pathologist said of Bella in an I.T.V. programme: “After extensive inquiries by the superintendent (Detective Superintendent T. Williams, of Worcestershire C.I.D.) he was able to identify her. It was a classic piece of detection.”

So now a pledge I made to keep secret further facts of the death of Bella in the Wych Elm is purged, I can tell of my dramatic meeting with a woman who claimed to know how Bella died. It began with the receipt by me of a letter from a writer who signed herself Anna. It was marked urgent and gave what purported to be some of the facts of the murder. It is to these facts that the pathologist referred as the solution.

After the first I appealed to her through the Express and Star to meet me to discuss the crime.

It was obvious that she was afraid to do this since the facts she had given involved a relative. She said he was present when Bella, or to give her her full name, Lubella, died in what the writer knew as a bluebell wood. It was not until ten days later that “Anna” wrote again. She fixed a rendezvous in a way that could not have been more melodramatic if it had been written in a Dorothy L. Sayers detective story.

The place of the meeting was arranged in the Monk’s room at the Dick Whittington Inn, Kinver, at 8 o’clock one dark rainy night. No clue was given in the letter of how I should know “Anna”. She did not describe herself. All she said was “You will know me when you see me.”

Outside the inn I met Detective Superintendent Williams, a girl detective and a male detective shorthand writer. Singly we went into the Monk’s room, a quiet cell like place off the left of the corridor that led from the mitred back door.

Then a girl entered. She was tall and curvaceous and blonde. Her clothes were fashionable. She looked in astonishment when she saw three people [not four? three detectives and Quaestor] sitting expectantly, and without a word between them, in a quiet corner of the otherwise empty chamber.

She mounted a staircase, still looking at us curiously, but without a word or sign.

In ten minutes at least 20 girls entered, mounted the staircase, then descended and left.

All of them looked at us, it seemed, with apprehension and bewilderment.

Then I set off to investigate and I found that the stairs led to the ladies’ toilet.

The little earnest group of sleuths were too tense to see the humour of the situation.

All we knew was that one of the dozen girls had been Anna. The question was which?

Taking separate routes, the chief, the girl detective and I converged on the long bar in a room reached by descending several steps at the end of the corridor outside.

Here we searched among the female faces for a  guilty or a knowing look.

Chief Detective Williams, one of the smartest men in his line, found that he was converging on the same woman as I. She looked quickly first at me, then at him. Then she began to talk rapidly to a well dressed man who accompanied her. I did not hesitate.

The chief heard me say “Anna, I believe?” She caught her breath, nodded to her companion. “I’ll follow you back to the monk’s room,” she said. She and her companions [more than one? we only know of the well-dressed man] joined us five minutes later.

There followed for me, and I think, for the detectives, a fascinating half hour.

Anna gave us her name and address.

Speaking with great solemnity she told us that she had for ten years guarded her story with great secrecy. Only one person, her husband, who accompanied her, knew the story she was about to tell. No one else would ever have heard of it but for the fact that I had reopened the case. The details given, the new revelations made, had deprived her of sleep.

Then she told us her dramatic story, answering satisfactorily questions asked her without warning to check her grip on the facts. She gave us the name and address of an officer.

He had come to her one night in late April, 1943 [Bella was discovered in April 1943, not killed on that date]—in fact, on a day which was consistent with the expert assessment of the day of Bella’s death—and told her that something terrible had happened to him.

He confessed to her under secrecy that he had been with a friend, a male trapeze artist then appearing at [indecipherable word] Hippodrome, and a Dutchman, in a car.

The officer was driving it. Between the other two men in the back was Bella. Suddenly as the car was descending Mucklow-hill, Halesowen, something happened. The girl seemed to have collapsed. The officer stopped the car. The two men then told him to drive on. “She’s dead,” they told him curtly. The order to drive on was repeated, far more peremptorily than before.

The car was driven through the blacked out town of Halesowen, then Hasbury. Finally, after several tentative halts, he was told to turn to the right off the main Bromsgrove road. He found himself in Hagley Wood. [Looking at the map, the geography mentioned would indicate that the car was being driven from the northeast (from Birmingham) towards the southwest/west - through Mucklow Hill and Halesowen, then Hasbury to Hagley Wood. This does not naturally align with an assignation at the Lyttleton Arms pub just outside Hagley, followed by a body dump in Hagley Wood.]

Here the body of the girl known now as Bella, was carried out and the officer was called on to help stuff it into the hollow trunk of the Wych Elm.

“Anna” told us in a broken voice that the officer was terrified. Next night he went again to Hagley Wood to make sure he had not been suffering from hallucinations.

He came back late at night. “There’s no mistake,” he told Anna, “the body is there all right, just as we left it.” She said he had given the details exactly as I had done. She told her husband long ago.

Anna then said that the officer told her that he did not trust his two male companions of that tragic night. He said that he believed that the Dutchman was actually a Germany [sic] spy and he could not understand why the police did not pick him up. He and the trapeze artist asked him if he could give them details of the location of certain munitions factories. All these were concerned with the manufacture either of aircraft engines or aircraft accessories. Anna said the officer came home at times with large sums of money and he could not explain where he got it. One of these factories—he had not given the location of it—was later heavily bombed. The officer said that Bella or Lubella had entered this country illegally in 1941 “after Dunkirk.” He thought she worked for the spy as an emissary and had fallen foul of them or become dangerous. He said the girl was murdered.

Anna then said that the incident connected with Bella had such an effect on the life of the officer that he had had a nervous breakdown. He was taken to a mental home which she named, where he died.

Inquiries proved that such an officer had in fact died on the date and at the place stated.
Other facts were also verified, but the Dutchman could not be found although efforts to locate him were made in Holland.

It is impossible for me to say if the police ever discovered the whereabouts of the trapeze artist but M.I.5 was brought into the case. [This appears to be the first time that MI5 is referenced with regard to this case.]

Detective Superintendent T. Williams, when asked last year to comment on the case added to the air of prevailing mystery by saying: “I can’t make any comment about it at the moment. The case is still not closed. I do not think it would be advisable to say anything at the present time.”

But the pathologist who appeared on I.T.V. said about Bella: “But after extensive inquires by the superintendent he was able to identify her. It was a classic piece of detection.”
That is the tale that Quaestor, a journalist with a dramatic flair, preserved for posterity in a newspaper (likely the Express and Star, although this is not made clear in the West Mercia Police files). The question is... how much of what he said is actually accurate? Journalists generally tend to take a bit of poetic license with the facts in order to "make a good story". What sort of a journalist/writer was Quaestor?

The Lightening War - Wilfred Byford-Jones
The Lightening War -
Wilfred Byford-Jones
As it turns out, Wilfred Byford-Jones was a man of many talents: author, soldier and journalist. His published books span the 1930s to the mid 1960s and cover such varied topics as Middle Eastern conflicts, the liberation of Greece, Midlands stories, travelogues, oil production, and the Holy Land. Having never read any of Byford-Jones' books, it is difficult to determine how accurate and well-researched they were. In 1946, the Spectator Archive published a review of "The Resisting Greeks" and noted that it was descriptive and unprejudiced and based on Byford-Jones' own experiences in Greece. On the other hand, a 1967 Kirkus Review of Quest in the Holy Land, concluded that "As Biblical scholarship, the work is uninformed. As report of a journey, entertaining and instructive." Based on my review of Quaestor's articles on the Hagley Wood murder, I would suggest that a similar assessment can be leveled against Byford-Jones. His articles are entertaining and descriptive but not all that accurate or well informed. Quaestor's account of the meeting with Anna of Claverley, and the tale that she told is quite fantastic, but how much is fact and how much is fancy?

Police Statement by Una Hainsworth
Luckily, the police took a statement from Una Hainsworth, one that she signed as being accurate and truthful. Although it is unclear when this statement was made to police, other documents in the same file would suggest it took place in December 1953. The statement reads as follows:
Name: Una Ella Hainsworth
Address: Four Acres, Long Common, Claverley.

I was married to Jack Mossop in 1932 and we went to live at the Bridge House, Wombourne. At that time he was studying to be a surveyor. The only child of our marriage was born in 1932 and he was christened Julian and at the present time, he is somewhere in America.

My husband joined the A.S.T. in 1937 as a Pilot Officer and was stationed at Hamble, near Southampton.

In 1938 he commenced work for the Armstrong Siddeley Works Coventry and subsequently he went to work at the Standard Aero Works at Coventry (Banner Lane).

It was in 1940 that a man named ‘VAN RALT’ came to our house No. 39 Barrow Road, Kenilworth. I believe this man was Dutch and as far as I know he had no particular job, and I have a suspicion that he was engaged on some work that he did not wish to talk about, but in my opinion it might have been that he was a spy for he had plenty of money and there were times that my husband appeared to have plenty of money after meeting him.

It was either in March or April, 1941 that my husband came home and was noticeably white and agitated. This was at about 1 a.m. in the morning and he asked me for a drink. I made a comment that I thought he had had enough as he had been out all day but I gave him a drink. He then said he had been to the Lyttleton Arms with ‘VAN RALT’ and the ‘Dutch piece’ and that she had got awkward. My husband was driving the car, which belonged to ‘VAN RALT’, she got in beside him, ‘VAN RALT’ was in the back and then she fell over towards my husband, and he said to ‘VAN RALT’ that she had passed out. ‘VAN RALT’ told him where to drive to and they went to a wood, stuck her in a hollow tree. ‘VAN RALT’ said she would come to her senses the following morning, and as far as I know, my husband came home. He came home in ‘VAN RALT’S’ car which was a Rover.

I lived at Kenilworth until December 1941 and between April and December, my husband appeared very jumpy and it was noticeable that he had more drink than usual, and appeared to have more money to spend. He was nearly always away from work and this led to my suspicion that in some way, he was obtaining money and may have been meeting ‘VAN RALT’. I should mention that my husband had an old Standard Car of his own and he used to go off for days on end and I did not know where he was.

When I left my husband in December 1941 I went to Henley in Arden, and we lived there for ten years. We lived at Nuthurst House, Shrewley, near Henley in Arden, and we finally returned in 1951 to Kenilworth and came to our present address in August, 1953.

I saw my first husband Jack MOSSOP at Kenilworth on three occasions after I was forced to leave him in December 1941 and tried to get my possessions including furniture from the house and on one of these occasions, it would be the last time I saw him, he told me what I thought at first, was a further story to put me off and it was as follows: - That he thought he was losing his mind as he kept seeing the woman in the tree and she was leering at him. He held his head in his hands and said “it is getting on my nerves, I am going crazy”. It was about June 1942 when I heard that he had been taken to the Mental Hospital at Stafford where he died in August 1942. I was not informed of his death at the time and I did not attend the funeral because of this. The first I knew was when my present husband told me that an application had been made at the works claiming money that was due to him and sending a doctor’s certificate.

I had no knowledge whatever of the Hagley Murder until an article appeared in the Express and Star newspaper, neither had I read anything before which could in any way be connected with the incident I have told you about. I have not discussed the matter with anyone and it was not until I was reading the details and bearing in mind the possible date when the woman met her death that I, in any way, connected this with my husband’s statement to me in March or April, 1941, and because of the articles referring to witchcraft etc., I decided in the first place to write a letter and sign it ‘Anna’. I put sufficient clues in the letter which should have helped to have identified me and it was only because of a subsequent appeal in the newspaper and because I felt I ought to say what I know of this matter that I decided to arrange to meet you. I cannot add anything further and because I am now married again with three small children I hope that what I have said to you will only be used to aid the course of justice and it is this which has prompted me to take the action I have. I was not treated too well by my husband and do not wish in any way to rake up the past but if what I have told you will help you in this matter, then the foregoing statement has been made by me voluntarily and with that end in view.

I, of course, have no proof, that what I have told you now is the truth, but bearing in mind my husband’s condition and what he said to me at the time, I have done my best to recall it to help in the enquiry.

(signed) Una Hainsworth
No mention of trapeze artists... no mention of munitions locations passed on to suspicious folk... no mention of a Dutch woman who arrived illegally in 1941... no mention of a second visit to Hagley Wood... no mention of murder. Rather disappointing in fact when one compares it with Quaestor's fantastic recreation from 1958.

Police Notes on Una Hainsworth
Coventry Hippodrome (www.cinematreasures.org)
Coventry Hippodrome
There are, however, some handwritten police notes which add a little bit of extra information to the official typewritten statement of Una Hainsworth. Some of the notes match information in the Quaestor article from 1958.  The notes are rather cryptic in places and generally point form, rather than complete sentences. Only the last item noted below has a date associated with it and while the green pen colour, paper and handwriting are all the same, it might be a bit of a stretch to assume that all of the notes were written on the same day. I am including only the notes that are relevant to the espionage theory.
  • met Van Ralt/Raalt twice in 1940 - did not work as far as she knows - plenty of money - Rover car which her husband used to drive
  • Coventry Hippodrome - man stage name Frack appeared there in 1938
  • Stayed at back house on left in Grosvenor R. Coventry - was a boarding house mile from theatre - after Mossop stayed at the house
  • finally left her husband Mossop in 13 Dec 1941 - he remained at Barrow Road, Kenilworth - fond of women. Women clothes in house. He was certified insane in June 1942.
  • Mossop was reared by his mother's mother - grandmother reared.
  • December 28, 1953 - Enquiries with Insp Morgan, Kenilworth reveal that Una Hainsworth alias Anna is well known and when she left Kenilworth she was in debt to all and sundry and they would like to get their hands on her.
These then are the facts that we have. Much as Quaestor has a flair for the dramatic, I'm not entirely sure that we can rely on him for facts. It would appear that he is the source of the claim that "MI5 was brought into the case". At this point, having scanned all of the West Mercia Police files, I have found no indication that MI5 was involved. The police summary of the case, compiled in 2005, and accompanying the files released to the Worcestershire Archives also makes no mention of MI5's involvement. Despite the fact that many people/blogs/articles/stories have repeatedly stated that MI5 became involved after Una/Anna shared her information, no concrete reference to an MI5 case file has ever been produced. To date, it would appear that IF MI5 was involved (a very big "if"), then those files have not yet been released to the National Archives. All we have to go on is Quaestor's assertion which, given his ability to stretch the truth in other ways, might be a bit of a leap of faith.

Una's statement and the police notes (in green ink) have left us with a few other questions:
  • Van Raalt - was there such a person? What did the police discover about him?
  • Jack Mossop - various rumours state that he was an officer, wore an RAF uniform, died of an overdose at the insane asylum, etc. What is truth? What is fiction?
  • Julian Mossop - the son of Una and Jack - what became of him? Why is he listed in the West Mercia Police files as a "possible suspect"?
  • Frack - who the heck is Frack? The trapeze artist? Did the police track down any information?
West Mercia Police files - Hagley Wood Murder (Worcestershire Archives)
West Mercia Police files - Hagley Wood Murder
(Worcestershire Archives)
My own interest in this case lies in the direction of espionage and the manner in which Clara Bauerle has been conscripted as a possible victim. The story that Una tells, and her suspicions of espionage, seem to be at the root of the rumours that swirl around a "West Midlands espionage ring". In upcoming blog posts, I plan to tackle the four questions/characters noted above with reference to the West Mercia Police files on the case. Eventually, we will address the issue of a West Midlands espionage ring.

The West Mercia Police files were released to the Worcestershire Archvies and made available in 2016. The individual pieces of paper in each of the files were scanned in the order that they came out of the boxes and files. The jpg images are simply numbered sequentially, sometimes in batches/bunches, sometimes not. I have stuck with their system and reference it below. It is not clear why File 4 has a title of "Possible Victim Una Hainsworth".

Worcestershire Archives - West Mercia Police files - Original Documents:
  • Plastic Wallets - Anna's Letter - page 3b & 3a - Anna's first letter to Quaestor - Nov 1953
  • Plastic Wallets - Anna's Letter - page 4c & 4b - Anna's second letter to Quaestor - Dec 1953
  • File 4 - Possible Victim Una Hainsworth - pages 3a-3f - handwritten police notes (green ink)
  • File 4 - Possible Victim Una Hainsworth - pages 4a & 4b - Una's statement to police (Dec 1953)
  • File 9 - Press Cuttings 1943-1993 - Item 29 - 16 January 1958 newspaper article by Quaestor - newspaper is not named and title is truncated: "Kinver Inn Meeting sh... on mystery of... Bella" (Likely was something along the lines of "Kinver Inn meeting sheds light on mystery of Bella".

08 January 2018

Book Review - Cargo of Lies: The True Story of a Nazi Double Agent in Canada - Dean Beeby (1995)

The Book
Cargo of Lies: The True Story of a Nazi Double Agent in Canada. Dean Beeby. Toronto University Press, Toronto, 1995.

You know that saying, "Don't judge a book by its cover"? Well... that saying applies to this book! Looking at the cover, you might expect some semi-fictionalized fantastical pseudo-historical story but... the cover is misleading. Cargo of Lies is exquisitely well-researched and was a real pleasure to read.

Beeby, a Canadian journalist, managed to obtain the original police files on the case through Freedom of Information requests. Published in 1995, before the MI5 files were declassified, the book does have a few gaps, which the author freely acknowledges. A quick search on the National Archives website, however, reveals no files for the case. Interesting

Werner Alfred Waldemar Janowski
(from wikimedia)
As for the book itself, it tells the tale of two German espionage agents who were separately deposited on the coast of Canada from submarines in 1942.

Most of the book deals with Werner Alfred Waldemar von Janowski who landed near New Carlisle, QC, on November 9, 1942. Janowski aroused suspicions in the small community and was arrested the next day. A bit of a turf battle ensued between various agencies (Quebec Provincial Police, RCMP, Naval Intelligence) but when the dust had settled, Janowski was nestled in the firm, if tentative, embrace of the RCMP.

Despite having no espionage or double-cross system experience, the RCMP decided to try and run Janowski as a double agent (WATCHDOG). Even though there were numerous leaks in the press about the capture of a German solider/sailor/spy along the coast of Quebec, the authorities believed it unlikely that this would affect their double-cross plans. The naive Canadian intelligence amateurs eventually received some assistance from Cyril Mills, the MI5 case officer for double-agent GARBO. But... by August 1943, the case was dead in the water as it became clear that Janowski was likely a triple-cross agent.

He was quietly shipped off to Camp 020 in England where Major Robin W.G. Stephens and his team had a go at the hapless agent. Janowski was variously described as a "fluent and fertile liar" and a "loyal dissembling Nazi". He told the authorities several different versions of his history but, in the end, it was quite clear that he had been involved in the Nazi Party and that he was a well-trained and experienced sabotage expert. He remained at Camp 020 until the end of the war and was then shipped back to Germany.

Alfred Langbein (a.k.a. Alfred Haskins)
(on display at Canadian War Museum)
One chapter in the book is devoted to the tale of Alfred Langbein (alias Alfred Haskins). He was landed from a submarine in the Bay of Fundy in May 1942. Langbein was cut from very different cloth than Janowski however. Langbein had become disillusioned with the political situation in Germany and saw his mission to Canada as a way to escape the Nazis and, at war's end, bring his wife and children to a new country.

Upon landing, Langbein buried his uniform and radio transmitter. Despite his accent and out-of-date Canadian bills, he was able to make his way to Montreal and then Ottawa where he lived an unassuming life, attracting no attention.

On November 1, 1944, Langbein gave himself up to a Naval Intelligence officer and was passed along to the RCMP. Cyril Mills from MI5 was involved in the initial interrogation of Langbein. It quickly became clear that the poor German was being "straightforward and honesty throughout" as he recounted his story. Too stale to serve as a double-cross agent, Langbein was sent to an internment camp near Fredericton, NB and repatriated at the end of the war.

What I found most interesting in both of these stories, was the stories that lay behind both men. They had both spend several years in Canada in the 1920/1930s and were familiar with the country. In that respect, they were both good choices for espionage missions to Canada. Janowski was also relatively experienced as he had participated in a sabotage mission in French Morocco and been involved in the invasion of the Lowlands in May 1940. Langbein, on the other hand, had apparently joined the Abwehr in an attempt to avoid being conscripted into the German Army. He was originally trained as an agent to be dispatched to England as part of Operation LENA in August 1940. On his way to Brussels, and with his third child about to be born, Langbein changed his mind and refused the mission. The Abwehr apparently handled his refusal quite well. Langbein recounted a conversation he had had with Karl Gartenfeld, the Heinkel 111 pilot involved in Operation LENA:
"On one occasion [Gartenfeld] told me that he considered his business of dropping parachute agents in England was the profession of a butcher."
Beeby's book provides quite a bit of information on how both Janowski and Langbein were prepared for their missions. Langbein's story in particular is of interest because of his tangential connection with Operation LENA. His list of equipment, identification papers, training, etc. are all of interest in comparison with the LENA spies. Interestingly, Langbein was told by his Abwehr superiors to get a haircut as soon as he arrived in Canada to eliminate the distinctive German hairstyle. Fascinating.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found it very well researched and quite helpful. I found Beeby's writing style to be engaging. It isn't all "dry facts" and he weaves in the stories of various characters quite seamlessly. Given that news reports of the day, and even after the war, contained a lot of rumours and exaggerations, it is nice to see an account of the story that relies on original source documentation.

I do have to admit that Janowski has an unfortunate face and does rather fit the image of a "loyal dissembling Nazi"! I also find it interesting to read Stephens' description of the Janowski case from the Camp 020 book (edited by Oliver Hoare). Stephens' penchant for exaggeration and flamboyancy tends to shine through. According to Stephens, Janowski "attracted immediate attention by ordering a bath in his hotel, for in those northern regions no one bathed at that time of year". (FYI - latitude of New Carlisle QC is 48°N and the latitude of London/Camp 020 is 51°N.) It would appear that Stephens' well-documented xenophobia towards other nationalities may need to be expanded to encompass his disparaging comments about the hygiene habits of (filthy) colonial Canadians.

Review Score
5 out of 5 - well-researched and yet an easy, enjoyable and informative read.

03 January 2018

Book Review - Airborne Espionage - David Oliver - 2005

The Book
Airborne Espionage: International Special Duties Operations in the World Wars; David Oliver; The History Press; Stroud, Gloucestershire; 2005.

I came across this book last year and it has been on my "to-read" list for quite a while. Unfortunately, after reading several sections via Google Books, I have decided to take a pass on purchasing this book.

The book tells the tale of "Special Duties" air units that transported agents across enemy lines, both Allied and German. The focus does seem to lean more towards the air units than the espionage agents. I dug out the pieces on Josef Jakobs and Karel Richter, as those are the ones with which I am most familiar. They are, unfortunately, rife with errors and old information. The book was published in 2005, several years after the declassified MI5 files were released to the National Archives. It would appear, however, that the author is relying on pre-declassification information, much of which is inaccurate.

The propagation of the inaccuracies is one thing, but there are also spelling and continuity errors that annoy the reader. Below is the section on Karel Richter, transcribed from Google Books.

While 'Z' Flight was starting its clandestine operations in the Mediterranean, other German agents were continuing to be parachuted into England. SS Oberst [not sure where the author got this information, I have never come across an references that indicated Karl was a Colonel in the S.S.] Karl Richard Richter [His name is Karel, not Karl.] was dropped by a Kommando Rowehl [this would have been the German Luftwaffe unit that dropped the spies. I have only ever heard of Karl Gartenfeld.] He 111 from Chartres [Richter was sent from Schipol aerodrome near Amsterdarm] on 14 May [he actually landed on May 12] and landed near Tyttenhangar Park in Hertfordshire [I have not come across any references that mention this name], close to Salisbury Hall at London Colney where the ultra-secret prototype DH Mosquito was being built. A local reserve constable found him in a telephone booth, after a lorry driver had reported that he had been stopped by a man who had asked him directions in a foreign accent [nope, the lorry driver asked for directions and got suspicious when he got only mumbles in response]. Constable Alex Scott was shown an Alien's Registration Card in the name of Fred Snyder [actually, Richter showed him both the Alien's Registration Card and his passport] and suggested that the man accompany him to the police station, as it was approaching 2300 hours, when all aliens were required to be at their registered addresses.

Twenty-nine year old Snyder was searched at the police station and found to be carrying a Swedish passport [no, it was always a Czech passport] in the name of Karl Richter. MI5 was alerted and the next day Richter was taken to Hatfield police station to be interviewed by several MI5 officers, including Col. Stephens [No, Stephens never came to Hatfield - that was Dixon and Robertson. Richter was taken to Camp 020 where he was questioned by Stephens]. He soon caved in [Both Stephens and Sampson note that Richter was one of the most obstinate agents to pass through their hands and was only broken with the assistance of Josef Jakobs. This took several days.], admitted his real name and offered to show them where he had hidden his parachute and other items. Accompanied by policemen and MI5 personnel, Richter took them to the hedge in Tyttenhangar Park [not in Tyttenhangar Park]. Apart from the parachute they found a loaded Mauser pistol [Browning pistol, not Mauser], a quantity of money, documents, a wireless transmitter, batteries [I believe he was to buy batteries in England] and some spare valves. Also a Czech passport [correct, but was this in addition to the Swedish passport mentioned above, or is this just a continuity error?] in the name of Karl Richter was discovered. His story was that he had been trying to make his way to the United States, but was captured in Sweden and deported to Germany, where he was recruited by the Abwehr and sent to England as a courier. The tall, thin, red-headed Richter was tried at the Old Bailey on 21 October 1941 and executed at Wandsworth Prison on 10 December, without ever having revealed the true nature of his mission. [He did reveal his mission - deliver money to TATE and check up on his integrity.]
The section on Josef Jakobs follows:
While dedicated air support for SOE was slowly expanding, the insertion of German agents into the British Isles had virtually ground to a halt. [There were a slew of them deposited in the UK in the Fall of 1940.] Since the outbreak of war, this had been the responsibility of the Aufklärungsgruppe der Oberbefehlshaber der Luftwaffe, a reconnaissance wing equipped with Dornier Do17s, Do 215s and He 111s. It was commanded by Oberstleutnant Theodor Rowehl, who was the Luftwaffe's equivalent of Sidney Cotton. His Gruppe which became known as the Kommando Rowehl, [again, I've only heard of the Gartenfeld group] dropped one of the few German agents into England in 1941, Josef Jakobs.

On the morning of 1 February two farm workers near Ramsey, in Huntingdonshire, heard a shot. [Several shots] They dropped to the ground. [They remained standing.] Earlier they had heard a low-flying aircraft [maybe during the night, although this is never mentioned in the files] and had recognised the distinctive desynchronized engine sounds peculiar to German twin-engine bombers. Another shot [several shots] rang out and a figure was spotted lying in a field nearby. As they approached, the man began to wave but remained lying down, obviously injured. When challenged he said he was a parachutist from Germany, had hurt his leg on landing and had fired his gun to attract help. Harry Coulson volunteered to stay with him [Charles Baldock stayed, Coulson went for help] while his friend went for help. The man told him that he was from Luxembourg and that under his Luftwaffe flying suit he was wearing civilian clothes, a smart suit of Continental cut, as was the felt hat which lay nearby. [It was on his head.] While  looking through the man's pockets [he did no such thing] Coulson found an identity card in the name of George Rymer [James Rymer] and an unused ration book; both proved to be forged. [These were only found when the Home Guard officers arrived and Josef was searched under their supervision.]

Coulson soon led a policeman and a member of the Home Guard to the field [Not sure how he could have done this since, according to the author, he had stayed with Josef. No mention of Harry Godfrey. A policeman did not accompany the Home Guard officers.] and the German was taken to the police station on a farm cart, along with his suitcase containing a wireless transmitter and batteries. At Ramsey police station the German was thoroughly searched; £500 in sterling banknotes was discovered, along with other items that indicated he was certainly not a refugee. He was taken to MI5s Camp 020 [actually Cannon Row Police Station, then Brixton Prison Infirmary, then an afternoon at Camp 020, then several weeks at Dulwich Hospital, then Camp 020 for a few hours, then Brixton Prison Infirmary, then Camp 020 for several months], where he told Col Stephens that his name was Josef Jakobs [he told this to the Ramsey police too], born in Luxembourg on 30 June 1898 and, although well over service age, he had been called up by the Wehrmacht as he had been on the reserve lists. In September 1940 he was transferred to the Abwehr for training in receiving and sending Morse code. Moved to Holland early the following year, Jakobs awaited news of a mission. He told his interrogators that all he had wanted to do was to get to England and contact the Jews, so as to organise a resistance movement against the Nazis. [He told them a number of stories at various points. This was not his initial story in early February.]

He was committed for trial as a spy, but as a member of the German Army he was entitled to a military hearing [court martial], which took place the Duke of York's Headquarters in Chelsea. The hearing [court martial] lasted two days; Jakobs was found guilty of espionage and sentenced to death. In his defence he mentioned that a Dr. Burgos had suggested he join the Abwehr as an agent for a secret Jewish society, but had not given him any further details. As his story could not be substantiated, the verdict stood. Josef Jakobs was taken to the Tower of London, where he was incarcerated in a cell at Waterloo Barracks [No, he was held at Wandsworth Prison until the morning of his execution.] while his appeal was heard by HM King George VI. It was unsuccessful, and on 14 August, [15 August] Jakobs was taken out to the small courtyard [rifle range] and seated in a chair, blindfolded, to face a firing squad. He was the only spy to be executed at the Tower during the Second World War.

I haven't read this entire book. I did have a glance at some of the other spy cases - Wulf Schmidt, Gosta Caroli and Hans Reysen. They are similarly a mixture of fact and inaccuracies. The author seems to have focused more on the airborne aspects of World War 2, and he apparently relied on second-hand sources rather than checking the declassified MI5 files.

I cannot speak to the accuracy of the airborne sections other than to note that I have never heard of Kommando Rowehl in connection with the insertion of spies into England, only of Karl Gartenfeld. I searched for information on Kommando Rowehl and the German Wikipedia would seem to indicate that Rowehl primarily flew aerial reconnaissance (aerial photography) missions against the Soviet Union between 1939 and June 1941. A forum on AxisHistory notes that Rowehl also flew reconnaissance over Bulgaria, Egypt, Syria, the Caucasus and possibly high-altitude missions over Britain in July 1940. The forum contributers reference another book - KG200 - The Luftwaffe's Most Secret Unit by  Barry Ketley and Geoffrey J. Thomas - which looks interesting. A HistoryNet post also speaks of KG 200 and does note that Gartenfeld's unit was, up until 1942, part of Kommando Rowehl.Given a choice, I rather think I would read the KG 200 book than Airborne Espionage.

27 December 2017

Books I'll be Reading to Ring in 2018

As 2017 wraps up, there are a few books that I've ordered/pre-ordered and hope to read in the next month or so. While they are all only tangentially related to the Josef Jakobs story, I've long since discovered that tangential stories are often a great source of information!

Cargo of Lies - Dean Beeby - 1996
Cargo of Lies - Dean Beeby - 1996
Cargo of Lies - Dean Beeby - 1996
I came across this book and, while the cover looks a bit hokey, the book would seem to touch on a great topic. Did Germany send any spies over to Canada during World War 2? Who trained them? Was it our friends at the Hamburg Abwehr Stelle? How did the spies make out? Were they captured shortly after landing, as was the case in England? The write-up on Amazon indicates that there was at least one German agent who made it onto the shores of Canada, but who was captured shortly after landing. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police convinced the agent to become a double agent but... it would seem that the agent may have played them and become a triple agent! Intriguing!!

An Amazon reviewer noted that the book is:
"A classic espionage story that is well-told and interesting. It's a story set in Canada but it's interesting to anyone who enjoys reading about spies or the Second World War. Beeby has found the mystery in this previously poorly-told story and leaves readers wondering if the spy completed his mission after all."
Sound interesting and I've ordered it through the local library which actually has a copy! Helps that it's a Canadian story told by a Canadian author.

The M Room - Helen Fry - 2015
The M Room - Helen Fry - 2015
The M Room - Helen Fry - 2015
This book looks intriguing. It tells the story of German-speaking refugees who were recruited as translators to secretly monitor the conversations of German prisoners-of-wars.... and captive spies.

Camp 020, MI5's secret interrogation centre at Ham Common used microphones extensively when they placed people like Josef Jakobs and Karel Richter together in a room.

The book has fairly good reviews on Amazon and while it looks like it focuses on the Trent Park Interrogation Centre (North London), I'm thinking it might have links to Camp 020. It is also interesting to learn that thousands of transcripts from Trent Park were declassified in 2004. Makes me wonder if the Camp 020 transcripts are still hiding in a classified archive somewhere in England.

The London Cage - Helen Fry - 2017
The London Cage - Helen Fry - 2017
The London Cage - Helen Fry - 2017
This is not the book of the same basic title that was written by Col. A.P. Scotland, former commandant of The London Cage, a secret interrogation centre during World War 2. This is a brand new book written by author and historian Helen Fry. While it's quite clear that "physical" interrogation techniques were used at the London Cage, the British government has tried to downplay the severity of those techniques (i.e. not torture). According to Amazon...
"Helen Fry's extraordinary original research uncovers the grim picture of prisoners' daily lives and of systemic Soviet-style mistreatment. The author also provides sensational evidence to counter official denials concerning the use of "truth drugs" and "enhanced interrogation" techniques. Bringing dark secrets to light, this groundbreaking book at last provides an objective and complete history of the London Cage."
It has good reviews on Amazon and I've ordered a copy which I hope will arrive before the end of the year.

Double Agent CELERY - Carolinda Witt - 2017
Double Agent Celery - Carolinda Witt - 2017
Double Agent Celery - Carolinda Witt - 2017
While this book has been released in Australia, the UK and the USA... it's release date in Canada is only January 19. I've pre-ordered a copy and will have to be patient.

The author is Walter Dickett's (Double Agent CELERY) granddaughter which makes this book different from so many others written by researchers unrelated to their subject matter. CELERY was involved with Double Agent SNOW and while several books have been written about SNOW, none have touched on the CELERY story. So it's nice that some of these lesser-known characters of history are being brought into the spotlight.

It's received several good reviews on Amazon:
"This is a truly extraordinary tale. A fascinating insight into the world of double agents and the crucial role Agent Celery played in altering the course of World War II. At the same time it records a deeply personal quest by the author to unravel a complex family mystery that had haunted her family for generations."
 And so... we wait... I'll be posting book reviews in the new year.

22 December 2017

Clara Bauerle Declassified

It would seem that Clara Bauerle will forever be linked with the mysterious Bella in the Wych Elm story. There is a lot if interest in the Bella story, and Clara's name always seems to swirl into the space as a viable identity for the woman found stuffed in a Wych Elm in Worcestershire in 1943. For those who are coming late to the story, I have a blog page on this site that outlines the story of Clara and lists all of the blog posts that I have written which touch upon her story and Bella in the Wych Elm.

Given that Clara Bauerle was rather closely connected with Josef Jakobs, I have written several blog posts in which I seek to present the facts around Clara Bauerle. At least as much as can be discovered from fragmentary historical sources. I have, for a while now, been meaning to do a blog post that outlines the references to Clara contained within the MI5 interrogation records of Josef Jakobs and his fellow spy, Karel Richter.

Richter was a Czech citizen (an ethnic German born and raised in the Sudeten area of Czechoslovakia) who, upon the assimilation of the Sudetenland by the Germans in 1938 became an unwilling "citizen" of Germany. Richter and Josef had several encounters in Hamburg and The Hague in late 1940 and early 1941 while they were being trained as espionage agents. It was during these encounters that Karel met Josef's mistress, the German cabaret singer, Clara Bauerle. Karel was dismissive of Josef and his lady friend. He rather thought that Josef was more interested in affairs with women than in becoming a spy. His assessment of Clara was that she was a rather large, not-good-looking woman.

It has taken a while to pull the various Clara-related pieces together from the different MI5 folios on Josef Jakobs and Karel Richter. They are presented below as cropped images (with document references as captions) followed by a transcription of the image. I've presented them in chronological order as much as possible. One of the Special Branch reports may appear out of place as it was written in mid-April but it only landed in MI5s hands on May 1. I've tried to preserve the sequence as it would have appeared to the officers of MI5.

Readers of this blog will know my take on the theory that Clara Bauerle ended up as Bella in the Wych Elm (extremely unlikely). There is a lot of inaccurate material swirling around on the Web and this particular blog post seeks to provide some factual material and original source documentation by making it accessible for those who aren't familiar with the MI5 files.

On a closing note, I am still awaiting the arrival of the HD Paranormal dvd (ordered in August 2017 and resent in November 2017) which tells the story of Bella. The film apparently accessed declassified MI5 files but no mention is made of which files. It would appear that artists (writers, filmmakers, etc.) like to keep their cards/sources close to their chest. I tend to land more in the scientist camp... share the facts that support your theory and let others come to their own conclusions and/or contribute to the conversation. Enjoy.


February 1, 1941
Postcard found in the possession of Josef Jakobs

February 1, 2017 - KV 2/24 - Postcard of Clara Bauerle - front
February 1, 2017 - KV 2/24 - Postcard of Clara Bauerle - front

February 1, 2017 - KV 2/24 - Postcard of Clara Bauerle -back
February 1, 2017 - KV 2/24 - Postcard of Clara Bauerle -back
My dear -
I love you
for ever
Landau, July

February 2, 1941
Initial Interrogation Report of Josef Jakobs regarding "Clara"
February 2, 1941 - KV 2/24 - 9a - Initial Interrogation of Josef Jakobs regarding "Clara" conducted by Major Stephens, Lt. Sampson & Lt. Meurig-Evans.
February 2, 1941 - KV 2/24 - 9a - Initial Interrogation of Josef Jakobs regarding "Clara"
conducted by Major Stephens, Lt. Sampson & Lt. Meurig-Evans.
c) The identity of the woman whose photograph was found in his belongings with a love message on the back, signed CLARA, Landau, July 1940. The woman's name was BAUERLE of Ulm, Austria [sic], attached to Bernard Itay's [sic] dance band. She is a singer by profession of German nationality and JAKOBS' mistress. She had never been in England.

February 2, 1941
Verbatim transcript of Josef Jakobs regarding Clara Bauerle
This is a 1.5 page verbatim report during which Josef admits her name, that she studied English with him, that she was a member of the Bernard Ette Orchestra and that she lived in Berlin. I have not included the images as they are rather long and do not add much that is not already included in the Interrogation Summary above. One and a half pages of interrogation transcript is essentially distilled into one paragraph!
(February 2, 1941 - KV 2/25 -21a - Verbatim transcript of Josef Jakobs being interrogated by Major Stephens)

February 12, 1941
SIS report to MI5 re: postcard of Clara Bauerle
February 12, 1941 - KV 2/24 - 25a - S.I.S. report to MI5 re: postcard of Clara Bauerle.
February 12, 1941 - KV 2/24 - 25a - S.I.S. report to MI5 re: postcard of Clara Bauerle.
My dear White,

Reference your PF 55039/B.2. [Josef Jakobs] of 10.2.41. I return herewith the photograph of Clara BAUERLE. We have no trace of this woman, although there is a record of a certain C. BAUERLE who has been reported as a Nazi in Denya [sp? Kenya?]. But there appears to be no other connection.

There can be little doubt that the photograph was taken and printed in Germany. It is typical of hundreds one can buy in any shop in Germany. The space for the address on the back shows a thicker underlining, under the penultimate line, a usual thing in continental countries. The writing is is [sic] obviously that of a German. I have consulted our expert on Germany, who considers the address to be Landau. He also informs me that the Bernhard ETTE Orchestra is a very big and well-known one. Bernhard ETTE lives at Aschaffenberger Strasse 9, Berlin.

No one in this office recognizes this photograph. It is suggested, however, that you may care to make enquiries of the following persons connected with theatrical ventures:
1. Henry SHEREK, who controls a large number of foreign artists.
2. Harry FOSTER, a theatrical agent, Piccadilly House.
3. PAULSEN, Manager of the Cafe de Paris.
4. Herbert de LEON, 91 Shaftesbury Avenue.

You will be in a better position than I to judge how trustworthy some of these people are, and it is quite possible that some of them will have PF's in your office.

Yours sincerely,
For J.F.C. (Felix Cowgill)

February 12, 1941
MI5 Request for Home Office look-up on Clara Bauerle
February 12, 1941 - KV 2/24 - 26k - MI5 request for Home Office lookup of Clara Bauerle.
February 12, 1941 - KV 2/24 - 26k - MI5 request for Home Office lookup of Clara Bauerle.
Request for Information from Home Office Records
Age - between 20 and 30
Other particulars: May now be in this country.

February 14, 1941
Result of Home Office Lookup on Clara Bauerle
February 14, 1941 - KV 2/24 - 26k - MI5 request for Home Office lookup of Clara Bauerle.
February 14, 1941 - KV 2/24 - 26k - MI5 request for Home Office lookup of Clara Bauerle.
Results of Home Office look-up
No trace in Traffic Index, Central Aliens Register card or Home Office file.

February 26, 1941
MI5 request to Special Branch re: Clara Bauerle
February 26, 1941 - KV 2/24 - 40a - MI5 to Special Branch re: Clara Bauerle
February 26, 1941 - KV 2/24 - 40a - MI5 to Special Branch re: Clara Bauerle
I attach a photograph of a German cabaret singer whose name has been given to us as Clara BAEURLE or BAEURLEIN. There is no trace in the Traffic Index of a visit to this country by this woman, but we have reason to believe that she may, in fact, have been here.

I imagine that there may be some of your officers who have reliable contacts in the theatrical world through whom some enquiries could be made. If so, I should be grateful for your assistance in the matter.

April 25, 1941
Interrogation of Josef Jakobs regarding Clara Bauerle
April 25, 1941 - KV 2/25 - 68a - MI5 Interrogation summary of Josef Jakobs by Lt. Sampson.
April 25, 1941 - KV 2/25 - 68a - MI5 Interrogation summary of Josef Jakobs by Lt. Sampson.
JAKOBS began to take lessons in English at the Berlitz School in Hamburg in November/December. He had taken the lessons together with CLARA BAUERLE. She was in Hamburg for the whole of October and then went on tour for a short time and returned to Hamburg at the end of November. When JAKOBS left Hamburg, she was still there. Just before leaving Holland on the 21st January by aeroplane, he received a letter stating that she was very ill and had been sent to hospital. As far as he knew, she might be dead now. She was 33 years of age. When she came to Hamburg for the first time in October, she had had a private apartment in the Hansaplatz. He could not remember the number, but inadvertently mentioned the number 10, although he corrected himself afterwards. he believed that a lot of artists lived in this house in Hansaplatz. When she returned at the end of November, she lived with him at the Hotel Sorgenfrei. JAKOBS met her for the first time in October in the Cafe Dreyer where the "Ette" Band was playing. He was asked why she should write on a postcard to him, "Landau, July, 1940", if he only met her in October. He could not understand this, but she had been a very capricious woman and had given him picture postcards of herself with various dates. She knew JAKOBS' wife and knew about his work for the German Intelligence Service. She was anti-Nazi, but did not belong to his society. She did not travel with him when he went to Berlin for the weekend.

April 29, 1941
Interrogation of Josef Jakobs regarding Clara
April 29, 1941 - KV 2/25 - 69b - MI5 Interrogation Report of Josef Jakobs by Lt. Sampson.
April 29, 1941 - KV 2/25 - 69b - MI5 Interrogation Report of Josef Jakobs by Lt. Sampson.
April 29, 1941 - KV 2/25 - 69b - MI5 Interrogation Report of Josef Jakobs by Lt. Sampson.
April 29, 1941 - KV 2/25 - 69b - MI5 Interrogation Report of Josef Jakobs by Lt. Sampson.
Regarding Clara BAUERLE, JAKOBS said that this woman had been the mistress of the Medical Officer of a U-Boat flotilla at Kiel. JAKOBS had introduced her to Dr. BEYER, who had arranged for her to get an engagement entertaining the troops; for her work with the Ette Orchestra at the Cafe Dreyer, BAUERLE received about 400 R.M. and she naturally preferred the engagement with Dr. BEYER, as she earned more and was independent.

JAKOBS did not know what had happened to her, and although he knew that the Orchestra was in Hamburg in March, 1941, he did not know whether she was appearing with the Orchestra. He did know that in December she had left Hamburg.

As BAUERLE knew many Officers and was not a Nazi, she had unwittingly given him information useful to his anti-Nazi organisation. She knew of his connection with the German Intelligence Service.

April 17, 1941
Special Branch to MI5 re: Clara Bauerle & Klara Sophie Bauerle
April 17, 1941 (received by MI5 on May 1, 1941) - KV 2/25 - 75a - Special Branch report on Clara Bauerle and Klara Sophie Bauerle by Sgt. W. Allchin.
April 17, 1941 (received by MI5 on May 1, 1941) - KV 2/25 - 75a - Special Branch report on Clara Bauerle and Klara Sophie Bauerle by Sgt. W. Allchin.
With reference to M.I.5. letter PF 55039/B.2. dated 26.2.41, requesting the enquiries be made to trace the whereabouts of Clara Baeurle or Baeurlein, (copy photograph enclosed), a German cabaret singer, believed to have visited this country, but of whom there was no trace in Traffic Index:--

The spelling of the German names given above is rather unusual, and is more likely to be Bauerle or Bauerlein. However, I have made exhaustive enquiries to ascertain whether she has ever visited this country, but without result. A further search in Home Office records revealed that one Klara Sofie Bauerle, a German, born 29.6.06, registration certificate No. 453027, arrived in the U.K. on 20.10.30, and left Warwickshire for Germany, date unknown; (Central Register of Aliens notified of departure on 21.6.32). The Central Register slip is attached herewith. No request for enquiries to identify this woman has been made to the Warwickshire Constabulary.

I communicated with the secretary of D.G. White Esq., and learned that the original of the photograph was taken from a German parachutist captured in this country. When subsequently interrogated and asked who the woman in the photograph was he gave a name which was taken down phonetically as Baeurle or Baeurlein.

My suggestion that the matter be referred back to M.I.5. pending a further interrogation of the prisoner - he is at present in hospital - was agreed to, and should an alternative spelling be obtained further enquiries will be made by me.

May 2, 1941
Special Branch report on Clara Bauerle & Klara Sophie Bauerle sent to Camp 020
May 2, 1941 - KV 2/25 - 75a - MI5 to Camp 020 re: Special Branch report.
May 2, 1941 - KV 2/25 - 75a - MI5 to Camp 020 re: Special Branch report.
I have now received a reply from Special Branch in connection with our enquiry about CLARA BAEURLE [sic].

The material part of the Police Report is as follows: -

"A further search in Home Office records revealed that one KLARA SOPHIE BAUERLE,  German, born on 29.6.06, registration certificate No. 453027, arrived in the U.K. on 20.10.30, and left Warwickshire for Germany, date unknown; (Central Register of Aliens was notified of departure on 21.6.32). The Central Register slip is attached herewith. No request for enquiries to identify this woman has been made to the Warwickshire Constabulary."

I am calling for the Home Office Records relating to this woman and will let you know in due course whether anything further emerges about her.

May 2, 1941
MI5 to SIS re: Clara Bauerle & Klara Sofie Bauerle
May 2, 1941 - KV 2/25 - 74a - MI5 to SIS re: Clara Bauerle & Klara Sofie Bauerle
May 2, 1941 - KV 2/25 - 74a - MI5 to SIS re: Clara Bauerle & Klara Sofie Bauerle
Herewith a B.L. Report [Camp 020] dated 30th April relating to JAKOBS. You will no doubt let us know whether you have any light to throw on the identity of RICHTER.

With regard to CLARA BAUERLE, Home Office Records show that one KLARA SOPHIE BAUERLE, a German born on the 29.6.06, arrived in the United Kingdom on the 20th October 1930 and apparently left Warwickshire for Germany at some date which is unknown, though Central Register of Aliens appear to have been notified of her departure on the 21.6.32.

May 4, 1941
MI5 to Special Branch re: correct spelling of Bauerle
May 4, 1941 - KV 2/25 - 76a - MI5 to Special Branch re: correct spelling of Bauerle.
May 4, 1941 - KV 2/25 - 76a - MI5 to Special Branch re: correct spelling of Bauerle.
I thank you for your minute 405/41/960 of the 1st May, and regret that you should have been put to the trouble of sending an extra copy owing to a delay at this office which resulted in our correspondence over-lapping.

I have now ascertained that the correct spelling of the woman's name is BAUERLE, and in the circumstances I would be most grateful if you would pursue your enquiries as suggested in the final paragraph of your report.

May 15, 1941
Special Branch to MI5 re: no hits on Bauerle
May 15, 1941 - KV 2/25 - 81a - Special Branch Report to MI5 re: no hits on Clara Bauerle.
May 15, 1941 - KV 2/25 - 81a - Special Branch Report to MI5 re: no hits on Clara Bauerle.
With reference to M.I.5 letter PF. 55039/B.2.c. of 4.5.41, regarding Clara BAUERLE, a German cabaret singer, who may have visited this country:-

Exhaustive enquiries have been made among contacts in the theatrical world and elsewhere, but nothing has come to light to suggest that this woman has visited London.

May 15, 1941
Various Interrogation Reports of Karel Richter
re: Clara Bauerle
May 15, 1941 - KV 2/30 - 4a - Interrogation of Karel Richter by Major Stephens, Lt. Sampson & Lt. Short.
May 15, 1941 - KV 2/30 - 4a - Interrogation of Karel Richter by Major Stephens, Lt. Sampson & Lt. Short.
Richter said he had met JAKOBS afterwards in the Cafe Dreyer and had on this occasion seen CLARA who was in the company of JAKOBS.

He had seen CLARA later in the street, but had not spoken to her on either occasion. He had also seen JAKOBS again in the cafe.

May 16, 1941 - KV 2/30 - 4a - Summary of Karel Richter statement.
May 16, 1941 - KV 2/30 - 4a - Summary of Karel Richter statement.
4. I saw JAKOBS twice in Hamburg. Once with Dr. SCHOLZ. Once he was alone or with a lady, with whom I did not speak. It was at the beginning of November.

Then I saw JAKOBS twice in The Hague, Holland. Once in Cafe Picadilly [sic], once in Cafe Central, end of January.

I saw CLARA twice, once in Cafe Dreyer with JACOBS [sic]. I did not speak to her.

JAKOBS told me that she was a singer with the Kapelle Ette. She was noticeable on account of her height; a second time I saw her with JAKOBS passing in the street.

May 16, 1941 - KV 2/30 - 4a - Summary of Karel Richter statement.
May 16, 1941 - KV 2/30 - 4a - Summary of Karel Richter statement.
In the meantime I had again met JAKOBS twice, once in the Cafe Dreyer where he had a lady with him. He told me that she was a singer with the Ette Orchestra. I have never spoken to her, but when I saw her a second time in the street with JAKOBS I recognized her on account of her tallness.

JAKOBS told me that if I wanted to hear the Ette Orchestra I would have to come to Berlin. He also mentioned the name of a Cafe in, I think Schoneberg. He intended going here on the following Saturday, and said that if I liked we could meet in Berlin in this Cafe.

May 19, 1941
Interrogation report of Karel Richter re: Clara Bauerle
May 19, 1941 - KV 2/30 - 15a - Interrogation of Karel Richter by Lt. Short re: Clara Bauerle.
May 19, 1941 - KV 2/30 - 15a - Interrogation of Karel Richter by Lt. Short re: Clara Bauerle.
He [Karel Richter] went on several trips to places such as SCHEVINGEN and THE HAGUE on amusement, and it was while in THE HAGUE that he met JAKOBS. The latter never mentioned to him his illegal smuggling activities on behalf of Jewish refugees, and in fact appeared to be mainly interested in his affairs with women. KLARA BEURLE is described as a large, not very good-looking woman by RICHTER, who still insists that it was in November and not in October that he met JAKOBS.

May 20, 1941
Interrogation Report of Josef Jakobs re: Clara Bauerle

May 20, 1941 - KV 2/30 - 19b - Interrogation report of Josef Jakobs by Lt. Short & Lt. Winn. A copy of this report is NOT found in Josef's KV files, but only in Karel Richter's file.
May 20, 1941 - KV 2/30 - 19b - Interrogation report of Josef Jakobs by Lt. Short & Lt. Winn.
A copy of this report is NOT found in Josef's KV files, but only in Karel Richter's file.
At this time JAKOBS was still living at the Reichshof Hotel where he remained until October 26th, when he removed to the Sorgenfrei at the request of Clara BAUERLE. Clara BAUERLE was not, at the time, living at the Sorgenfrei but at another boarding house. Several of her friends from the ETTE orchestra lived at the Sorgenfrei, so that this place was suitable for the meetings between JAKOBS and his mistress. On October 31st in the evening Clara BAUERLE left Hamburg with the ETTE orchestra for a tour which included Leipzig, Dresden, Forst, East Prussia and Berlin. JAKOBS telephoned to Clara at Forst on November 7th to arrange a meeting in Berlin. She was with the Orchestra at Schöneberg, Berlin on the 18th, 19th and 20th November, and at the Neue Welt, Hasenheide, Berlin, on November 23rd and 24th. She returned to Hamburg on November 25th and lived with JAKOBS at the Sorgenfrei.

JAKOBS was asked whether it was not possible that RICHTER had seen Clara for the first time after November 25th when she came back to Hamburg. JAKOBS was quite positive that he had seen RICHTER twice at the Cafe Dreier [sic] after their first meeting on October 22nd, before the end of the month, and that RICHTER had on these occasions heard Clara sing in the ETTE Orchestra.

May 20, 1941 - KV 2/30 - 19b - Interrogation report of Josef Jakobs by Lt. Short & Lt. Winn. A copy of this report is NOT found in Josef's KV files, but only in Karel Richter's file.
May 20, 1941 - KV 2/30 - 19b - Interrogation report of Josef Jakobs by Lt. Short & Lt. Winn.
A copy of this report is NOT found in Josef's KV files, but only in Karel Richter's file.
Finally, JAKOBS was questioned about the Klara Sofie BAUERLE who is recorded as having arrived in the United Kingdom on October 20th, 1930. He said the name of the woman he knew was always spelt with a "C" and that as far as he knew she had no second name. He was not certain when her birthday was, but that it might be July. It might, however, have been in June. The woman he knew was 35 years old last summer, and would, therefore, have been born in the year 1905. He was quite certain she had never been in England.

May 20, 1941
MI5 request for Home Office lookup of Klara Sofie Bauerle
May 20, 1941 - KV 2/25 - 83b - MI5 request for Home Office Records lookup of Klara Sofie Bauerle.
May 20, 1941 - KV 2/25 - 83b - MI5 request for Home Office Records lookup of Klara Sofie Bauerle.
Request for Information from Home Office Records
BAUERLE, Klara Sofie - German - born 29.6.06
Home Office records have already revealed that Klara Sofie BAUERLE registration certificate No. 453027, arrived in the U.K. on 20.10.30 and left Warwickshire for Germany, date unknown; (Central Register of Aliens was notified of departure on 21.6.32) but we are anxious to have any further details that may be procurable.

May 22, 1941
Home Office results for lookup of Klara Sofie Bauerle

May 22, 1941 - KV 2/25 - 83b - Home Office result of lookup on Klara Sofie Bauerle.
May 22, 1941 - KV 2/25 - 83b - Home Office result of lookup on Klara Sofie Bauerle.
There has been no further movement by this woman since this C.A.R. [indecipherable] and as she had no File I'm afraid we cannot give you any more information. I have copied the C.A.R. again and given the date she left U.K.
May 22, 1941 - KV 2/25 - 83b - Home Office result of lookup on Klara Sofie Bauerle.
May 22, 1941 - KV 2/25 - 83b - Home Office result of lookup on Klara Sofie Bauerle.
Copy of Card in Traffic Index (blank)

May 22, 1941 - KV 2/25 - 83b - Home Office result of lookup on Klara Sofie Bauerle.
May 22, 1941 - KV 2/25 - 83b - Home Office result of lookup on Klara Sofie Bauerle.
Copy of Alien's Registration Card
BAUERLE, Klara Sophie
Born 29.6.06 in Stuttgart
Arrived U.K. 20/10/20 Left U.K. 22/1/32 Re-entered U.K. 22/2/32
Last Registration District - Warwickshire
R.C. No. 453027
Remarks: To Germany 21/6/32

June 25, 1941
Summary Report on Josef Jakobs re: Clara Bauerle
June 25, 1941 - KV 2/25 - 96a - Summary Report on Josef Jakobs written by Lt. Sampson.
June 25, 1941 - KV 2/25 - 96a - Summary Report on Josef Jakobs written by Lt. Sampson.
While in Hamburg in October, 1940, JAKOBS met Clara BAUERLE, a singer in the Ette Orchestra, which was performing at the time in the Cafe Dreyer. During November the orchestra was touring other parts of Germany, but returned to Hamburg at the end of that month and Clara BAUERLE then went to live with JAKOBS at the Hotel Sorgenfrei. JAKOBS states that she had previously been the mistress of the medical officer of a U-Boat flotilla at Kiel. She knew many officers and was not a Nazi, and had unwittingly given him information useful to his anti-Nazi organization.

She knew of JAKOBS' connection with the Intelligence Service, and he had in fact introduced her to Dr. BEYER who had arranged for her to get an engagement entertaining the troops. Among JAKOBS' possessions was a picture postcard of Clara BAUERLE with an affectionate message in English, dated Landau, July, 1940 and signed Clara. He said the message was in English because they had taken English lessons together at the Berlitz School in Hamburg. he could not explain why the card was dated July, 1940 while he first met her in October, 1940, except that she was a very capricious woman who distributed photographs of herself generously. JAKOBS was introduced in October by a girl-friend of Clara to a man called von ROEDERN, who organized Fifth Column activity outside Germany. JAKOBS was on this occasion introduced as a member of the Intelligence Service. If JAKOBS' statements are true, it is curious that he was known to belong to the Intelligence Service not only to Clara Bauerle, but also to her girl-friends and presumably therefore to a large number of other people.

July 1, 1941
Verbatim Transcript between Richter & Josef re: Clara
July 1, 1941 - KV 2/26 - 101x - Taped conversation between Richter & Jakobs re: Clara Bauerle.
July 1, 1941 - KV 2/26 - 101x - Taped conversation between Richter & Jakobs re: Clara Bauerle.
J. Now I will tell you something. They told me all they could during January. That means I didn't swallow it whole, but can you understand how they send these people over - under what pretext? So they would be here by June.... in the middle of July, what they now....... the journalists. A message was received in The Hague from Hamburg that KLARCHEN was coming, was coming too, KLARA KLARA, who -

R. They know that already, they know all about that.

J. And then the Major said to me: "Now you work hard, because KLARA is coming soon and I have heard that you will have an important job of work to do together" and he said that I knew that the war would never be finished by June or August, for if they are now depending upon my working with.... [the following is completely inaudible, due to extraneous noises, and the suggestion concluding the previous report can only be endorsed.]

July 9, 1941
Camp 020 Report re: Clara Bauerle as possible Abwehr spy
July 9, 1941 - KV 2/26 - 101x - Camp 020 to MI5 re: Clara as a possible Abwehr Spy.
July 9, 1941 - KV 2/26 - 101x - Camp 020 to MI5 re: Clara as a possible Abwehr Spy.
I am writing to you personally as the subject is a secret intercept between JAKOBS and RICHTER of 1.7.41.

The relevant extract in German, together with a translation, is attached and I think you will agree it justifies the inclusion of KLARCHEN in our list of prospective enemy agents to this country. I asked Captain Sampson to proceed further with the case and the summary of his interrogation of 8.7.41. is, I submit, decidedly informative.

July 8, 1941
Camp 020 Report on Clara Bauerle as potential Spy
July 8, 1941 - KV 2/26 - 101 - Summary Report on Josef Jakobs by Lt. Sampson on Clara Bauerle.
July 8, 1941 - KV 2/26 - 101 - Summary Report on Josef Jakobs by Lt. Sampson on Clara Bauerle.
If JAKOBS had worked for the Nachrichtendienst [Abwehr or German Intelligence Service] after arriving in England, CLARA would have come over to help him in his work. She was being trained in Hamburg in wireless. He thought that the instructor was BIERMANN, but was not certain. On two occasions when the instructors had been ill, he had been replaced by PETERSEN, who gave KLARA two lessons in the Hotel Sorgenfrei. He said that CLARA got on very well with the German officers and had obtained information from them which they were not entitled to give. On one occasion, she had been admitted to a Stuke plane and as she had considerable technical knowledge, she was able to describe the apparatus in detail several months later. In the last letter which JAKOBS received from her before she left, she had said that she would come over if she got news of him. He was sure that as no news of him had been received,CLARA would not come to this country.

Description of CLARA BAUERLE
Age: 36 in June (1941)
Height: About the same as JAKOBS, i.e. 6'
Hair: Dark blond.
Eyes: Brown
Complexion: Fair
Nose: Wide
Voice: Deep. She is a contralto singer.

July 10, 1941
Interrogation report of Josef Jakobs re: Clara Bauerle
July 10, 1941 - KV 2/26 - 101a - MI5 interrogation report of Josef Jakobs by Lt. Sampson re: Clara.
July 10, 1941 - KV 2/26 - 101a - MI5 interrogation report of Josef Jakobs by Lt. Sampson re: Clara.
When CLARA went with SINCLAIR to the Air Defense Base in Hamburg, he thought that he had been with them.

CLARA was one of the main witnesses in his defence when he had been denounced by van HEES. She had said that although JAKOBS was not a Nazi, he was quite reliable and she was quite prepared to work with him in England.

National Archives - MI5 files on Josef Jakobs - KV 2/24, 2/25, 2/26 and 2/27
National Archives - one of the MI5 file on Karel Richter - KV 2/30