Security Service release: Introduction
This is the twenty-fourth Security Service records release and contains 196 files, bringing the total number of its records in the public domain to more than 4,300.
As with previous releases, around 80% of the records are personal files relating to individuals (KV 2), with a small number of subject files (KV 3), policy files (KV 4), organisation files (KV 5) and list files (KV 6).
The files cover subjects from the pre-war period, the Second World War and the post-war period, dealing with a range of groups and subjects.
Personal files are listed under the following categories:
- German intelligence agents and suspected agents (KV 2/3114-3132)
- Other espionage cases (KV 2/3133-3156)
- German intelligence officers (KV 2/3157-3163)
- Subjects of Security Service enquiries (KV 2/3164-3181 and KV 2/2261-2264)
- Soviet intelligence agents and suspected agents (KV 2/3182-3186)
- Right-wing extremists (KV 2/3187-3196)
- Communists and suspected communists, including Russian, and Communist sympathisers (KV 2/3197-3264)
Subject files (KV 3/372-382) in this release include files on Communist activities among musicians and actors (KV 3/375-380), Communism in the UK during 1925-1933 (KV 3/382) and Japanese espionage in India (KV 3/373).
Policy files (KV 4/443-445) in this release cover subjects including the history of the MI5 surveillance unit (KV 4/443) and policy on the interception of private telephone lines (KV 4/445).
Organisation files (KV 5/84-107) in this release include files detailing investigation into the activities of the Hitler Youth in the UK in the years leading up to the Second World War (KV 5/84-89).
There are also three List files (KV 6/101-103) concerning Hungarian-born Edward de Grunchy, who escaped from a German prisoner of war camp in 1941 and arrived in Britain with a suspicious story which lead to his detention on security grounds.
A few files have been weeded while others have been reconstituted from microfilm of the original document and are therefore in photocopy form.
Most personal files include a minute sheet attached to the inside cover, providing a useful index to the file.
For the purposes of this press event we have highlighted a selection of the key files, focusing on personal, policy and organisation files.
Highlights of this release include:
- American film director, Carl Nathan Foreman, who left the USA in 1952 because of his left-wing views (KV 2/3262)
- Irish playwright Brendan Behan, sentenced to 14 years imprisonment in Dublin for the attempted murder of two detectives (KV 2/3181)
- Rudolph Gottfried Rosel, expelled from Britain in 1939 after attempting to instigate a 'Fifth Column' or group who would try to secretly undermine Britain from within (KV 2/3188)
- Sidney Stanley, principal witness at the Lynskey Tribunal, who was due to be deported to Poland but disappeared to Israel instead (KV 2/3176)
- An investigation into the activities of the Hitler Youth and the apparent threat of 'Spyclists' (KV 5/85 and KV 5/89)
- Hitler Youth officials looking to align themselves with the British Scout organisation (KV 5/87)
- A file looking into potential links between the Communist Party and the 'Theatre Workshop' (KV 2/3178-3180)
- Joseph Gerard Andrews, the 'undesirable peddler of information' with links to the IRA, who was contacted by German agents (KV 2/3119-31120)
- The unusual case of Weber Strebel, a Swiss journalist recruited by the Germans in 1939 but who apparently had little intention of sending through any information (KV 2/3121)
- The glamorous and 'unscrupulous' Czech, Sophia Alexandra Clapham-Kukralova, suspected of being a German agent (KV 2/3122)
- William Burges, an army major and employee of Woolwich Arsenal who was arrested and charged under the Officials Secret Act (KV 2/3164)