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Showing posts from January, 2020

Sharing the Tale of Josef Jakobs on Talk Radio Europe

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A few weeks ago, Talk Radio Europe had me on their 10:30 am morning show. Given that they are in Spain and I'm on Canada's West Coast... I pried myself out of bed at 1:00 am to be moderately awake and coherent for the 1:30 am interview!

You can listen to the interview here...

Thanks to David Tremain for suggesting I chase down the opportunity to get on the TRE show!

And thanks to Wendy, Giles and the TRE crew who created a very smooth process...



Branches of the Josef Jakobs Family Tree

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Back in November, I received an intriguing Facebook message from a woman down on the east coast of the States. She said that her family name was spelt "Jakobs" as well and that her family had long circulated a story that one of their great-relatives was a spy for the Nazis. She had come across my book and website and thought... maybe we were related.

This was kind of a cool thought and it spurred a burst of activity from me on Ancestry. I hadn't worked on the Jakobs branch for a few years and... Ancestry has come a long way since then. I started tracking various Jakobs side-branches from my direct lineage, trying to trace a connection to the States. At the same time, I got a bit of information from the woman and began researching her tree upwards... trying to trace her forefathers who immigrated to the States from Germany.

At this point, I've traced her great-great grandfather as one Herman Frederick Jakobs who came to the States in the early 1890s - exact city/vill…

Book Review - Operation Fortitude - Joshua Levine (2011)

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The Book
Operation Fortitude: The Story of the Spy Operation that Saved D-Day. Joshua Levine. Lyons Press. 2011.

Summary

In the lead-up to the D-Day landings in Normany, the Allies operated a number of plans designed to mislead the Germans as to the actual landing zone. The overall plan codenamed Operation Bodyguard had several sub-plans, one of which was Operation Fortitude (North and South). This plan was to convince the Germans that the Allies were planning landings in Norway and Pas de Calais. The Allies used a number of ploys, including their network of double agents, to pull the wool over the eyes of the Germans.

Review
While the title might lead one to believe that the author will focus on the 1944 plan for Operation Fortitude, Levine helpfully begins much earlier, in 1940. In preparation for Operation Sealion, the Germans sent a number of poorly equipped agents to England with a view to sending back weather reports and other helpful information. The vast majority of these haples…

Book Review - Agent TATE: The Wartime Story of Harry Williamson - Tommy Jonason & Simon Olsson (2012)

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The Book
Agent TATE: The Wartime Story of Harry Williamson. Tommy Jonason and Simon Olsson. Amberley Publishing. 2012.

Summary
The story of double agent TATE (LEONHARDT to the Germans) is one of the classic tales of the British double cross system from the Second World War. One can read key snippets of his story in many books and journals:
How the ardent Nazi Wulf Schmidt parachuted into England in mid-September, hot on the heels of friend, and fellow spy, Gosta Caroli.How Schmidt was quickly snatched up by the authorities after washing his swollen twisted ankle in the village fountain. How Schmidt proved stalwart in the face of MI5's top interrogator but eventually crumbled when he learned that Caroli had already spilled the beans.How Schmidt would go on to become one of Britain's most prized double agents... and simultaneously, one of the German Abwehr's most prized agents (even to being awarded the Iron Cross). The story is a fascinating one and two Swedish authors, Tommy …

Britain's Plans to Revamp the Treason Act

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Fellow author Tony Percy sent me a link a few weeks ago which piqued my interest. According to the latest Queen's Speech, given by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the UK is looking at updating the antiquated Treason Act (1351).

The UK recognizes that the Treason Act (and the Official Secrets Act (1911)) are rather antiquated and do not cover modern actions of individuals operating for hostile powers (e.g. cyber attacks). Despite several legal acts that cover terrorism and border security... there is still a recognized gap in prosecuting individuals who act with the intent to harm Britain. This is news indeed!

As I read the newspaper articles touching on the subject, I heard definite echos from the past - from 1940 in particular when Britain recognized that the Treason Act and Official Secrets Act did not cover the actions of operatives operating for hostile powers (e.g. spies for Germany). Britain's response at that time was to craft the Treachery Bill which passed into law in …

Promoting The Spy in the Tower on TalkRadioEurope

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The History Press kindly set up an interview for me with the crew at TalkRadioEurope - Spain's only English speaking talk radio network.

Fellow author David Tremain has done several excellent interviews with them, so I'm really looking forward to it!

For those interested... the interview is tomorrow, Wednesday January 8.

You can Listen Live using this link. The time of the interview is at:10:30 am Central European Standard Time
9:30 am Greenwich Mean Time
4:30 am Eastern Standard Time

  and...
1:30 am Pacific Standard Time Which means that I will need to roust myself out of bed at 1 am and hope that I can generate some coherent thoughts... I am most definitely NOT a night owl!

I believe the radio interview will be available after the fact, and when I have the link, I will add it to the bottom of this blog post.