18 September 2017

Mysterious Notebook referenced in Camp 020 Interrogations

A couple of blogs ago, I introduced another notebook mystery from the files of German spy, Josef Jakobs. During his court martial on August 4 and 5, 1941, Josef was presented with a notebook, contained in a wallet, which apparently contained dates, times and locations of possible assignations with other German agents.

I initially thought this topic would be one blog but... as I delved deeper into the details of the story, the blog kept getting longer (and longer). The threads of the tale have taken me into the files of TATE as well as Jan Willem Ter Braak and opened up some intriguing possibilities. But, I digress... in the first blog, I ended with four questions:
  1. Tracking the Notebook - Where did the notebook come from as it does not appear on any of the detailed lists that itemized the articles found on Josef?
  2. Camp 020 Interrogations - Why was Josef never interrogated about the times/dates/locations for covert "assignations" during his many months at Camp 020?
  3. Contents of Notebook - What was actually written in the notebook and were the three locales (Zoological Gardens, Derby Station, Oxford Street and Edgar Road) actually in London?
  4. Assignation Candidates - Who might have shown up at those dates/times/locations to rendezvous with Josef?
In the last blog, I tracked the notebook, as best as we can at this stage of the game. We do know that there is a notebook in Josef's court martial exhibits file (KV 2/27). What we still don't know is where it came from since it is mentioned in none of the possessions with which Josef arrived in England.

The next question... Why was Josef never interrogated about the contents of the notebook during his time at Camp 020?
2. Camp 020 Interrogation
Given how thoroughly Major Stephens and his crew interrogated Josef from February 2 to July 23, 1941, it is rather surprising that they never questioned him about the notebook. This is understandable, however, when one realizes that the notebook was not included in any of the lists that documented the possessions and objects which were discovered upon Josef at the time of his capture and arrest. The officers at Camp 020 simply did not know that there was a notebook with suspicious information that could be an interrogation topics.

There is, however, one passing reference to a notebook in the KV 2/25 file - folios 96b and 96c. On June 23, 1941, Lt. George F. Sampson was interrogating Josef about his time in Hamburg and The Hague.
"Asked the address of the Dienststelle at Hamburg, JAKOBS said it was in General Knochenhauerstrasse and he believed the telephone number to be 221692. When he asked for this number, the reply was "Generalkommando", and he then asked for Dr. Beier. JAKOBS stated that MALTEN gave him the telephone number of the Diesnststelle at The Hague, and he said that he believed he had put it down in a small notebook that he brought with him."
Sampson must have perked up his ears at news of this notebook, one that might contain the contact information of the Abwehr offices in Hamburg and/or The Hague. But... at the bottom of his report, Sampson noted: "There was no notebook among JAKOBS' effects."

Memos began to fly and the next day, Josef was hauled back in for another session with Lt. Sampson.

"JAKOBS was asked about the notebook referred to in the interrogation of 23.6.41.

He said this was a small note block, which he thought was in his wallet together with the identity cards, etc. In addition to the telephone number of the Hague Dienststelle, he had also noted some (?) private particulars regarding questions which his wife had asked him in letters. He strenuously denied having destroyed this block and said that if it was not amongst his possessions, he must have put it by mistake in the suitcase which he left behind at the Hague."
On June 27, 1941, H.P. Milmo sent a short memo to Captain Stimson, administrator of Camp 020.
"We have never seen the scribbling pad referred to by JAKOBS, and there is no record of it in the list of his property."
Thank you Mr. Milmo, we have come to the same conclusion as well. There is no record of the notebook in Josef's possessions. The interrogation of June 23, 1941, is the first time it is mentioned and, after this short flurry of follow-up interrogation by Sampson and memo from Milmo, there is no further mention of it. And yet, one month later, it was being added to the list of exhibits for Josef's court martial. Which is baffling to say the least. Some possibilities come to mind:
  1. The notebook had fallen out of the wallet during Josef's initial search by the Home Guard and lain undetected in the potato field at Dove House Farm. Once MI5 knew to look for it, it was found in the field.
    Very unlikely. The condition of the notebook is pristine and it has obviously spent no time in the outdoors.
  2. The notebook fell out during the transfer from Dove House Farm to Ramsey Police Station and lay undetected in whatever sack or box had been used to gather Josef's possessions. Upon learning of its possible existence, MI5 made inquiries with the Ramsey Police and the notebook was discovered.
    A rather unlikely scenario although not outside the realms of possibility. The list of possessions compiled by the Ramsey Police is the first definitive list and the notebook does not appear on this list. Clearly, it must have been misplaced before they drew up their list.
  3. One of the farmers and/or Home Guard members pocketed the notebook as a seemingly "innocent" souvenir. Or perhaps, one of them just pocketed it by mistake during the confusion of searching Josef and gathering up his possessions.
    This is possible but, one would think that there would be some record in the KV 2 files of MI5s search for this missing piece of evidence. And subsequent prosecution of the farmer/Home Guard Volunteer?
  4. The notebook was in the brown leather wallet all along and the Ramsey Police missed it, along with Robertson and all the other MI5 officers who handled the wallet (Marriott, Butler, Milmo, etc.).
    This seems rather doubtful given the thoroughness with which MI5 handled the possessions of spies. They were always looking for hidden compartments where secret writing materials or contact addresses in Lisbon might be secreted.
  5. Josef had hidden the notebook in his clothing during the night before his capture and it was not found in any of the searches of his person and/or clothing.
    Possible although Josef's clothing was thoroughly searched. Had he ripped open a seam and hidden it between the lining and the cloth, that would have attracted notice as well. Perhaps. We do know that Josef hid two small photographs in the lining of his coat so... it is possible that this notebook could have gone undetected as well. Although Josef swore that the notebook had been in his wallet.
  6. Josef acquired the notebook at Camp 020 (contraband from another inmate?) and wrote out suspicious-looking times/dates/locations in order that it might appear that he had been sent to meet another spy. He may have hoped that MI5 would then extend his life in order to set up a meeting between Josef and the mysterious agent.
    I admit this is a bit of a stretch, but Josef was in conversation with Richter and would have heard from him about the times/dates/locations for Richter's planned meetings with TATE. Josef may have decided that a copycat method might serve him well. And yet, the notebook was introduced as evidence at Josef's court martial, implying that MI5 believed that he had had it in his possession when he landed in England.
  7. Other possibilities? (Any suggestions gratefully accepted - either email or through a comment on this blog).
There is a gap of a month between June 23 and July 23 (1941) during which the notebook went from being "missing" to being "found". There are no further mentions of the notebook, nor its contents, in the KV 2 files on Josef Jakobs. Once it was found, it is quite likely that Stephens and Sampson would have interrogated Josef in more detail about it and its contents. If Josef was as up front with them as he was at the court martial, they may have wondered who he was to meet. Was it one of their Double Agents? Was it an unknown agent?

Before we take a look at possible conspirators, the next blog will examine the contents of the notebook (at last!).

13 September 2017

Tracking the Mysterious Notebook

In the last blog, I introduced another notebook mystery from the files of German spy, Josef Jakobs. During his court martial on August 4 and 5, 1941, Josef was presented with a notebook, contained in a wallet, which apparently contained dates, times and locations of possible assignations with other German agents.

I initially thought this topic would be one blog but... as I delved deeper into the details of the story, the blog kept getting longer. The threads of the tale have taken me into the files of TATE as well as Jan Willem Ter Braak and opened up some intriguing possibilities. But, I digress... in the last blog, I ended with four questions:
  1. Where did the notebook come from as it does not appear on any of the detailed lists that itemized the articles found on Josef?
  2. Why was Josef never interrogated about the times/dates/locations for covert "assignations" during his many months at Camp 020?
  3. What was actually written in the notebook and were the three locales (Zoological Gardens, Derby Station, Oxford Street and Edgar Road) actually in London?
  4. Who might have shown up at those dates/times/locations to rendezvous with Josef?
1. Tracking the Notebook
The notebook that was referenced at the court martial was not listed as an Exhibit, but was apparently contained within Exhibit 8, simply described as "a wallet". We need to go back to Josef's initial arrival in the UK and track this wallet.

When Josef was captured at Dove House farm on the morning of February 1, 1941, he was brought to the Ramsey Police Station. He was searched thoroughly and his possessions were catalogued in exquisite detail. In addition, the statements of the Home Guard and police officers who found Josef made mention of several key items (KV 2/24 20b). From these statements, it would appear Josef had two wallet-like items in his possession:
Brown Leather Wallet
  • a brown leather wallet containing a Ration Book..., an Identity card... The wallet also contained a blank identity card and a picture post card... (Jaikens statement)
  • brown leather purse with zip fastener (Jaikens statement)
  • a brown leather wallet containing a ration book, identity cards and a photograph of a girl (Newton's statement)
  • a leather wallet (Curedale) 
  • wallets (Godfrey)
Blue Leather Note-Case
  • a leather note case was found to contain 4 £1 bank of England notes (Jaikens statement)
  • blue leather note-case with chain guard attached (Jaikens statement)
  • a leather note case containing some £1 notes (Newton's statement)
  • a note-case (Curedale)
  • wallets (Godfrey)
When the Ramsey police typed up the list of possessions, it included: a leather note-case, a brown leather wallet and a leather purse. But when Major Robertson, the first MI5 officer to extract a statement from Josef, drew up his list on February 2, 1941, he simply noted: one brown leather purse, zip fastener (empty) and one blue leather note case, chain guard (empty) (KV 2/24 7a). The inclusion of an extra "leather purse" on the Ramsey list is most likely an error for it is not mentioned anywhere else.

In describing the blue leather note-case and the brown leather wallet, none of the investigators described a notebook or any writing that might be present in either the wallet or the note-case.

The blue leather note-case simply contained 4 £1 notes and the brown leather wallet contained the Ration Book, Identity Cards and the picture post card.

KV 2/27 - National Archives - description of Exhibit 8
KV 2/27 - National Archives - description of Exhibit 8
The strange thing is... there actually is a small coil-bound graph-paper notebook contained with Josef's KV 2/27 file, listed as Exhibit 8 from the court martial. The description, provided by the National Archives for this object states:
Rex v. Josef JAKOBS
Exhibit No. 8
Original enveloped said (Leather Wallet) but on transfer there is no leather wallet in this envelope, there is however a small graph papered spiral bound notebook.
PF 55039/SUPPA

KV 2/27 - National Archives - small notebook included as Exhibit 8
KV 2/27 - National Archives - small notebook
included as Exhibit 8

The notebook itself is small, a couple of inches wide by perhaps three inches tall. It contains graph-lined paper and one page has writing on it (which we will get to in due course).

The problem remains though... where did this small notebook come from? Within the KV 2/26 file on Josef, which is primarily concerned with preparations for his court martial, there is a copy of Major Robertson's list of possessions from February 2, 1941. Edward Cussen from MI5's B13 (the office involved in the prosecution of spies) has made marginal notes against all of the items.

Some items are marked "Ret" - these were returned to Josef. Some are marked with the initials J.M. (likely John Marriott - from Robertson's office) and 2.2.41 - these were sent out for further investigation by Marriott - the tablets/pills, picture post card, identity cards, ration book, bottle of brandy/cognac, etc. The packet of sandwiches, marked with a question mark, also has a note that it was "Dest" (destroyed). The Catholic Badge was "Lost" very early in the case.

KV 2/26 - Copy of Robertson's list of Josef's possessions with annotations by Edward Cussen.
KV 2/26 - unnumbered folio -  Copy of Robertson's list of Josef's possessions
with annotations by Edward Cussen. (National Archives)
Against the brown leather purse, there is a simple check mark. Against the blue leather note case, there is a question mark. MI5 was apparently not all that practiced in keeping track of the possessions of the spies in their custody.

The interesting aspect of this annotated list comes at the bottom of the second page where Edward Cussen (assistant to W.E. Hinchley Cooke) has added two items to the list:
KV 2/26 - Copy of Robertson's list of Josef's possessions with hand-written addition of Torch and graph paper pad by Edward Cussen
KV 2/26 - unnumbered folio - Copy of Robertson's list of Josef's possessions
with hand-written addition of Torch and graph paper pad by Edward Cussen.
(National Archives)
  • 1 Torch - dated 22/7/41
  • 1 graph paper pad small - also dated 22/7/41
This is most intriguing and perplexing. From whence did this "graph paper pad small" make its appearance? It was clearly never contained within the two leather wallets. But, less than two weeks before Josef's court martial, it appears on one of the lists. At this time, Cussen was helping Hinchley-Cooke to prepare for the Summary of Evidence and gathering all of the items that the prosecution was planning to present as Exhibits at the court martial.

KV 2/26 - folio 2a - Report on Josef Jakobs' transceiver by Inspector Leonard W. Humphrey of the Radio Security Service (National Archives)
KV 2/26 - folio 2a - Report on Josef Jakobs' transceiver by Inspector
Leonard W. Humphrey of the Radio Security Service
(National Archives)
The only other object that Josef had in his possession which contained a multitude of items was the blue attache case containing the wireless set. Could the small graph paper pad been found within the attache case?

On February 13, 1941, Inspector Leonard W. Humphrey of the Radio Security Service submitted a report on Josef's wireless transceiver. He included a detailed list of all of the items contained within the attache case. The item that most closely resembled a notebook was:
  • 1 Stationary pad ruled in 8 millimetre squares 30 centimetres by 21 centimetres and 6 millimetres thick
There were also some sheets of paper and Humphrey noted what was written on those sheets. The stationary pad that Humphrey found within the attache case is, however, clearly much larger than the small notebook that was presented at the court martial. So, the notebook is unlikely to have been "found" within the attache case.

Which leaves us back at the beginning? Where did the notebook come from? At this point, we have no answers to this question and it actually raises even more questions, one of which is: did the notebook actually belong to Josef? In that respect, we can definitely answer in the affirmative for during his interrogation at Camp 020, Josef actually referenced a small note block that threw the Latchmere House officers into a tizzy. More on this in the next blog(s).

08 September 2017

Mysterious Notebook at the Court Martial of German Spy Josef Jakobs

Notebook from Kenneth Clifford
Howard (National Archives - KV 2/27)
Over the last couple of years, I have written a series of blogs about a couple of mysterious notebooks found in the KV 2/27 file on Josef Jakobs at the National Archives.

The two notebooks, one blue and the other black, belonged to a lad named Kenneth Clifford Howard. Given that there was not a whisper of these notebooks in any of the interrogation files on Josef, I had long thought that they belonged in one of the other spy files. The fact that one of the notebooks mentioned Karl Theodore Druecke, a spy who arrived in the UK in late September 1940, I thought that his file was the most likely candidate.

As it turns out, with the help of a blog reader, Druecke's KV 2/1701 file does have notes on Kenneth C. Howard and his notebooks. Mystery solved. Those two notebooks that currently reside in Josef's file belong in the Druecke file.

But... there is another mystery that has turned up. During Josef's court martial, he indicates that he could help the English by identifying spies currently working in the United Kingdom. As proof, he refers to a notebook in which are written the times and dates on which Josef could theoretically rendezvous with another spy at one of three locations. Josef stated that if he ran out of money, he was told that this person(s) could give him money.

Extract from (National Archives - WO 32/18144 - Court Martial of Josef Jakobs, Day 1, p. 54)

Josef's defence attorney, Captain E.V.E. White asked him:
Q. How would you let the Germans know you wanted money?
A. By wireless. I have it here (referring to the document which is to be found inside the wallet, Exhibit 8). "Zoological Gardens at 2 o'clock either on the 2nd or the 16th of the month. Derby Station waiting room on the 3rd or 17th of the month".
Q. Which month is that?
A. They told me when I needed money the three points where I could join men and they will give me money when I have given noticed I needed it. There was the 2nd or 16th of any month.
Q. In the Zoological Gardens?
A. Yes, and the 3rd and the 17th of the month in the waiting room of the station at Derby, and the 1st and 15th of the month at the corner of Oxford Street and Edgar Road."
Q. What day was that?
A. The 1st and 15th.
Q. Who wrote this?
A. I did.
Q. When did you write it?
A. At the Hague before I started.
Q. And you put it into your pocket book?
A. Yes.
(National Archives - WO 32/18144 - Court Martial of Josef Jakobs, Day 1, p. 54)
Later, during his summation, the defence attorney makes it quite clear that there actually was a physical notebook (not just a document) in the court room with those times, dates and locations apparently written in it. The file also notes that Josef had not seen this notebook since he had been captured.
"Jakobs has described how he would meet those people [others working in league with the Germans] here. I do not know whether anybody had seen it before, but when the pocket book [a wallet according to the list of Exhibits] was produced and looked at I noticed the President of the Court pulled a note-book out. I was interested at once. It was shown to the accused. You saw the interesting facts that arose from that. The accused has not had that thing since it was taken from him on arrival here. He says that before he left the Hague he wrote in his own handwriting assignations, places and dates for meeting people in this country and he says those people would have given him money because he has to live here."
(National Archives - WO 32/18144 - Court Martial of Josef Jakobs, Day 2, p. 20)
The defence attorney, quite unaware of the existence of the Double Cross system, thought that this information would be quite useful to MI5 in apprehending British or German sympathizers. His line of questioning does, however leave us with some unanswered questions and a bit of a mystery:
  1. Where did the notebook come from as it does not appear on any of the detailed lists that itemized the articles found on Josef?
  2. Why was Josef never interrogated about the times/dates/locations for covert "assignations" during his many months at Camp 020?
  3. What was actually written in the notebook and were the three locales (Zoological Gardens, Derby Station, Oxford Street and Edgar Road) actually in London?
  4. Who might have shown up at those dates/times/locations to rendezvous with Josef?
We'll explore the answers in the next blog(s).