German intelligence agents and suspected agents

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German intelligence agents and suspected agents

KV 2/2839

James Lonsdale-Bryans (KV 2/2839) 1939-1952

Lonsdale-Bryans first came to Security Service attention in 1939 through pro-German comments he made in Singapore. An old Etonian short of funds, he seems to have made his way in life by associating with powerful titled sympathisers, including the Duke of Buccleuch and Lord Brocket.

This weeded file records how, after the war began, he was able to travel to Italy with the connivance at least of the Foreign Office, to attempt to negotiate a peace with Germany through the German ambassador in Rome, Ulrich von Hassel.
 
Lonsdale-Bryans proposed a division of spheres of influence: Germany would have free rein in Europe, while Britain would be left unchallenged in the rest of the world.

The file includes letters to the Foreign Secretary, Lord Halifax, where Lonsdale-Bryans explained his views (serial 82a, which also contains a Security Service interrogation of Lonsdale-Bryans). The summary of his activities at serial 116a captures the uncertainty in the Service as to the degree of official backing Lonsdale-Bryans had: "There is no doubt that BRYANS with or without authority from Lord Halifax…endeavoured to go to Germany to contact…Ribbentrop and if possible Hitler himself."

The Foreign Office became acutely aware of the embarrassment of its association with Lonsdale-Bryans, writing in June 1941 (serial 60a): "…a good deal to be said for locking him up…if this is done it will inevitably involve his bringing up the question of his contacts with the Foreign Office."

The file contains photographs of Lonsdale-Bryans (serial 57a).

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Carl Kullmann (KV 2/2842) 1938-1945

Kullmann was a notable Abwehr agent before and during the Second World War, and this file deals with Security Service tracking of his activities in Spain, where he recruited agents. This part of the file includes correspondence on the case with Kim Philby at the Secret Intelligence Service, and a detailed interrogation report taken by the US Army in April 1945 (serials 34B and 58A).

Perhaps the most arresting aspect of the case today is an attempt Kullmann made in 1939 to obtain plans of the Spitfire aircraft. At this time he was based in London, under cover of working for a German telephone company. He had a chance encounter with German-speaking petty criminal, one Peres, who upon realising Kullmann was German quickly invented the story that he had access to Spitfire plans in the hope of getting some money out of Kullmann.

Kullmann offered to pay a substantial sum for the plans, but when Peres could not manage to extract any more than nominal sums from Kullmann, he took his story first to the Daily Express, and then the authorities (again, it is assumed, hoping for payment). While it is clear there was no actual danger of the plans being compromised, it is interesting to note the Germans' willingness to seize upon such a chance and dubious encounter. The eagerness shows the importance the Germans placed upon gaining such intelligence.

The file includes photos of Kullmann (serials 55A and 58A).

KV 2/2848

Francis Mumme (KV 2/2848) 1943-1951 and Christine Gorman (KV 2/2850) 1943-1951

Francis Mumme's file contains detailed accounts of his wartime career, where he repeatedly escaped or evaded capture by the Germans and did important work assisting allied escapees and evaders (for which he received the Military Medal).  The file includes photographs of Mumme.

Post-war press reporting dubbed him a "Scarlet Pimpernel", but the Security Service's interest in him derives from the various reports, included here, that he had passed information to the Germans which led to the capture of British escapees. These arise chiefly from his association with Christine Gorman, who had been the mistress of a Gestapo officer and had supposedly changed her allegiance under pressure from her parents.

There are detailed reports taken by MI9 in 1941 (serial 1a) and the Security Service in March 1944 (serial 20a), and Mumme gives his account of his relationship with Gorman in 1951 (serial 47a). The suggestions of information passing were never confirmed and no action was taken against Mumme.

A summary of Mumme's military career, which includes the detail that he was trained to return as an agent to France in January to September 1942, but was not considered suitable, is at serial 66a of the file of Christine Gorman. This documents Gorman's claims that she had changed her loyalties, in addition to her approach to the American military in Paris in 1944 with offers to provide intelligence and continue as an agent in Lille.  The Americans did not take up her offer and she was handed over to the French authorities. She was eventually sentenced to hard labour for life in 1946 for denouncing British escapees to the Germans.

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