Files concerning sabotage in Gibraltar

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Files concerning sabotage in Gibraltar

This release includes a number of files relating to Second World War sabotage carried out against shipping and other targets in Gibraltar, concerning those organising and controlling the attacks. Of these the first, Friedrich Hummel, was also responsible for sabotage against the advancing allied forces in Western Europe after D-Day.

Friedrich Hummel (KV 2/3014) 1942-1947

Hummel first came to the attention of British intelligence as attaché in the German embassy in Madrid. He was described as being the head of German sabotage operations in Spain from 1942 and his role is detailed first in interrogation reports of other German figures who had been in contact with him, and finally in Hummel's own interrogation report, taken by the Americans in 1945. In this reconstituted file we read for example of the attempted Flußkaempfer (swimming sabotage) attacks against an American pontoon bridge at Remagen (serial 25a), which Hummel supervised. Hummel had also hidden caches of sabotage equipment in various south-eastern Spanish cities against a possible allied invasion, and sketch maps of the locations of these caches are included in the American interrogation report at serial 29a.

Sanchez Rubio (KV 2/3001-3002) 1936-1956

Lieutenant Colonel Sanchez Rubio was the head of the Spanish intelligence service effort against Gibraltar before and during the Second World War, and these two files document in detail his activities as revealed in source reports and correspondence from other agencies, including his involvement in sabotage. KV 2/3001 discusses at length the concerns that Rubio was abusing his official Spanish role by also carrying out work on behalf of the German and Italian intelligence services. There is correspondence (for example at serial 56a) between Lord Rothschild and Kim Philby at the Secret Intelligence Service on the handling of the case - which resulted in Foreign Office complaints to the Spanish regarding Rubio's behaviour, as recorded on KV 2/3002. This file goes on to detail post-war observation of Rubio's activities (there was particular concern that he might be placed in control of the entry points into Gibraltar), and includes discussion of the possibility that British agents might make contact with him and feed controlled information to him. The file includes photos of 'reinforced clam' type sabotage mines and of Sanchez Rubio's villa at La Linea.

Guilo Pistono (KV 2/3018) 1936-1944

This reconstituted file shows how Pistono was suspected as an Italian agent as early as 1943, when he was based outside Algeciras on a farm which he showed little interest in running successfully. He was viewed with particular suspicion because, as a successful engineer, he was constructing a house for a British officer which commanded views to Gibraltar and Cueta. The suspicion was that he was running agents in Gibraltar and sending intelligence by wireless to Italy. A summary of this early part of his career is at serial 12a. In 1943 he re-emerged as Italian consul in Algeciras, from where he ran human torpedo and midget submarine sabotage missions against Gibraltarian targets from the Italian tanker Ottera. Pistono himself contacted the British vice consul at Algeciras to admit his responsibility for this after the Italian capitulation in September 1943. He was interviewed by the British authorities (serial 26a) and this was followed by an inconclusive debate about whether Pistono could be used against the Germans in Spain.