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Showing posts from May, 2016

New Josef Jakobs Website in the Works

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It's time for a change.

For the last few years, I've had the Josef Jakobs website hosted on Moonfruit. It was easy. It was cheap. But a few weeks ago, I got a new laptop with Windows 10 and McAfee Anti-Virus. I tried to update the website and McAfee had a snit-fit and told me it was not a safe site. Come again? I overrode McAfee eventually but... the experience made me pause.


Moonfruit has been urging me to update my site to HTML5, but I've heard that it muddles up your website quite badly and... I didn't really want to deal with that. Plus, I've been meaning to rejig the site for a while. The News section is getting ridiculously long and confusing (even to me)!
A bit of research revealed that the old version of Moonfruit uses Flash which is apparently quite susceptible to attacks, hence the McAfee alarms. Well then, if I'm going to have to upgrade Moonfruit and go through the hassle, why not move elsewhere?

Sooo... I have been researching other website builder…

The Ruins of RAF Upwood

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I came across a few interesting sites that document the abandoned RAF Upwood base near Ramsey, Huntingdonshire. German spy, Josef Jakobs, landed near Ramsey on January 31, 1941 and MI5 speculated at the time that he might have been sent to snoop around the airbase. While Josef had a Shell Touring Map of England in his possession, he most definitely did not have a map of RAF Upwood.

A couple of penciled marks on the map seemed to coincide with RAF Upwood and RAF Warboys, but are not perfect matches to either location. As mentioned in the previous blog post, the circle on Josef's map likely marks the place where the German aircrew of his plane hoped to cross into the general drop zone. The "x" on the map marks the likely location of where the aircrew hoped to drop Josef.

The site, Behind Closed Doors, has a nice series of photographs of the old RAF Upwood base. A short write-up on the site notes that:
"In February 1941 a German spy named Josef Jakobs was discovered …

A Theory for the Marks on Josef Jakobs' Shell Touring Map

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When German spy Josef Jakobs parachuted into a potato filed on Dovehouse Farm the night of January 31, 1941, he had a Shell Touring Map in his possession. The map was a fold-out variety and relatively small-scale. Not the best map for a would-be spy!


When MI5 examined the map, they noticed that a triangle had been drawn on one of the sheets connecting Peterborough, Bedford and Cambridge. According to Josef, this was the area in which the German aircrew said they would drop him.

Within that triangle were two other marks, a penciled "x" and a small circle. The penciled line under the word Ramsey was added by the President of Josef's General Court Martial and is noted in the court martial transcripts. Ramsey actually lies outside the boundaries of the triangle and given that Josef was dropped southeast of Ramsey, this suggests that the aircrew did not have exceptionally precise navigation.
There was much speculation in 1941 as to what the penciled "x" and circle c…

Long Shot on discovering the death date of Lt. Col. Robin William George Stephens

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For the last few years, I've been scratching away at the personal history of Tin-Eye (Robin W.G.) Stephens, former commandant of MI5s secret interrogation centre, Camp 020.

I've discovered quite a bit about Tin-Eye - his parents, his brother who died in WWI, the death of his second wife. But the death of Stephens continues to elude me. I even ordered his military records from the British Army Personnel department - they were sketchy to say the least.

There is one long shot that I haven't tried yet - the informant at the death of his second wife. But it's a seriously long shot. Let me walk you through it and maybe someone can suggest a way forward.

In the late 1920s, Stephens married Phyllis Gwendolyn Fletcher (nee Townshand) in India. They divorced in 1933 in London.

After that, there is no record of Stephens ever getting married again except... in Oliver Hoare's introduction to the book Camp 020, there is a photograph of Stephens with his second wife - Joan Gerald…