This is the twenty-first Security Service release and contains 152 files, bringing the total number of its records in the public domain to approximately 4,000.
As with previous releases, nearly three-quarters of the records are personal files relating to individuals (KV 2), with a small number of subject files (KV 3), policy files (KV 4) and list files (KV 6).
The majority of files are from 1939-45 but there are a considerable number from the inter- and post-war periods, dealing with a range of groups and subjects, including: German agents and intelligence officers; Communists; Soviet intelligence agents and officers; right-wing extremists; Italian espionage activities and suspected agents; Czech refugees; and others.
Of the personal files in this release, the most notable include those relating to the Czechoslovak president Eduard Beneš; brother of Lord Haw-Haw Quentin Joyce; James Lonsdale-Bryans, supposed envoy from Lord Halifax to the German hierarchy; British "Scarlet Pimpernel" escaper from Nazi custody Francis Mumme; head of post-Second World War West German intelligence Reinhard von Gehlen; and Communist Cambridge scientist and contact of Guy Burgess, Peter Astbury.
The personal files are listed under the following categories:
- German intelligence agents and suspected agents (KV 2/2830-2854)
- German intelligence officers (KV 2/2855-2868)
- Italian agents (KV 2/2869)
- Soviet intelligence officers (KV 2/2878-2879)
- Soviet intelligence agents and suspected agents (KV 2/2880-2893)
- Right wing extremists (KV 2/2894-2903)
- Communist and suspected Communists, including Russian and Communist sympathisers (KV 2/2904-2941)
- Other subjects of Security Service enquiries (KV 2/2870-2877)
There are also a number of 'untitled' personal files (KV 2/2942-2945). These are files relating to individuals or topics that do not fit squarely into the above categories, including the file relating to Eduard Beneš.
The subject files (KV 3/352-369) contain papers on Italian espionage in Malta, and on the arrest of Soviet agents in Denmark in 1935.
This release includes policy files (KV 4/429-434) dealing with wartime channels for deception, other than double cross agents, and security organisation in Malta during the war.
The list files (KV 6/70-81) include lists of Soviet officials stationed in the UK in the 1940s and 1950s as well as papers on various other individuals of interest to the Security Service.
About the files
A few files have been weeded whilst others have been reconstituted from microfilm of the original document and are therefore in photocopy form. In both cases this is indicated here.
Most personal files include a minute sheet attached to the inside cover, providing a useful index to the file.
Highlights of this release include:
- James Lonsdale-Bryans, who attempted to negotiate a peace with Germany in 1940 with the connivance, if not formal approval, of the Foreign Office
- The London gangland murderer Brian Fitzgerald-Hume
- British Second World War "scarlet pimpernel" Francis Mumme who escaped from the Germans several times and assisted other escapees, but then himself came under suspicion of giving up escapers to the Germans; and his associate Christine Gorman
- Post-war head of West German intelligence Reinhard von Gehlen
- Fascist Air Ministry official and brother of Lord Haw-Haw Quentin Joyce
- Future president of Czechoslovakia Eduard Beneš
- International Brigade veteran and London Communist Party stalwart Solomon Frankel
- Prominent Communist scientist Peter Astbury
- Soviet defectors Joseph and Elizabeth Volodarsky and Alexander Orlov
- Files detailing channels for deception other than double cross agents