24 October 2014

A Light in the Darkness

The torch and battery found in  the possession of Josef Jakobs.  Held at the National Archives.  (photo copyright G.K. Jakobs)
The torch and battery found in
the possession of Josef Jakobs.
Held at the National Archives.
(photo copyright G.K. Jakobs)

The farm field in which German spy Josef Jakobs landed on the night of 31 January 1941 was most likely enshrouded in unrelieved darkness. The waxing crescent moon was hidden behind clouds and British wartime regulations ensured that farmhouse lights were hidden behind blackout curtains.

Josef was equipped with two items which would have helped to relieve the darkness: a cigarette lighter manufactured by Karl Wieden and a small torch/flashlight.

The torch found in the possession of  Josef Jakobs. Held at the National Archives.  (photograph copyright G.K. Jakobs)
The torch found in the possession of
Josef Jakobs. Held at the National Archives.
(photograph copyright G.K. Jakobs)
The electric torch was powered by a battery and could give off an exceptionally bright light.

A silver lighter manufactured  by Karl Wieden - similar to  the one Josef had.  (From My Lighter website).
A silver lighter manufactured
by Karl Wieden - similar to
the one Josef had.
(From My Lighter website).
The torch was also equipped with a flashing device which, in the opinion of MI5 officers, was intended for signaling enemy aircraft. Given the fact that Josef had broken his right ankle while leaving the German aircraft, he had no opportunity to do anything other than lie where he had landed.

While it is unknown if Josef used the torch to look around him, it is clear that he used his cigarette lighter to light a steady supply of cigarettes. By the time he was found the following morning, the lighter was empty and the torch was useless to him.

References
National Archives, Security Service files on Josef Jakobs - KV 2/24, 2/25, 2/26, 2/27.

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