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Showing posts from November, 2020

The OBE of Robin W.G. Stephens

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Colonel Robin William George Stephens I seem to be on a bit of a Stephens streak at the moment. While re-reading Chris Bilham's Medal News article on Stephens, I noticed this bit: "Stephens was awarded the OBE which was apparently ungazetted but was probably awarded at the end of the war." That same information appears in the DNW write-up for the auctioning of Stephens' Indian General Service Medal. It seemed strange to me that the OBE (Order of the British Empire) would be ungazetted and I did a bit of digging. Wikipedia - 1946 New Year Honours I had some success with Wikipedia which lists the New Year Honours for every year. I found Stephens listed for the 1946 New Year Honours . The 1946 New Year Honours were appointments by many of the Commonwealth Realms of King George VI to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by citizens of those countries, and to celebrate the passing of 1945 and the beginning of 1946. They were announced on 1 January

From the Mail Box

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I thought I'd tuck an extra blog post (or two) into my monthly schedule. A Friday revisit of correspondence from the week (or month). And this doesn't include my regular correspondents like Traugott V., Tony K. Nick H. Tony P. and Adrian B. I'm reporting here on new correspondents... mostly because I am always intrigued by their stories and why they reached out to me. Johann Hans Wolpe Linked to J├╝rgen Ziebell (Berlin black market passport scam) in trying to secure Irish naturalizations for Jews desperate to flee Nazi Germany. Blog post 1 , Blog post 2 and Blog post 3 I actually received three Wolpe communiques within the span of two weeks! Nov 2018 - Wolpe family at the display of Hans Max Wolpe in the Royal Winnipeg Rifles Museum First up was Wayne C., a researcher at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg who was looking for information on Hans Max Wolpe (the son of Johann Hans Wolpe) who had unofficially joined the Royal Winnipeg Rifles during the Second World War. I s

The Medals of Robin W.G. Stephens

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Robin W.G. Stephens (auto-colorized using Colorize app) When Robin W.G. Stephens applied to join the Security Service, he claimed to have been awarded the Star of Abyssinia medal for his service with the Red Cross during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War in the mid-1930s. The funny thing is... there is no such medal in the United Kingdom. A mystery calling out for investigation. May 2014 Medal News In 2014, Chris Bilham wrote an article about Stephens and his medals for the May edition of Medal News. He had in his possession a medal which he believed was Stephens' India General Service Medal (plus clasps). He included a photograph of the medal along with the other medals awarded to Stephens (seven in total). I was perplexed because the well-known picture of Stephens seems to show ribbons for eight medals on his ribbon bar, yet Chris only featured seven medals. Another mystery. Stephen's medal group from May 2014 edition of Medal News I reached out to Chris via email and he told m

Another View of Robin W.G. Stephens

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Robin W.G. Stephens Original at Imperial War Museum If you look for Robin W.G. Stephens on the internet, you will likely come across this photo. I think it originally comes from the Imperial War Museum. Stephens, for those who may not know, was the commandant of Camp 020, MI5's secret Second World War interrogation centre at Latchmere House (Ham Common). Stephens was a rather controversial character after the war, enduring a court martial for alleged mistreatment of prisoners at the Bad Nenndorf interrogation centre in northern Germany. Although he was acquitted of all charges, his career seemed to take a bit a sideways turn after that. My personal interest in Stephens is the fact that he interrogated my grandfather, Josef Jakobs, at Camp 020. Parachuted into England on 31 January 1941, Josef injured his ankle leaving the aircraft and was quickly picked up by the Home Guard the next morning. Josef experienced his first interrogation with Stephens on 2 February 1941 at Camp 020. It

The Spy in the Tower - Review in After the Battle magazine Volume 188

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My journey to uncover the story of Josef Jakobs, my grandfather, really took off when I found the eleventh edition of After the Battle magazine in late 1980s. The two page spread on Josef in the magazine gave me way more information than any I had found to date. After contacting the editor, Winston Ramsey, a whole new world opened up. Winston took me on a tour of some of the sites in London associated with Josef and introduced me to Nigel West. I sent Winston a copy of The Spy in the Tower last year and he said that "It really does stand supreme in the annals of Second World War history and is a wonderful tribute to your grandfather. You have told his story in the most detailed way and I can only guess at the countless hours that you have spent at the keyboard. Every little loose end is researched and I particularly liked your comments in italic in the court martial transcript. And what a good way of putting it all in perspective by telling the Richter story and that of the follo