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Showing posts from May, 2018

New Book on Operation Lena (in Dutch)

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A couple of years ago, Dutch author, Jan Willem van den Braak published a book (in Dutch) on Dutch spy Engelbertus Fukken (alias Jan Willem ter Braak).

And this year, he has published another book titled
Zij Spioneerden tegen England - Operatie-Lena (1940-1941): tot mislukken gedoemd (They Spied against England - Operation Lena (1940-1941): doomed to failure)

The book description (with a bit of help from Google Translate) reads thusly: In the summer of 1940, the Nazis hastily recruited nearly twenty spies from various countries, including the Netherlands, and in the following months sent them to England, as a sort of scout for the planned invasion of England - which would never happen. This Operation Lena became a catastrophe for the Nazis and the spies involved. Some were executed, one committed suicide and a few could only save their lives by becoming double agents.

In this book, Operation Lena is fully described in its historical context for the first time in the Netherlands. The a…

Bella in the Wych Elm - Jill Mossop

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In her 1953 statement to police about the Bella in the Wych Elm murder, Una Abel Mossop stated that: "The only child of our marriage was born in 1932 and he was christened Julian and at the present time, he is somewhere in America." Seemingly an open and shut statement except... when it comes to the Mossops, nothing is open and shut.

A few months ago, Duncan Honeybourne (a Mossop descendant) and I both noticed an intriguing entry on the Ancestry genealogy website. The birth of a Jill K. Mossop was registered in the first quarter of 1942 in Warwick... and the mother's maiden name was Abel.

Was this little girl really a child of Jack and Una? Could she have been conceived while Jack and Una were still together? Would Una have left Jack in December 1941 in the last few months of her pregnancy? So many unanswered questions.

A few weeks ago, I bit the bullet and ordered the birth registration.

Jill Kyra Mossop was born on 19 November 1941 at 124 Warwick Road in Kenilworth. T…

Bella in the Wych Elm - Julian Mossop

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The West Mercia Police files on the Bella in the Wych Elm mystery contain many interesting documents. There is one file, however, that has the most intriguing title: "Folder 11 - Possible Suspect Julian Mossop". It turns out that Julian Mossop was the son of Jack Mossop and Una Abel. Let's take a look.

Julian Michael Mossop was born on 3 August 1932 in Wombourne, near Wolverhampton. Already, we can see a problem with him being a "possible suspect". Julian would have been 9 years old in 1941. Could a 9 year old have murdered a five foot tall woman in her mid-30s and stuffed her body in a tree trunk? It seems ludicrous and raises more questions. Who was Julian Mossop? What became of him? Was he really a suspect? How far did the police try and track him?

According to the testimony of Jack Mossop's friend and co-worker, Bill Wilson in late 1953, he hardly ever saw Julian and said that the boy was raised by his grandmother (likely Jack's grandmother who had…