Showing posts from February, 2017

Duke of York's Headquarters targeted by Luftwaffe during World War 2

Map from a former Luftwaffe Navigator ( Mail Online ) dated November 30, 1941 identifying some of the bombing targets in London. The Mail Online has an interesting article about an old map that has recently come to light. The map, which belonged to a Luftwaffe navigator, was found in an attic of a former WW2 air gunner and likely came from a downed Luftwaffe plane. Dated November 30, 1941, the map identifies some of the key targets for the German bombers. One of the targets was the Duke of York Headquarters (numbered #56 in the map at right). The online newspaper notes that "The Duke of York’s headquarters in Kensington was identified because the court martials of German spies Josef Jakobs and Theodore Schurch were conducted in the building."  Not entirely sure this would be accurate. Theodore Schurch wasn't court-martialed until later in the war (after 1941) and the location of Josef's court martial wasn't revealed in any of the contemporary newspap

A Poem about Josef Jakobs

Josef Jakobs - chair of execution Well, this is interesting. Some budding poet has written a few verses about Josef and his execution . While the poem is short, there is an interesting discussion in the comments from other readers. Most are quite taken with the line: ... but died he did, and the chair never healed. Indeed, a moving line. I would say that most of the commentators are not entirely knowledgeable about the Double-Cross system. The idea that Josef was betrayed by a Welsh Nationalist is a bit of a stretch. Agent SNOW was a double-cross agent... some would even say a triple or quadruple-cross agent. His loyalties have never been firmly established, except perhaps to say that he was loyal only to himself.

Media Review - BBC4 - Majesty & Mortar: Britain's Great Palaces

BBC4 - Majesty & Mortar - Britain's Great Palaces BBC4 - Majesty & Mortar: Britain's Great Palaces (2015) Original Air Date - 2 July 2014 Series - Majesty & Mortar Duration - 59:25 minutes Director - Graham  Cooper Host - Dan Cruickshank Last January, a friend in England informed me that BBC4, Majesty & Mortar had aired a piece which included a reference to Josef Jakobs. It's taken me a while to track down the reference. Naturally, the episode is not available in North America, nor it appears, in the U.K. I did have a more intense snoop around the internet and came across the Daily Motion website which appears to have the entire episode available for viewing, at least here in North America. Not sure how long that will remain the case, given copyright law but... for what it's worth, you can go to this link and see the episode in its entirety. If you'd rather skip ahead to the section on Josef Jakobs, fast forward to the 28 minut

Solved - Kenneth Clifford Howard & His Diaries

1936 Pocket Diary of Kenneth Clifford Howard (National Archives - KV 2/27) For the last few years, I have been scratching away at an irksome little mystery. Within the National Archives' KV 2/27 file on Josef Jakobs are two small diary-style notebooks. Both notebooks were apparently the property of Kenneth C. Howard from Birmingham. They were sent to MI5 by the Birmingham Police in June 1941, but the only spy connection seems to be a reference to Karl Theodore Druecke (a spy who was executed in August 1941). Nowhere in the MI5 files on Josef Jakobs is there any mention of these notebooks nor any questions around Kenneth C. Howard. I've done several blogs on Kenneth and his little notebooks detailing my attempts to solve the mystery: 2015 - Oct - Update on the Hunt for Kenneth C. Howard 2014 - Dec - Kenneth C. Howard's Little Black Book 2014 - Dec - The Mysterious Diary of Kenneth C. Howard 2014 - Oct - The Mystery of the Two Notebooks and a Boy named Kennet

The Untold Story of Jan Willem ter Braak (a.k.a. Engelbertus Fukken)

Spion tegen Churchill by Jan Willem van den Braak (to be published 2017) A friend of mine has been in touch with an author named Jan Willem van den Braak, a dogged researcher who has been tracing the story of a doomed Abwehr spy, Jan Willem ter Braak (no relation to the dogged researcher). Confusing, no? Jan Willem ter Braak (the spy) was found shot in the head in early April 1941, in a an air raid shelter in Cambridge, England. MI5 determined that ter Braak (real name Engelbertus Fukken) had parachuted into England in early November 1940 and lived in Cambridge undetected. They theorized that, despite having a wireless transmitter, he had failed to make contact with his handlers in the German Abwehr. Running short on funds, MI5 guessed that ter Braak had shot himself in the air raid shelter. Much speculation has swirled around ter Braak since then. Did he really fail to make contact with the Abwehr? What was his mission? Did he really commit suicide? Author van den Braak ha

Article Review - Kriminalia Online Magazine - The Executioner at War: Soldiers, Spies & Traitors

Langes Seil Schneller Tod by Traugott Vitz Kirchslager Publishers Article Review - Kriminalia Online Magazine I don't often find anything published on Josef Jakobs in Germany, but... that has changed. Back in October, Michael Kirchschlager of Kriminalia, an online magazine on criminal and legal history, published a brief article stub entitled The Executioner at War: Soldiers, Spies, and Traitors – Der Henker im Krieg: Soldaten, Spione und Verräter . The article stub mentioned both Josef Jakobs and Karel Richter. but points to something beyond itself. At the bottom of the stub, which is presented in both English and Germany, there is a link to a pdf document entitled The Executioner at War: Soldiers, Spies, and Traitors. The pdf document is evidently a chapter (pages 167-253) from the book Langes Seil Schneller Tod: Wie Grossbritannien seine Moerder haengte (Long Rope Quick Death: How Great Britain hanged its Murders) by Traugott Vitz. It looks to me like Kirchschlager i