G.F. Sampson - Diplomat and Interrogator at Camp 020 in 1941
|George Frederick Sampson at Latchmere House (Camp 020).|
(Imperial War Museum - HU 66757 - Fair Use)
George was born in early 1883 in Lincoln, Lincolnshire to John and Mary Ann Sampson. John was an ironstone miner and the young couple already had a son, born in 1881, named Herbert Harris Sampson. The two boys appeared to be the only surviving children of John and Mary Ann. By 1891, the family had moved from Lincoln to Stanley, just southeast of Leeds, where John became a coal miner. Herbert, and presumably George as well, attended the Wakefield Grammar School, south of Leeds. By 1901, the family had moved a tad closer to Leeds and settled in Holbeck. Both Herbert (20 years old) and George (18 years old) were employed as clerks for a corn miller. George's whereabouts between 1901 and 1909 are shrouded in mystery. His brother, Herbert, became a language teacher and traveled around the continent.
|Palais Strousberg in Berlin - British Embassy 1877-1939|
While living in Berlin, George went on leave to Stockholm on several occasions, visits which seem rather mysterious until one learns that George's future wife was Swedish. Gerda was born in Gävle, Sweden around 1882, and may have been attached to the Swedish Embassy in Berlin. The two possibly met at diplomatic soirées in Berlin and George likely traveled to Stockholm to meet Gerda's parents and ask for her hand in marriage. In 1912, George and Gerda welcomed a little girl, Margaret, into their lives. In 1914, at the outbreak of war, George and his family were expelled from Germany, along with all of the other diplomatic staff.
|Last resting place of Herbert Harris Sampson|
Loos Memorial (CWGC)
In 1920, George was awarded the Order of the British Empire (Civil Division). At the time he was serving as Assistant Commercial Attaché for His Majesty's Legation in Stockholm, Sweden. By 1922, George was back in England, living in Hammersmith with his family.
World War 2
|Lt. G.F. Sampson signature|
(National Archives - KV 2/24)
|United Nations Flag|
After the war ended, George was charged with writing a history of Camp 020 and submitted it to the Deputy Director General of MI5 before retiring from the military. He, along with several of his fellow Camp 020 interrogators, joined the League of Nations (replaced by the United Nations in 1945/46) in the Documents Service division. George's skill at languages and his background in intelligence work proved to be an asset to the fledgling organization.
George was posted to the United Nations office in New York and traveled back and forth between England and the United States several times between 1946 and 1947. His wife, Gerda, and his daughter, Margaret accompanied him. Margaret had become an accomplished woman in her own right, working as an official for the BBC.
On 2 December, 1948, George was involved in a fatal accident in Paris, France. He passed away at L'hôpital Boucicaut at the age of 65. George's wife inherited his effects, valued at about £7000. Twelve years later, on 28 June 1960, Gerda Sampson passed away at Bolingbroke Hospital in London. She was 78 years old and left £17,000 to her daughter.
British Army Lists - 1940 & 1941.
Genealogy websites - Ancestry, FamilySearch - births, marriages, deaths, census, passenger lists.
London Gazette - 1940 & 1941.
Stephens, R.W.G. - Camp 020:MI5 and the Nazi Spies (edited by Oliver Hoare). 2000.