03 July 2015

Blog Review - Secrets & Spies: Latchmere House

Latchmere House - Wiki Commons
Latchmere House - Wiki Commons
Latchmere House. Ham Common. Camp 020. Whatever you want to call it, the grounds of MI5's secret interrogation centre in Richmond had a long, and sometimes grim history. I've been meaning to write a blog posting about Josef's time at Latchmere House, but in the meantime, came across a blog written by Steve Woodbridge, a Senior Lecturer in History at Kingston University. His blog, entitled Secrets & Spies:Latchmere House is actually a better source of information than the Wikipedia article.

Woodbridge gives a nice summary of the history of Latchmere House and its role during World War II. He does indicate that the first German spy arrived at the camp in July 1940, but in actual fact, that notable event took place in early September 1940 when the four "spies in dinghies" arrived at the camp - Jose Waldberg, Carl Meier, Charles van den Kieboom and Sjoerd Pons.

As Woodbridge notes, a few erroneous rumours about Latchmere House continue to persist. Sir Oswald Mosley (leader of the British Union of Fascists) and Rudolf Hess (Hitler's second-in-command) were not held at Latchmere House.

Other than providing a bit of information on Lt. Col. Robin W.G. Stephens, commandant of Latchmere House during World War II, Woodbridge provides no information on some of the other MI5 officers who staffed the facility: G.F. Sampson, R.A.F. Short, D.B. Stimson, E.B. Goodacre,
A.D. Meurig Evans and T.L. Winn.

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