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centurion

German Espionage in the UK

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centurion

Lots of stuff on spy scares in Britain 1914/15 and interment of German, Austro Hungarian and Turkish civilians plus the shooting of some Germans for espionage in the Tower but very little on how extensive or successful German spying was in Britain (the one's shot obviously represent the unsuccessful efforts). I know that by its very nature successful secret activity leaves little obvious trace but there is a reasonable amount of stuff to indicate that the Germans had some success in France (reports on the impending Nivelle offensive and French tank development come to mind). Is there anything concrete to indicate if Germany had any success in the UK?

Sort of on the same topic I have read reports of German use of British and French news papers to gather intelligence. Is there any evidence of Allied efforts to get misinformation into Germany by this route?

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MikeMeech

Hi

Probably the 'best' book on the subject of German espionage in Britain during WW1 is 'The Defence of the Realm' by Christopher Andrew, this is the authorized history of MI5. Chapter 1 - 'Spies of the Kaiser': Counter-Espionage before the First World War. and Chapter 2 - The First World War: Part 1 - The Failure of German Espionage. The title of Chapter 2 is a clue to what the author believes from the evidence.

The Germans did of course carry out quite a successful Sabotage campaign in the USA (even before the US entered the war) that came to light long after the event, as it was believed to be 'accidents', at least according to some TV docs.

Mike

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centurion

Hi

Probably the 'best' book on the subject of German espionage in Britain during WW1 is 'The Defence of the Realm' by Christopher Andrew, this is the authorized history of MI5. Chapter 1 - 'Spies of the Kaiser': Counter-Espionage before the First World War. and Chapter 2 - The First World War: Part 1 - The Failure of German Espionage. The title of Chapter 2 is a clue to what the author believes from the evidence.

The Germans did of course carry out quite a successful Sabotage campaign in the USA (even before the US entered the war) that came to light long after the event, as it was believed to be 'accidents', at least according to some TV docs.

Mike

The Dark Invader is a good German account of the sabotage. I was wondering if there was anything similar on espionage

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Scalyback

The Dark Invader is a good German account of the sabotage. I was wondering if there was anything similar on espionage

MI6, The history of the Secret Intelligence Service 1909 to 1949 by keith Jeffery covers the SIS aspect and covers more of the information from the MI5 tome.

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seaforths

'Mony German spies were bonny - The German lady spy Eva, who came ashore off the mouth of the Gollachy Burn in September 1940 has always been described as beautiful. In 1915 an article in the Banffshire advertiser read as follows, " Long before the war it was known that Germany employed hundreds of feminine spies- beautiful Society women in many cases". The report goes on to give a number of examples of which proof was given. For example plans of Gibraltar fell into enemy hands being made from rough sketches drawn by a young German girl who had spent some time on the rock while on holiday a number of years before.'

Extract from the following site: http://www.buckieheritage.org/pdf/1915.pdf

Elgin archive has copies of the Banffshire advertiser. I know of a Forum Pal that goes if you wish to follow it up further. He has obtained a couple of articles for me in the past. Please let me know if you wish to follow it up and I will pass on his details.

Strange coincidence I was walking my dog at the mouth of Gollachy Burn week before last and photographing the seals there. I didn't realise that was where they came ashore although I knew one of them tried to get on a train at Portgordon as my mother's cousin saw him and then witnessed his arrest as the village bobby was summoned...

Beautiful society women...sounds a bit Mata Hari like.

Edit: Date of article 3rd June 1915

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centurion

MI6, The history of the Secret Intelligence Service 1909 to 1949 by keith Jeffery covers the SIS aspect and covers more of the information from the MI5 tome.

Yes I already have that

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centurion

'Mony German spies were bonny - The German lady spy Eva, who came ashore off the mouth of the Gollachy Burn in September 1940 has always been described as beautiful. In 1915 an article in the Banffshire advertiser read as follows, " Long before the war it was known that Germany employed hundreds of feminine spies- beautiful Society women in many cases". The report goes on to give a number of examples of which proof was given. For example plans of Gibraltar fell into enemy hands being made from rough sketches drawn by a young German girl who had spent some time on the rock while on holiday a number of years before.'

Extract from the following site: http://www.buckieheritage.org/pdf/1915.pdf

Elgin archive has copies of the Banffshire advertiser. I know of a Forum Pal that goes if you wish to follow it up further. He has obtained a couple of articles for me in the past. Please let me know if you wish to follow it up and I will pass on his details.

Strange coincidence I was walking my dog at the mouth of Gollachy Burn week before last and photographing the seals there. I didn't realise that was where they came ashore although I knew one of them tried to get on a train at Portgordon as my mother's cousin saw him and then witnessed his arrest as the village bobby was summoned...

Beautiful society women...sounds a bit Mata Hari like.

Edit: Date of article 3rd June 1915

A good example of the many scares 1914/15 The German efforts to land spies in 1940 were covered in an article written by Graham Greene many years ago, to say that they were amateurish is to insult amateurs

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Scalyback

Just browsing Armour Against Fate by Michael Occleshaw. Footnotes and refrences so further options to explore from there.

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Phil Tomaselli

Though expensive (about £50 if memory serves me correctly) Spies of the Kaiser – German Covert Operations in Great Britain during the First World War Era by Thomas Boghardt (Palgrave MacMillan, 2004) is a much more sober and well researched examination of the realities of the situation based on German records than most. They switched tactics in August 1914 and used a large number of visitors from neutral Holland and Scandinavia (some of whom were actually German) who landed, did a reporting tour and left again. They seem to have got quite a number through in 1915 but MI5 severely tightened port security and by late 1916 not many were getting through at all. It does appear that the Germans continued to use neutrals (particularly Dutch), worked with the Japanese who were our allies so could legitimately send officers here and also neutral diplomats (Mr Zulueta of the Spanish Embassy was one) and neutral Americans. As security got tighter they relied more and more on visiting foreign merchant navy crews to pick up what they could. Early on (1915) I'd suggest pretty successful; by 1917/18 far less so.

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Mike763222

A number of MI5 files from WW1 relating to German spies have been made available to freely download by The National Archives. Mostly they are prefixed KV, though some can also be found under MEPO (Met Police). Click this link to explore further. The Mata Hari files are also downloadable.

Mike

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Moonraker

Tonight on BBC4 at 2030: "World War One at Home - The Spies who Loved Folkestone - how the town became a wartime hotbed of espionage".

Moonraker

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Moonraker

Not at all a bad programme, though I twitched when that familiar clip of the soldier carrying his wounded comrade along the trench was shown! I did wonder about the comment concerning one or two revealing Government files being allowed to go to the National Archives and the need to redact a couple of pages before they could be released to the public.

I see that we have discussed Louise de Bettignies some time ago

here

Moonraker

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