27 September 2017

Mysterious Notebook - Possible Assignation Characters

Over the last few blogs, we've taken a look at the mysterious notebook that showed up at Josef Jakobs' court martial on August 4, 1941. According to Josef, the notebook contained times, dates and locations where he could meet other agents and get further funds, if he needed them. I've dissected various aspects of the notebook in the following blogs:

In the first blog, I ended with four key 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 this blog, we'll take a look at who might have actually shown up at the dates/times/locations.

Who would have shown up?
There are several possibilities. Let's start with an obvious one.

Double Agent SNOW
SNOW is an obvious candidate. When Josef left on his mission, SNOW was still in play and considered a prized agent by both the Germans and the British. The German Abwehr had contacted him when it appeared that Gosta Caroli, newly arrived in England in early September 1940, needed assistance. SNOW had several sub-agents (BISCUIT, CELERY) who could have been pulled into action by the Abwehr. In early February 1941, SNOW was able to deliver some funds to Double Agent TATE. Perhaps SNOW was seen by the Abwehr as the "mother hen" and go-to resource for injured and financially strapped spies. Unfortunately, SNOW was considered blown by MI5 after his visit to Portugal/Spain in late February 1940. SNOW sent a message to the German Abwehr saying he was hanging up his earphones. It would, however, seem unlikely that a standing meeting time/date/location, as noted in Josef's notebook would have been a sensible means for two spies to meet each other. One would think...


Double Agent TATE
Another possibility is that Josef, who had been sent to England with £500 - more than double what the earlier agents had - was to deliver some of the money to another agent. TATE had requested money from the Abwehr in mid-January 1941. Josef left on his mission on January 31, 1941, so it is conceivable that the Abwehr thought they could supply TATE with some funds at the same time. The fact that Karel Richter was sent a few months later with more money, supposedly for TATE, increases the likelihood of this option. The method by which Richter was to have connected with TATE also sounds rather similar to Josef's notebook.
  • Zoological Gardens - 2nd or 16th of the month at 2 o'clock (presumably afternoon)
  • Derby Station waiting room - 3rd and 17th of the month - same time?
  • Oxford Street & Edgar Road - 1st and 15th of the month - same time?
TATE received word from the Abwehr that he could expect a "friend" to deliver money in late April. MI5, privy to all of TATE's communications, made hasty preparations to snap up this "friend" (Richter) when he arrived. The suggested meet-up places were:
  • Regent Palace Hotel barber shop - 2 pm on the 30th, 5th , 10th or 15th
  • Tate Gallery cafe entrance - 5 pm on the 30th, 5th, 10th or 15th
  • British Museum main entrance - 7 pm on the 30th, 5th, 10th or 15th (Jonason & Olsson, p. 92)
After Richter finally left on his mission towards the middle of May, TATE was told that he could expect to meet his "friend" at the Regent Palace Hotel on May 15th. Perhaps Josef had similar instructions (but different locations) at which he was to hand some money over to TATE. Richer had overheard Abwehr officers speaking of TATE and basically saying "Won't he be surprised to get money from several different sources" - this would suggest that the Abwehr was using different options.

Double Agent SUMMER
Given that one of the rendezvous locales Josef spoke of was "Derby Station", the only possible location of which is the town of Derby, northeast of Birmingham, one could wonder if Gosta Caroli (SUMMER) was a possibility. Caroli had spent time in Birmingham before the war and his landing site was actually relatively close to Birmingham. Caroli was meant to work the triangle covered by Birmingham-Northampton-Oxford (had he not been captured by the British) and a meeting at Derby Station might then make sense. If the German Abwehr believed that Caroli was transmitting free and clear (and not under the control of MI5), then it is possible that they may have seen him as a possibility. Unfortunately, SUMMER tried to escape his servitude to MI5 on January 13, 1941. MI5, through one of the other double agents (likely TATE), notified the Abwehr that Caroli had hung up his earphones. Whether the Abwehr received the message in time to alter Josef's assignation locations, etc is questionable. Given that there is no actual "Derby Station" noted in Josef's notebook, this would seem to be a rather long shot.

A German agent of whom MI5 was unaware
This is always a possibility. In December 1941, MI5 questioned Richter at some length, concerned that there was an undiscovered spy operating in East Anglia. They had no proof of their suspicions but... it's always an option, that there was another spy who was flying under the MI5 radar and desperately needed funds.

Engelbertus Fukken (a.k.a. Jan Willem Ter Braak)
Ah yes, our friend Engelbertus Fukken. He landed near Milton Keynes in early November 1940 and managed to evade capture quite nicely. He found lodging in Cambridge and went about his business. By the time Josef left on his mission (January 31, 1941), Fukken had been in the UK for almost three months. He was running low on funds and, if he did manage to make contact with the Abwehr via his wireless transmitter, they may have decided to send some funds to him via Josef. This is a seemingly strong possibility but... there are a few caveats.

Fukken committed suicide in a Cambridge air raid shelter in late March 1941. When MI5 found his radio at the Left Luggage counter at the local railway station, they discovered that the batteries in his transmitter were completely drained. He had obviously been using it... but whether he had made contact with the German Abwehr was another question. According to MI5 radio expert R.T. Reed, the aerial Fukken was given would work well with the nighttime frequency but would not have been suitable for the daytime frequency. Apparently, Fukken only tried his transmitter during the daytime, and not the nighttime. Although, my question is... how did MI5 know that? The other question is... would the Abwehr have attempted to send funds to him via another spy parachuted into England?

MI5 report on the two bus tickets found in Engelbertus Fukken's pockets.  (KV 2/114 - 18a - National Archives)
MI5 report on the two bus tickets found in Engelbertus Fukken's pockets.
(KV 2/114 - 18a - National Archives)
Given that the first rule of espionage is to keep your operatives unaware of each other... the Abwehr would seem to have played a pretty slack game. They had connected SUMMER and TATE (they became friends before leaving for England). They had connected TATE and SNOW (the latter got some money to the former). They had connected SUMMER and SNOW (the latter had been asked by the Abwehr to assist the former after his landing in England). They had connected Richter and Jakobs (they knew of each other before leaving for England). If one spy was compromised, then all were compromised. Was it then outside the realm of possibility that the Abwehr would then connect Jakobs and Fukken?

When MI5 investigated Fukken's possessions, they found two Route 11 London transport bus tickets in his pocket. The tickets were for travel on March 10, 1941. One ticket originated at Liverpool Street (likely the train station) shortly after 2:06 pm and was for westward travel towards Charing Cross. The other ticket originated near Bank or Ludgate Circus shortly before 3:26 pm and terminated at Liverpool Street.

The stretch between Liverpool Street and Charing Cross comes nowhere near the two possible London rendezvous points that Josef had within his possession (Zoological Gardens and possibly Regent Park Station). Perhaps Fukken came to London on other business? To meet another spy? Mind you, Fukken would have had less than an hour and a half between his departure from Liverpool Street and his boarding a return bus at Bank/Ludgate Circus.

There is of course, always the possibility that Fukken made other trips to London, but that he did not keep the ticket stubs.

Japanese Operative
Another possibility is that Josef would have met a Japanese operative. After Richter failed to show up for TATE, the Abwehr crafted a very complex plan whereby TATE could meet a Japanese operative on a London Transport bus.
"You will wait on the 26th, 29th and 31st at 16:00 hrs at the terminus of bus No. 11 at Victoria Station. You must enter this bus with a Japanese who carries 'The Times' and a book in his left hand. You must wear a red tie and carry a newspaper and a book in your left hand. At the fifth stop both of you step off the bus and take the next bus with the same number on the same route. You shall stand or sit near the Japanese and ask him: 'Any special news? May I see the paper?' In doing so, the Japanese will give you the paper with an envelope inside. If it is not possible to do, you need to get off the bus along with the Japanese and go with him." (Jonason & Olsson, p. 95)
TATE told the Abwehr that Bus #11 did not stop at Victoria Station and suggested Bus #16. In the end, despite a few hiccups, the hand-off did work and TATE got a few hundred pounds from a operative attached to the Japanese embassy. The one perplexing thing is... Bus #11 actually did have a stop at Victoria Station. It wasn't the terminus but... it did pass through there. Given that Fukken had taken Bus #11... and the Abwehr suggested Bus #11 to TATE... this leaves one wondering if Fukken did indeed meet someone on March 10, 1941... or hoped to meet someone.

As for Josef... it would seem to be a long shot that his instructions would have been to meet a Japanese operative. One would think that if Josef had made radio contact with the Abwehr and had run short of funds, that they would have suggested specifics of a meeting rather than some all-purpose dates, times, locations. There must also have been some method of recognizing each other. TATE and Richter were both given recognition hints for assignations.

Clara Bauerle
Let us suppose (and this is a very big supposition) that the German cabaret singer Clara Bauerle had been trained by the Abwehr to follow Josef to England upon his communication of a successful landing. How would they have connected with each other? Perhaps, before Josef left for England, he and Clara decided to come up with some locations, dates and times whereby they could connect. Given that they knew each other, there would have been no need for elaborate recognition notes. This is a possibility as Josef's notebook seems to be outside the normal Abwehr methodology.

Karel Richter
Another option is that Karel and Josef set up some times, dates, locations whereby they could connect with each other. Again, they would have recognized each other so no need for a system of recognition. Karel Richter made no hint of this during his interrogation and given that we don't know if Josef was questioned in detail about the notebook at Camp 020... the answer will likely never be known.

Frau Lily Knips
A last, rather off-the-wall possibility, is that Josef had communicated his mission to Lily Knips, the Jewish refugee who lived at 9 Compayne Road in London. Lily did admit to MI5 that she had received a couple of mysterious letters in 1940 - one shortly after the German invasion of the Low Countries and one later, in the autumn of 1940. She kept neither letter. Is it possible that perhaps she had received another one, of which she made no mention to MI5, which outlined Josef's plans to meet with her in London? He did know her address but arriving unannounced on her doorstep might have been unwise. This is also a long shot option. Given that Lily Knips had a telephone, one would think that he could have simply called her up and set up a date and time to meet with her.

The Mystery Remains
After all of our investigation... we are left with an enduring mystery. There is no record of the notebook in Josef's possessions upon his capture nor upon his transfer to MI5. The first time it surfaces as a topic of conversation is during an interrogation in late June, 1941. There are no follow-up interrogations about the notebook's contents and the first time we get confirmation of its physical existence is at Josef's court martial. Even then, the notebook is not entered into evidence, but the wallet which contains it is entered as Exhibit 8. Why was the notebook not noted on the list of Exhibits - "wallet containing notebook".

Josef claimed that the notebook contained details of three possible dates/times/locations for meeting other agents and securing additional funds. Upon detailed examination of the only page in the notebook that contains writing, there is evidence of two possible locations/dates. Only one of these locations matches Josef's verbal description - the Zoological Gardens.

We are left with some unresolved questions. Where was the notebook between January 31, 1941 and August 4, 1941? If it was lost, where was it found? Why are there no further interrogations of Josef that center on the contents of the notebook? Why do the contents of the notebook not match the information that Josef provided at the court martial? If they are actual assignation dates/times/locations, then who was Josef planning to meet?

We've looked at the possibilities in some detail but the truth remains an elusive creature.

Sources
National Archives - KV 2/25 file
National Archives - Josef's court martial file
Agent TATE: The Wartime Story of Harry Williamson - 2011 - Tommy Jonason and Simon Olsson

22 September 2017

The Contents of the Mysterious Notebook presented at the Court Martial of Josef Jakobs

Cover of small notebook entered as Exhibit 8 at the court martial of Josef Jakobs (KV 2/27 - National Archives)
Cover of small notebook entered as Exhibit 8
at the court martial of Josef Jakobs
(KV 2/27 - National Archives)
It's taken a few blogs to get to the actual contents of the notebook referenced at Josef's court martial, but I think it's been a necessary preamble. Josef apparently hadn't seen the notebook since he left The Hague and it wasn't included in any of his lists of possessions drawn up by the Ramsey Police and MI5. Even the interrogators at Camp 020 only heard about it through Josef on June 23, 1941. There are a lot of questions surrounding the inclusion of this notebook as evidence at Josef's court martial.

In the first blog, I ended with four key 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?
Court Martial Reference to Notebook
According to the court martial transcript, Josef was shown the notebook at the court martial during a conversation around him receiving additional funds from other agents. The notebook just seems to appear in Josef's hands and the preceding transcript page does not document how it was brought into the discussion and presented to Josef.

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 notice 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)
From this conversation, we can draw together three possible times/dates/locations for assignations with other agents:
  • Zoological Gardens - 2nd or 16th of the month at 2 o'clock (presumably afternoon)
  • Derby Station waiting room - 3rd and 17th of the month - same time?
  • Oxford Street & Edgar Road - 1st and 15th of the month - same time?
Contents of Notebook
These seem to be very clear but what we see in the notebook is a pale shadow of Josef's certainty. There is only one page (the first page) within the notebook that has any writing on it.
Page with writing from small notebook entered as Exhibit 8 at the court martial of Josef Jakobs (KV 2/27 - National Archives)
Page with writing from small notebook entered
as Exhibit 8 at the court martial of Josef Jakobs
(KV 2/27 - National Archives)
A transcription of the page is provided below. The word behind "Telefon nach..." is unclear to me and I am working on soliciting some opinions. [N.B. 2017 10 01 - One reader, the author Traugott Vitz has suggested that the word after nach could be "Bln: which was a shorthand way of writing Berlin. This would certainly make sense as Josef's family lived in Berlin.]

Page with writing from small notebook entered as Exhibit 8 at the court martial of Josef Jakobs, with annotations (updated).  (KV 2/27 - National Archives)
Page with writing from small notebook entered as Exhibit 8 at the court martial of Josef Jakobs, with annotations (updated).
(KV 2/27 - National Archives)
Deciphering Assignation References
The boxes highlighted in blue contain what seem to be telephone numbers. More on them later. The boxes highlighted in black are mysterious annotations with no obvious interpretation. The two boxes in red contain the most interesting notes.

The first box contains the following notes:
Z.G. (2 u. 16)
St. P.R. (3. u. 17)
The first line would seem to correlate with Josef's statement that one of the assignations was scheduled for the Zoological Gardens on the 2nd and 16th of the month. The "u." between the two numbers is most likely an abbreviation of "und", the German word for "and".

The second line is perplexing. In the court martial, Josef said one of the locations was Derby Station waiting room on the 3rd and 17th of the month. Knowing the German predilection for placing "Station" before the descriptor, we could see it as "Station P.R.". But I am not sure how Josef created Derby out of the initials P.R. It definitely looks like a "P" and not a "D". So even if he had been writing in code and meant to write "St. D.R." with "D.R. being an abbreviation for Derby, the letter does not look like a "D".

I see nothing on the page that would reference Oxford Street and Edgar Road, nor the 1st and 15th of the month. Nor do I see any reference to a time for the assignations - no mention of 2 o'clock anywhere.

Actual London Locations?
One of the obvious questions is... were these actual locations in London?

Zoological Gardens would seem to be an obvious reference to the London Zoo. Apparently it was referred to as the Zoological Gardens in the past. This seem a rather vague location within which to meet an apparent stranger, unless, of course, there was some sort of gesture or conversation with which Josef and the unknown other could recognize each other. The fact that the Zoological Gardens were closed at various points during the war during bombings might also have played havoc with meeting times and dates.

The second location reference in Josef's notebook is: "St. P.R.". He said that the dates associated with this note were for meetings at the Derby Station waiting room. The only Derby Station I have come across is the railway station located in the city of Derby in Derbyshire, just over 100 miles north-northwest of London (near Nottingham). Given that the other two locations were in London, it seems rather farfetched for a meeting location to be that far outside of London. A couple of possibilities present themselves. Perhaps the interpreter misheard what Josef spoke and he didn't actually say "Derby" but some other word (Darby?). Another possibility is that Josef's memory was faulty and that he had forgotten what "St. P.R." stood for and grabbed a word out of thin air. The more interesting question is: What could "St. P.R." stand for in London? Is there a Station Park Regent? The Zoological Gardens is located within Regent's Park, which, interestingly enough has the initials "R.P.", rather similar to the "P.R." Perhaps the letters are backwards and should be read as "R.P. St."? In which case we might have Regent's Park Station. Or perhaps Ravenscourt Park Station, although this seems unlikely given its distance from Central London. So, perhaps it was "Regent's Park Station"?

[N.B. 2017 10 01 - One reader of this blog, Keith, has suggested that St. P.R. could stand for St. Pancras Railway Station. This is most certainly a strong possibility and doesn't required a reordering the letters. Keith also suggested that "Derby" could refer to the horse race at Epsom Downs, southwest of London. The only problem with this is that from 1940-1945, the Derby race was moved from Epsom to Newmarket. Mind you, it became known as the New Derby, so it is still a possibility, although a faint one. Newmarket is located just east of Cambridge, so quite a ways from London. Although... not that far from where Josef landed (Ramsey, Huntingdonshire). Perhaps Josef's verbal description of "Derby Station" referred to the London railway station at which the Newmarket trains arrived and departed?]

The last location Josef referenced was the "corner of Oxford Street and Edgar Road". Oxford Street is easy. Edgar Road is more of a problem. The only Edgar Road in London is in the east, in the Tower Hamlets area. This seems like another unlikely meeting place. On the other hand, for a German who is not familiar with strange-sounding British names, Edgware Road could be easily heard or remembered as Edgar Road. And, there is indeed an intersection of Oxford Street and Edgware Road, near Marble Arch.

Map of London with possible locations for assignations (blue) and address of Frau Lily Knips (green).  Red markers denote Edgar Road (right) and Ravenscourt Park (left) which are unlikely locations given  their distance from central London. (map available here for further perusal)
Map of London with possible locations for assignations (blue) and address of Frau Lily Knips (green).
Red markers denote Edgar Road (right) and Ravenscourt Park (left) which are unlikely locations given
their distance from central London. (map available here for further perusal)
All three of these possible locations (Zoological Gardens, Regent's Park Station, Oxford Street & Edgware Road) are in relatively close proximity to each other. They are also relatively close to 9 Compayne Gardens, the address for Frau Lily Knips, the Jewish refugee whom Josef had known in Berlin. During his initial interrogations, Josef had stated that he hoped to meet with Frau Knips and solicit her assistance. It would then make sense that the meeting locations would be in the general vicinity of Frau Knips' address.

Other Information in the Notebook
Earlier, I had mentioned that the blue highlighted boxes seemed to contain telephone numbers. The second red box also contains a note "Telefon nach (undecipherable word)". This translates as "Telephone to...". The telephone connection is also supported by Josef's interrogations in late June at Camp 020 and referenced in the last blog on the notebook. During interrogations on June 23 and 24, 1941, Josef stated that....
"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 [Abwehr office] at The Hague, and he said that he believed he had put it down in a small notebook that he brought with him." (June 23, 1941, interrogation at Camp 020).
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 [Abwehr office], 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." (June 24, 1941, interrogation at Camp 020).
I have yet to track down a 1940 telephone directory from The Hague or Hamburg and it would seem unlikely that the Abwehr offices would be listed within it. On the other hand, the format noted below is similar to phone numbers of the time.

Page with writing from small notebook entered as Exhibit 8 at the court martial of Josef Jakobs, with annotations (updated).  (KV 2/27 - National Archives)
Page with writing from small notebook entered as Exhibit 8 at the court martial of Josef Jakobs, with annotations (updated).
(KV 2/27 - National Archives)
For instance, Josef's mother's phone number was 92 70 65 and his sister's number was 59 07 04. This six digit format is identical with Josef's notes. None of the numbers, however, match Josef's recollection of the Abwehr's phone number in Hamburg - 22 16 92 (June 23, 1941, interrogation). Although... the notation 11.2415 seems to have an "A" behind it which could reference "Abwehr".

It is possible that some of the other agents (TATE, SUMMER, Richter) had better memories than Josef and we might find references to Abwehr telephone numbers in their files. Which leads us to the last question around this notebook: If Josef had shown up at these times/dates/locations, who might have met him? Stay tuned for the next blog.

Thanks
Thanks to Traugott Vitz and Keith for their contributions to solving the mystery!

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.

KV 2/27 - National Archives Notebook presented at Josef Jakobs' court martial.
KV 2/27 - National Archives
Notebook presented at Josef Jakobs'
court martial.
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. 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?
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. 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 the 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. Candidates for Assignations - Who might have shown up at those dates/times/locations to rendezvous with Josef?
We'll explore the answers in the next blog(s).