Showing posts from April, 2016

Photos from the Field Trip with Karel Richter

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote two posts which I hope brought some clarity to the location of Karel Richter's landing site.

The first looked at the possibility that Karel had sheltered at the Cherry Green Leaves camp northeast of London Colney.

The second delved more deeply into determining, with some certainty, the landing site of Karel Richter and the location of his equipment stashes.

A series of photographs taken by Camp 020 psychologist Dr. Harold Dearden during the field trip in mid-May 1941 were of great help. Whilst writing the second post above, it became clear, in looking at Dearden's photographs, that they were taken at two separate locations. One set was taken where Richter stashed his parachute. The second set was taken where Richter stashed his radio gear.

I thought I would try to assign each photograph to the relevant location.

Location 1 - Parachute Stash - just off White Horse Lane
According to a report by Capt. Stimson (May 18, 1941), the first stash included:…

Karel Richter at the Centre of a Conspiracy Theory

Given that Josef Jakobs and Karel Richter trained together in Hamburg under the Abwehr, I am always interested in information on Richter. Sifting through the internet the other day, I came across a rather odd article and even odder site that mentioned Richter.

The site is called the Online Publishing Company (OPC) and is run by Giovanni Di Stefano, a convicted fraudster according to Wikipedia. Soooo... let's just say that the site and its authors seem a bit dubious.

[N.B. I didn't snoop around the site too much as it seemed a bit sketchy to me.]

The article "Two Historic Convictions, Executions and An Urgent Appeal To Our Readers" is written by "Giovanni Di Stefano & Caroline Bayford" and dated 2014-06-26.

The first "historic conviction" is that of Anthony Mancini. The second is that of Karel Richter.

The article includes a photograph of Karel Richter - the one from the National Archives but there was no acknowledgement of the photo's sou…

Landing Site of German Spy Karel Richter

Last week, I wrote a blog in which I tried to figure out the 1941 parachute landing site of German spy Karel Richter. A map drawn by Camp 020 officer, D.B. Stimson, gave some clues but also had its fair share of problems, most notably a mysterious row of houses and an odd North direction.
Since then, I've had an email chat with Tony, a researcher/writer who's been working on the story of another spy, Jan Willem Ter Braak a.k.a. Engelbertus Fukken. Tony knows the London Colney area fairly well and his thoughts and comments spurred me to dig a bit deeper.

The last time I visited the National Archives, I took photographs of some papers from the MI5 files associated with Karel Richter. As happy circumstance would have it, one of the images from Richter's trial included a sketch map of his landing site. The sketch map is an order of magnitude better than Stimson's map. The North direction is relatively accurate and the map clearly shows the country lane near which Richter l…

Article Review - BBC History Magazine - The Secret History of Spies

Today, I received three courtesy copies of a BBC History magazine entitled The Secret History of Spies. I had been contacted last year by the magazine's Picture Editor about supplying a copy of Josef's photograph. In return, they sent me copies of the magazine.

It is a nice-looking piece of work and covers a range of topics - everything from spying during the American Civil War to modern day "spies" like Edward Snowden.

One section covers spying during World War II. It is understandably difficult within the space of 6 pages for any publication to cover the complexities of espionage during the Second World War. Volumes of books have been written about that era and more continue to be written. The author of that section had a difficult task.

The entire Double Cross system gets about 250 words, and Josef gets a cameo appearance.

"Much like the military, British intelligence had to fight on all fronts during the war. Back at home, the security service MI5 was respo…

Clearing up Memories of German Spy Karel Richter

In the early morning hours of May 12, German spy, Karel Richter landed by parachute near London Colney. Originally a Czech citizen from the Sudetenland, in 1938, Karel suddenly found himself a defacto German when the Sudetenland was appropriated by Nazi Germany. A seaman by trade, Karel abandoned ship with the declaration of war in 1939 but was eventually nabbed by the German authorities and thrown into prison.

After kicking his heels in prison for a few months, Karel was "encouraged" to take on an espionage mission to England for the German Intelligence Service (Abwehr) but, as with many of the 1940/41 spies, he was a lackluster agent.

After burying most of his gear upon landing, including his food, Karel hid in the wood near his landing site for several nights. Finally, on the evening of May 14, Karel snuck out of hiding and made his unsteady way to a nearby roadway. Two men in a lorry asked him for directions to London and his mumbled and surly reply aroused their suspic…