25 June 2014
Magazine Review - After the Battle Magazine - Volume 11
German Spies in Britain, After the Battle, volume 11, Battle of Britain Prints International Ltd., 1976.
In 1976, After the Battle Magazine published an edition that featured on German Spies in Britain. The series of articles focused on World War II spies and fleshed out a lot of their stories. A two-page spread was devoted to Josef Jakobs.
The first edition of the magazine mistakenly indicated that Jakobs had landed in North Stifford, but that was corrected in a subsequent edition.
Given the fact that this edition was published decades before any of the MI5 files had been declassified, it represented quite an accomplishment for the editor-in-chief, Winston Ramsey. Naturally, given the lack of primary resources, some of the information is inaccurate, but on the whole, the article was very well done.
It turns out that Jakobs was not held in a cell at the Tower of London prior to his execution, but was held in Wandsworth Prison until the morning of his execution at the Tower. The account of the Catholic priest Fr. Josef Simmil never took place - Jakobs had access to military chaplain Fr. Griffiths who ministered to him from August 5 to 15. The execution took place on August 15 at 7:12 am (not August 14 at 12:12 pm).
The main coup of Winston Ramsey's was that he managed to discover where Jakobs was buried, in St. Mary's Roman Catholic Cemetery in Kensal Green. Ramsey wrote to every cemetery in London before finally hitting pay-dirt. The two-page spread on Jakobs also included a picture of the chair in which he had been executed, and a picture of the lint circle that had been used as a target.
The article on Josef Jakobs is, on the whole, accurate and one of the better sources of information on Jakobs from the 1970s. Nigel West's book, MI5, drew heavily on information unearthed by After the Battle magazine.
4.5 out of 5 - The piece on Jakobs is relatively accurate and includes original research which uncovered the final resting place of Jakobs.