01 June 2016

Tales of the Spies - Double Agents

Cover - Double Agent Snow by James Hayward.
Cover - Double Agent Snow
by James Hayward.
If there's one thing I've learned in researching the story of Josef Jakobs, it's that sometimes you have to go sideways in order to go forwards. I've hit a lot of brick walls in my years of research, and oftentimes have experienced a breakthrough by focusing my research elsewhere.

One of the obvious sideways alternatives is the stories of the other World War 2 spies, both those who became double agents, and those who paid the ultimate price.

Cover - SNOW - Nigel West & Madoc Roberts.
Cover - SNOW - Nigel West
& Madoc Roberts.
In the first group, the double agents, there are several who stand out. SNOW, TATE, SUMMER, MUTT, JEFF. Their stories were contemporaneous with that of Josef's and, in some cases, touched on his case directly.


The story of SNOW has been written many times. One of the primary books is that by Madoc Roberts & Nigel West and the other is a very readable version by James Hayward.

The saga of TATE has been written by a couple of Swedish writers, Tommy Jonason and Simon Olsson. There is some controversy surrounding this book from what I can gather. Rumblings of discontent from the family of TATE (see the Amazon.co.uk reviews) (Wulf Schmidt/Harry Williamson) and photos used without permission.

Agent Tate - Tommy Jonason & Simon Olsson.
Agent Tate - Tommy Jonason
& Simon Olsson.
SUMMER's story hasn't really been told. What became of Gosta Caroli after he was repatriated back to Sweden? His story is often mentioned in passing with that of his friend TATE. Beyond that... not much is known about his life after 1945.

In sifting through the internet the other day, I came across a couple of most intriguing resources about double-agents MUTT and JEFF. Their real names were John Moe and Tor Glad, and they landed on the Aberdeenshire coast in April 1941.

John Moe was a Brit/Norwegian while Tor Glad was Norwegian. They contacted the police after landing and were quickly turned into double-agents by MI5.

Cover - John Moe: Double Agent
Cover - John Moe: Double Agent
John Moe was an exemplary agent but Tor Glad chafed at the restrictions imposed on him. He was eventually interned for the duration of the war and repatriated to Norway in 1945.

I came across a series of eight interviews with John Moe on the Imperial War Museum site. The interviews were conducted in 1992 when Moe was about 73 years old. I must admit, it is quite fascinating to listen to the story of an actual real-life double-agent. Of particular interest is Reel 6, in which Moe talks about his reception at Latchmere House, MI5's wartime interrogation centre and his first interview with Lt. Col. R.W.G. Stephens, whom he "fondly" recalls as a "bastard, a real bastard". Quite fascinating.

Moe mentioned his "book" and a bit of digging led me to an online bookstore which has copies of his out-of-print book.

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