Freedom of information logo

Introduction

Back

Introduction

This is the first release of Security Service records since the full implementation of the Freedom of Information Act in January 2005. Though exempt from the Act, the Security Service will continue to make records available to researchers. This, the twelfth and largest ever release of Security Service records, contains 357 files, bringing the total number of its records in the public domain to nearly 2,500. Here is a brief overview and description of the most interesting and noteworthy files.

As with previous releases the bulk of 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).

Most of the files are from 1939-45 but there are many from the inter- and post- war periods, dealing with a range of groups and subjects, including: right-wing extremists; German agents and intelligence officers; British and colonial Communists and suspected Communists, the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) and related groups; Soviet intelligence agents and intelligence officers; Comintern; various Jewish groups and organisations; and German espionage activity in the Second World War period.

Of the personal files in this release, the most notable include those relating to the writers Arthur Ransome (KV 2/1903-1904) and C L R James (KV 2/1824-1825), singer and actor Paul Robeson (KV 2/1829-1830), Scottish Communist MP William Gallagher (KV 2/1753-1755), the colonial independence and nationalist campaigners Jomo Kenyatta (KV 2/1787-1789) and Kwame Nkrumah (KV 2/1847-1851), and life-long political activist Fenner Brockway (KV 2/1917-1921).

Highlights of the release include:

  • Glasgow Communist MP William Gallagher
  • Files on leaders in the post-war colonial independence and pan-African nationalist movements including Jomo Kenyatta, Kwame Nkrumah and C L R James
  • Singer and actor Paul Robeson
  • Journalist and author Arthur Ransome
  • Political activist and pacifist Fenner Brockway
  • A file on the use made by the German intelligence services of the BBC European Service for broadcasting covert messages
  • Henry Robinson, a Comintern worker and Soviet Intelligence agent, whose flat in Paris was raided by the Germans, who used papers found there to gain a lead on the Rote Kapelle spy ring. The papers fell into British hands at the end of the war and were in turn used to investigate leads on various Soviet agents
  • British post-war policy on internment and detention camps in time of emergencies
  • Suspected wartime fifth column activities
  • Papers on Security Service investigations into the Comintern
  • The wartime defence of Gibraltar.