German intelligence agents and suspected agents

Return to list

German intelligence agents and suspected agents

Gastao de Freitas Ferraz (KV 2/2946-2947) 1942-1946

The Portuguese cod-fishing fleet which operated in the North-West Atlantic during the Second World War afforded great potential cover for German agents to report on weather conditions, shipping movements and so on. One such agent recruited by the Abwehr was de Freitas Ferraz. He was the radio operator on the fishing fleet depot ship Gil Eannes, and ULTRA decrypts picked up communications that indicated him as an agent in July 1942. Efforts were made to arrest de Freitas Ferraz in Canada, but the Gil Eannes sailed and, as recorded on this file, it was agreed that the Navy should remove him from the ship while it was at sea. The significance of the case was that ,when intercepted, the Gil Eannes was close on the tail of the convoy carrying troops for the allied landings in North Africa – so his removal at sea was a vital part of ensuring the convoy's safety as it made its way across the Atlantic, and that of the Operation TORCH landings. De Freitas Ferraz was taken to Gibraltar and then to Britain, where after interrogation at Camp 020 he confessed his role. As this file records, his confession was vital in managing the diplomatic repercussions of this case with Portugal.

This reconstituted file (parts of which are reproduced in relatively poor quality from the deteriorated microfilm original) gives details of the tracking of the Gil Eannes' movements, investigations into de Freitas Ferraz, the decision to arrest him at sea (serial 29a and following), his statement, confession (serial 59a) and life story (serial 61x). Material relating to plans to spread rumours in Portugal about de Freitas Ferraz' fate in Lisbon to discourage others who might be tempted to work for the Germans is at serial 67b. The Camp 020 interim report on the case is at serial 78b. These serials are all on KV 2/2946. The following file details the handling of de Freitas Ferraz through to the end of the war and his deportation to Portugal in September 1945. This file includes poor quality photographs of de Freitas Ferraz.

This release also includes the Security Service file on Kaspar Haslinger (KV 2/2951, 1938-1951). Haslinger was a German businessman based in Newcastle in the 1930s, whose activities at the time raised suspicions. He left England for the last time in 1938 but, after the war, documents captured from the Abwehr station in Bremen confirmed that he had indeed been spying for Germany, and had passed on reports regarding Gosforth airfield and the submarine base at Blyth.

Go to Discovery to view KV 2/2946

Go to Discovery to view KV 2/2947