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German Intelligence Agents and Suspected Agents

Henry Addicks (KV 2/1924-1925)

The case of Henry Addicks is an interesting and unusual one, involving German attempts to spy on French naval installations from Britain which were in part foiled by a British double agent, but were mostly scuppered by the addiction of the main parties to alcohol. These files have been weeded.

KV 2/1924 (1917-1945) traces Addicks' early career, drawing together references to him as a German naval intelligence agent based in The Hague during the First World War after he tried to recruit a British agent in 1935. By this time, Addicks was working as London agent of the Bremen Exporters Association, using this as cover for his espionage activities. He approached a Territorial Army officer, Eric Newman-Hall, to be his agent and obtain information on French targets. Newman-Hall reported this approach to the authorities, who encouraged him to play along as a double agent. The Security Service acted to prevent the Secret Intelligence Service taking action against Addicks and Newman-Hall when they travelled to France, and liaised with their French counterparts over the case. The file, which includes photographs of Addicks and Newman-Hall, contains much original correspondence from Newman-Hall to his Security Service handlers, reports of the types of information Addicks was being asked to find, and accounts of his and Newman-Halls' trips to France. Newman-Hall is described (serial 173a) as "a very poor conspirator who in addition appears to suffer frequently form alcoholic hysteria", and it was this that persuaded Brigadier Harker to recommend that the case be wound up. Addicks and Newman-Hall are further described (serial 469a) as "drunken n'er do wells". Unsurprisingly, once the Security Service withdrew its cover for Newman-Hall, Addicks' enterprise faltered. He was soon dismissed both by his overt and covert employers. He left Britain for South Africa, resurfacing in Germany in 1939 in the propaganda ministry. There are records on the file suggesting that he tried to re-enter Britain to try to penetrate the Secret Intelligence Service. The Security Service conducted a number of interviews with one of Addicks' associates, Mrs Ramsay (aka Miss Burns) who Addicks had offered to marry if she could secure a divorce. Ramsay (who is described as being "oiled" in preparation for one of her interviews) supplied further photographs of Addicks and affectionate post cards that he had sent to her, which remain on the file.

Addicks eventually served in the German army, was taken prisoner and held in a prisoner of war transit camp in Italy, from where he wrote to another female associate in Britain. This letter was intercepted, and resulted in Addicks being interviewed by British army intelligence in Germany after the war. Copies of the letter and his interview records and statements, where he claims to have acted for mercenary reasons and to have only fed low-grade intelligence to the Germans, are on KV 2/1925. The file closes with correspondence surrounding the revocation of Addicks' South African certificate of naturalisation.

Kuno Weltzein (KV 2/1930)

Kuno Weltzein was a key figure in German intelligence in Portugal until his expulsion in October 1943, when the Portuguese authorities suspected it was he who had passed a message about airplane schedules to the German military that resulted in actor Leslie Howard's plane being shot down over the Atlantic. This file on Weltzein's activities includes a detailed assessment made by the Security Service in July 1942, and a detailed critique of that assessment by the Secret Intelligence Officer who dealt with it, Kim Philby. The file highlights real difficulties faced by SIS when dealing overseas with counter-espionage cases that were more the Security Service's field of expertise, but it is the venomous reaction to Philby's correspondence that is perhaps the most interesting feature of the file.

The file itself barely mentions the Howard case – the only reference is a clipping from the Evening Standard from December 1943 reporting that Weltzein had been expelled from Portugal, and the Service's reaction focuses entirely on the expulsion, not the loss of the plane and its passengers. The rest of the file contains reports from various sources on Weltzein's contacts and actions, which may have covered the whole range of intelligence activities, from collecting and passing on information to despatching agents to England to acting as controller for other German agents in the Portuguese Atlantic islands. After his expulsion from Portugal in 1943, Weltzein is reported to have gone on working in Paris, but after the war attempts to trace him either there or elsewhere prove futile – and he seems effectively to have disappeared. The file includes a photograph of Weltzein.

For those interested in Weltzein and German intelligence organisations in Portugal, there are six further files being released at this time relating to the organisation of the Abwehr in Portugal during the Second World War. These are KV 3/170-175, covering 1940 to 1945, which include general correspondence on this subject detailing the extensive German networks in Portugal, which was used both for gathering intelligence and for despatching agents to Britain. A number of the double cross agents arrived in Britain through this route. The files contain several lists of German personnel and agents in the country at various times, and reports on their activities from various sources. KV 3/175 includes correspondence documenting the efforts of the British authorities to persuade the Portuguese government to arrest or expel key German figures. KV 3/171 contains a photograph of one of the Germans listed in this connection, the typist to the German air attaché in Lisbon, Ingeborg Evert.

Nicolay Hansen (KV 2/1936)

This heavily weeded file on Norwegian suspected German agent Nicolay Hansen remains of interest because of the unusual circumstances of the case. The file, which includes several photographs of Hansen, tells in some detail the story of how he came to be working for the Germans and was dropped by parachute into Scotland in September 1943 carrying two radio sets. He surrendered himself to the authorities, via two lorry drivers carrying loads of Abredeen herring through the night at Fraserburgh, and handed over his wireless sets with a story that one was to be handed in, the other hidden. After he was released from custody and had found a job in the Scottish coalmines he was to have retrieved the second set and begun relaying messages to Germany. However, secret writing material was found hidden in one of Hansen's tooth cavities by interrogators at Camp 020, and it was realised that this whole story might itself be a ruse and he may have been intended to communicate by letter rather than wireless. The idea was considered, and quickly discarded, to use Hansen as a double agent; and then there was a lengthy debate about whether he could be prosecuted without jeopardising the safety of Camp 020. The file includes very detailed reports on the case and chronologies of the tale according to Hansen, and includes such items of interest as the reports of the lorry drivers who first found him, and assessments of Hansen's capabilities and characters. Hansen was detained for the remainder of the war.

Frank Stringer (KV 2/1951)

The file relating to Frank Stringer records an interesting case of an Irish soldier in the British army, who was captured by the Germans in Guernsey because of being held in a civilian prison at the time of the invasion in 1940 when his unit was withdrawn. He was held as a prisoner of war, and subsequently elected to join one of the foreign SS units created by the Germans (acquiring along the way the trademark SS tattoo under his arm of his blood group), before according to his own account taking part in many espionage activities. He gave himself up to allied forces at the end of the war and was held at Brussels for some months before it was decided to court martial him for breaches of the Army Act.

The file gives, through Stringer's own statement and the various interrogation reports, a very full account of his wartime history, including his training and service while part of the SS-Jagdverband Mitte, 1943-1945. Since by his own account Stringer had served in the German army there was no doubt in British eyes as to his guilt, but there were severe difficulties in confirming that he was indeed the person he claimed to be, and in establishing that he was still, legally, a British soldier at the time of his service in the German army. Much of the later part of the file is taken up with efforts to establish his true identity. The file closes with the decision to court martial Stringer, apart from a single reference in 1950 noting his release from prison. The file includes photographs of Stringer, and a copy of his army service record.