Capture of Karel Richter

Extract from the MI5 account of the capture of Karel Richter, 1941-1942, Catalogue ref: KV 2/32

Karel Richter was a 29 year old Sudeten German who was caught and executed in 1941 for being a spy. He had parachuted into England on 12 May 1941 and was captured just two days later after hiding out in a field. It was his first mission.

Richter became a spy after trying to escape from Germany. He was deported from Sweden because he did not have the right papers. When he arrived back in Germany he was sent to a concentration camp. Richter was then offered his freedom if he agreed to become a spy.



M.I.5. R E P O R T.

On the 14th May, 1941, at about 10.20 p.m, War Reserve Police constable A. J. Scott of the Hertfordshire County Constabulary was on duty on the North Orbital Road near the Roundabout, London Colney.

He saw two lorry drivers standing on the footpath on the South side of the road. Their lorry was just opposite, and a man who was later found to be RICHTER was standing some ten yards away. The lorry drivers asked the Constable the way to the North, saying that they had already asked the man nearby but that he appeared to be a foreigner and wanted to go to hospital. The Constable directed the lorry drivers on their way. He did not obtain the number of the lorry or the names of the drivers, and thus it has not been possible to trace these two men. He then spoke to RICHTER, asking him where he was going. RICHTER said that he was going to Cambridge but that he felt ill, could go no further and wished to go to hospital. The Constable asked for his identity card and RICHTER produced an identity card in the name of SNYDER of 14 Duckett Street, E.1. RICHTER further said that he had just come from Ipswich and had been given a lift on a motor lorry.

Constable Scott informed Sergeant Palmer of St. Albans by telephone and remained with RICHTER until shortly afterwards Sergeant Palmer arrived on the spot. The Sergeant put certain questions to RICHTER, in the course of which RICHTER said that he had been to Cromer, Norwich, Cambridge and Bury St. Edmunds, and wished to return to Cambridge. Sergeant Palmer decided to take RICHTER to Fleetville Police Station, and on arrival there RICHTER produced a Czech passport. There was no endorsement upon it showing where RICHTER had landed in the United Kingdom. He was searched and upon him was found:-

£551.10. 0. In English notes, 1,400 American dollars, and some Dutch notes and coins.

He had with him also a ration book, a compass, and a portion of a map of East Anglia.

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