Showing posts from January, 2014

Clara Bauerle & Josef Jakobs

When Josef Jakobs landed at Dovehouse Farm near Ramsey on the night of 31 January, 1941, he had a picture postcard in his possession. The photograph was of a woman with an inscription on the back which read: My dear _  _      I love you      For ever      Your      Clara      Landau, July 1940

At first, there was some confusion as to the location of the photograph, which looked a bit like London. Further research by MI5 and consultation with an expert in German affairs determined that the handwriting was German and that the location was Landau (a city in southwestern Germany) and not London.
Josef Jakobs & Clara Bauerle
When questioned about the woman in the photograph, Josef told a story that changed a bit over time. Josef arrived in Hamburg on September 22 and stayed at the Reichshof Hotel. He often visited the Cafe Dreyer and enjoyed the music of the Bernhard Etté Orchestra and one of their lead singers, Clara Bauerle. Josef and Clara became quite friendly and on October 26, at her req…

Governor of Wandsworth Prison - Major Benjamin Dixon Grew

Benjamin Dixon Grew was born on 25 June, 1892, in Shoreditch, London. His parents were card maker Benjamin Grew and Minnie Jane Moore who were married in 1886. Benjamin had several older and younger siblings but, in 1904, the large brood of children lost their mother when Minnie Jane passed away.

Military Service
Benjamin joined the Scots Guards as soon as he was of age and by 1911 (age 18) had risen to the rank of Lance Corporal while stationed at Chelsea Barracks in Pimlico, London. On August 12, 1914, after the start of World War I, Corporal Benjamin Grew disembarked in Europe with the 1st Battalion of the Scots Guards.

Benjamin fought in many of the major battles of World War I including Mons, Ypres and the Sommes. He ended up a Lieutenant with the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers. After he was wounded at the Sommes and recovered, Benjamin was seconded to the Egyptian Army and served in Sudan. After the war, Benjamin stayed in the Middle East serving first as Deputy Military Gover…

National Registration Identity Card carried by Josef Jakobs

On September 3, 1939, England declared war against Germany. On September 5 of that same year the English Parliament, with Royal Assent, passed a National Registration system. With war declared, evacuations looming, and the last census eight years old, the government wanted to know who lived in England and how to keep track of them. On the evening of September 29, 1939, a national registration took place of all people in the United Kingdom. The National Registration system was instituted by Sir Sylvanus Vivian, the Registrar General from 1921 to 1945.
The National Identity Cards that were issued as a result of the registration were also coupled with ration books which were introduced in late 1939 or early 1940. In order to receive rationed goods, everyone needed a ration book and a National Identity Card. People also needed to carry the cards at all times.
The identity card was not a complicated document. Today, we would laugh at that sort of document being used for identification pur…

Website Review - Upwood & The Raveleys History Pages - Josef Jakobs

Since Josef Jakobs landed near the village of Ramsey, Huntingdonshire, his story is often mentioned in histories of the area.

One such website is Upwood & The Raveleys History Pages which have a small section on Josef. This site also pulled a picture of Josef from his virtual grave on the Find A Grave website.

This particular site has a few of the more common errors concerning the story around Josef, namely that he was spotted landing by the Home Guard and that he was transferred from Ramsey Police Station to the Tower of London. In actual fact, Josef descended on the night of January 31 and was found by some farmers the following morning. From Ramsey Police Station he was transferred to Cannon Row Police Station followed by: Brixton Prixon Hospital Ward, Latchmere House, Dulwich Hospital, Latchmere House, Brixton Prison Hospital Ward, Latchmere House, Wandsworth Prison and finally the Tower of London on 15 August, 1941.

3/5 - some inaccuracies could be corrected

Incarcerated in Wandsworth Prison - July 23 to August 15, 1941

History of Wandsworth Prison
Wandsworth Prison opened its doors in 1851 as The Surrey House of Correction. It was constructed using a modified "Panopticon" design with a central hub from which four wings radiated. Initially 700 prisoners were housed at Wandsworth each in an individual cell with toilet facilities. Eventually the toilet facilities were removed to make room for more prisoners.In 1878, after the close of Horsemonger Lane Gaol, the gallows were transferred to Wandsworth Prison. Initially executions took place within a purposely built execution shed on the prison grounds. In 1911, a new execution facility was built between E & F wings next to the condemned cell. Finally, in 1937, a new execution suite was constructed in E Wing spanning three floors. The top floor contained the beam from which the chains hung. The middle floor contained the execution room with the trapdoors and the lever. The ground floor cell opened out to the yard for easy removal of the bod…

Willem Hertzog - Doctor to a German Spy

On February 1, 1941, Josef Jakobs was discovered in a field at Dovehouse Farm near Ramsey, Huntingdonshire. Josef had suffered a broken ankle during his descent by parachute from a German aircraft. Unable to move, he summoned help by firing his pistol into the air. Two farmers found Josef that morning and notified the Home Guard.

Josef was transported to the Ramsey Police Station in a horse-drawn cart by members of the Home Guard. Upon arrival at the police station, Josef was examined by Inspector Horace Jaikens who summoned Dr. Willem Hertzog, the local doctor. Dr. Hertzog confirmed that Josef had a broken ankle. Later that day, Hertzog certified that Josef was in a fit condition to be transported to London.

Dr. Willem Hertzog
Willem Hertzog was born on 29 July, 1903, in Jagersfontein, in Orange Free State, South Africa.

In 1924, Willem embarked from Durban, South Africa on the mail boat Arundel Castle. On April 21, 1924, Willem arrived at Southampton, England and began…

Website Review - RAF Upwood

RAF Bases near Ramsey
When Josef landed near the village of Ramsey on the evening of January 31, 1941, he had a map in his possession which caused quite a stir with the local authorities. A penciled circle and a cross marked the locations of two Royal Air Force Bases. The cross marked RAF Upwood and the circle marked RAF Warboys.

While both air bases have long since been decommissioned,  their association with Josef Jakobs, would-be German spy, is still remembered.

Sean Edwards maintains two websites, one devoted to RAF Upwood and one devoted to RAF Warboys.

RAF Upwood Website
The website devoted to RAF Upwood contains a section on Josef Jakobs. Much of the information comes from Stephen Stratford's website which outlines Josef's court martial and has been reviewed here.

The RAF Upwood site does contain a bit of extra information regarding Josef's arrival and capture at Dovehouse Farm. A map shows the location of Dovehouse Farm in relation to Ramsey. A similar map can b…