Radio Secret Security Service
Radioamateurs ingezet voor geheime opdracht.
Radioamateur enthousiastelingen, ook wel HAMS genoemd, speelden een belangrijke rol in de geheime draadloze spionage oorlog tussen 1939 en 1945. Zij voorzagen Bletchley Park van de noodzakelijke morse berichten die de codebrekers daar in staat stelden Duitse berichten te ontcijferen. Zij stonden bekend als Vrijwillige Afluisteraars waarvan er zo'n 1200 werden aangetrokken. Sommigen van hen kregen de macht om een wereld binnen te komen waar zeer geheime radio activiteit gaande was. Toen de Tweede Wereld Oorlog begon moesten zij hun zenders inleveren, maar zij mochten hun ontvangers houden, de RSS had hiermee de middelen om amateurs naar vijandig radioverkeer te laten luisteren vanuit hun eigen huis of zelfs vanuit hun tuinhuisje!
Tijdens de hoogtij dagen beschikte de RSS over 2094 medewerkers, dit waren 98 officieren, 1317 operators, 83 technici and 471 administratieve krachten. Verder nog 125 kantoorbediendes en de 1200 radioamateur afluisteraars. Gedurende de oorlog beschikte Bletchley Park over 268.000 onderschepte berichten, de piek werd bereikt in mei 1944, toen werden 282 berichten ontvangen. Van alle berichten waren het 97.000 met de hand gecodeerde berichten van de Abwehr en 140.000 berichten die middels de Engima machine versleuteld werden. De tegenstanders van de RSS, de Sicherheits Dienst, wist slechts 13.000 berichten te onderscheppen.
Enthousiaste amateurs met een onkreukbare geheimhouding.
De behoefte om te kunnen beschikken over een gespecialiseerde organisatie die in staat zou kunnen zijn om vanuit Engeland geheim radioverkeer te kunnen onderscheppen werd al onderkend in 1928. Er werd vanuit het ministerie van Oorlog op aangedrongen om een organisatie op te zetten met onbetaalde vrijwilligers die over een onkreukbaar gevoel voor geheimhouding beschikten. In 1933 begon de organisatie vorm te krijgen die uiteindelijk uit zou monden in de Radio Security Service. In 1939 werden veel radioamateus opgeroepen voor de Reserve RAF Burger Verbindingsdienst - later werden dit de 'Vrijwillige RAF Reservisten' - de 'Territoriale Leger Verbindingsdienst Eenheid' en de 'Koninklijke Marine Vrijwillige Radio Reservisten'. In die tijd moesten radiomateurs die over een zendvergunning wilden beschikken aantonen dat zij de Morse Code beheersten en dit maakte hen extra waardevol voor de nieuwe organisatie die door de Britse geheime dienst werd opgezet om geheim radioverkeer in de gaten te houden. De informatie die zij naar Bletchley Park stuurden was in feite het ruwe materiaal dat nodig was om de vijandelijke codes en versleuteling te kunnen breken. Verder waren er ook nog radioamateurs die over een grote hoeveelheid technische kennis beschikten, zij speelden een grote rol in het ontwikkelen van tegenmaatregelen, tegen bijvoorbeeld Duitse luchtaanvallen, het onschadelijk maken van magnetische mijnen, het ontwikkelen van UHF frequentiegebruik en zij traden op als instructeur op radio- en radar scholen.
Radioamateurs waren bijzonder bekwaam om morse signalen op te nemen van zwakke radiostations, waarbij ook nog storing optrad door achtergrond ruis of storing die lokaal werd veroorzaakt. De amateurs werden gerecruiteerd in negen regionen en in iedere regio trad een Kapitein van de Koninklijke Verbindingsdienst op als regionale controleur. Zij ontvingen een registratie nummer, een blanco logboek, postzegels en enveloppes die gericht waren aan Postbus 25, Barnet in Herfortshire. De afluisteraars deden de compleet ingevulde logvellen in een eveloppe en deze enveloppe deden zij weer in de eveloppe die naar Postbus 25 in Barnet moest. .
De afluisteraars kregen vaak een bepaald stukje frequentie band toegewezen om daar te zoeken naar radiosignalen die een bepaalde procedure volgden, maar soms werden zij ook gevraagd uit te kijken naar bepaalde roepletters en dan vervolgens alle berichten te noteren, vaak groepen van vijf letters. Dit was de standaard procedure om gecodeerde berichten via morse te verzenden. Het meest gebruikte stukje radioband lag tussen 3 Mhz en 12 MHz, de hoogste concentratie was echter te vinden tussen 4 Mhz en 9 Mhz, dit stukje band werd bezet door omroepstations, morse stations van de diverse geheime diensten en ook door de diverse persbureau's. In een stukje band van 5 à 6 Mhz passen wel 3000 morse stations omdat zij zo smalbandig zijn en zij kunnen gelijktijdig uitzenden! Dit is nu precies de reden waarom er landelijk zoveel afluisteraars nodig waren. Al met al beschikte de RSS dus over 1200 + 1317 = 2517 luisterstations.
De Wormwood Scrubs Vergadering.
Aan het begin van de oorlog werd een klein departement opgezetdoor de geheime dienst MI-5 om radio uitzendingen van agenten op te sporen die zich mogelijk in Engeland bevonden. De RSS werd eerst een onderdeel van MI-5, vervolgens werd het Section-C van MI-8 en tenslotte werd het overgenomen door MI-6 onder de naam Section-VIII, de illegale radio onderscheppings groep. Radio amateur Lord Sandhurst werd aangesteld om de organisatie op te zetten. Hij nam contact op met Arthur Watts, voorzitter van de Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB), het bestuurlijke orgaan van de radioamateurs in Engeland. Het gesprek vond plaats in een cel van de Wormwood Scrubs gevangenis. In een aantal cellen was het hoofdkwartier van de RSS gevestigd, hier beschikte men ook over een directe telex verbinding met Bletchley-Park. Watts raadde Sandhurst aan het gehele bestuur van de RSGB op te nemen en hiermee kon de RSS van start gaan. Om hun rol als afluisteraar te camoufleren waren veel afluisteraars gekleed in het uniform van het Koninklijk Observer Korps.
Het geheim van Postbus 25.
In het begin werden de verslagen van de afluisteraars direct naar Wormwood Scrubs gestuurd, maar aantal ingestuurde verslagen werd zo groot dat de RSS naar Arkley View, een groot landhuis in het dorp Arkley dat drie kilometer ten noorden van Barnet lag, verhuisde. Het kreeg het geheome adres "Postbus 25, Barnet" en hier moesten de afluisteraars in het vervolg de ontvangen radioberichten naar toe sturen. Deze werden vervolgens doorgestuurd naar Bletchley Park. Waar ooit Arkley View gestaan heeft, staat nu een apartementen complex.
De verhuizing van Arkley View naar Hanslope Park begon in augustus 1941 en waar de leidende figuren weer zendamateurs waren. Enthousiaste radioamateurs zoals Wilfred Limb en William Chittleburgh arriveerden daar als de eerste radio-operators. Zij werden ondergebracht in de aanwezige mais-silio's waar tafels neergezet werden waarop HRO ontvangers stonden. De staf werd ondergebracht in bakstenen hutten die gedurende de winter gebouwd werden. De luisterstations bleven actief in de mais-silo's tot dat het luisterstation in Lodge, Bullington End (Milton Keynes) in 1942 volledig operationeel was en waar 115 radioamateurs als operators werkten. Hanslope Park werd officiël geopend in mei 1942 en de plaatsvervangend Commandant was ook een radioameur genaamd Reginald Wigg. Door zijn achtergrond als radioamateur wist hij precies waar de operators behoefte aan hadden. Hanslope Park was zo belangrijk dat het regelmatig door VIP's zoals Veldmarschalk Montgomery en Generaal Eidenhower werd bezocht. Na de oorlog werd het overgenomen door de Diplomatieke Radio Service.
De rol van de RSS wordt uitgebreid.
Op het moment dat het duidelijk werd dat er geen spionage activiteiten vanuit Engeland zelf te verwachten waren, kreeg de RSS de opdracht om radiosignalen vanuit het buitenland in de gaten de te houden en met name de berichten van de Duitse militaire inlichtingen dienst, de Abwehr. De sterkste radiosignalen van de Abwehr waren afkomstig van Gruppe-2 in Berlijn (de RSS codenaam voor Berlijn was Bertie).
Triomph in Noorwegen.
In maart 1940 onderschepte de RSS radioverkeer tussen Hamurg en het spionageschip Theseus welke observaties uitvoerde binnen de Noorse territoriale wateren. Het schip werd met rust gelaten vanwege de waarde van de verzonden berichten voor de decodeer-analisten. De berichten werden door de RSS onderschept na een tip van een dubbel-spion en in Bletchley Park gedecodeerd. Dit waren de eerste voorbeelden van informatie die uit gecodeerde berichten van de Abwehr gehaald werden.
De invasie van Frankrijk wordt bekend.
In het voorjaar van 1940 onderschepte de RSS radio-verkeer dat duidelijk maakte dat de komende Blitzkrieg op 10 mei 1940 in Frankrijk, België en Luxemburg plaats zou vinden. Het was inderdaad de RSS zelf die de brichten ontcijferde, dit leidde van alle kanten direct tot reprimandes, het was immers de taak van Bletchley Park om berichten te decoderen. Na decodering bleken de berichten, die tot nu toe alleen beperkt waren tot Gestapo radio-verkeer, te gaan over vragen rond defensive versterkingen, wegblokkades, troepen verplaatsingen en andere militaire vraagstukken over een bepaald gebied waar later de Duitse invasie plaats vond.
Codering van de Abwehr werd gekraakt.
In juni 1940 werd besloten dat RSS operators beschikbaar gesteld zouden worden in een haast wanhopige poging om het door de Enigma gecodeerde verkeer van de Luftwaffe te kraken, hierdoor zou de RSS de monitoring van het Abwehr radio-verkeer moeten staken. Bezwaren van de RSS werden terzijde geschoven, maar later kregen de RSS en Bletchley Park toestemming om opnieuw het verkeer van de Abwehr in de gaten te houden.Toen Bletchley Park uiteindelijk in staat bleek de code van het hoofd netwerk van de Abwehr te kunnen kraken, bleek dat dit gebeurd was aan de hand van handmatige codering van berichten van de Abwehr en zijn agenten in het buitenland.
Opgepakte spionnen werden of geëxecuteerd, of 'gedraaid' en zij werden gedwongen berichten naar hun Duitse begeleiders te sturen, als of zij nog steeds op vrije voeten waren. Dit werd centraal bewaakt door een organisatie die bekend stond als de Commissie 20. Twintig in het Romeinse cijfer stelsel is XX, dus werd de commissie ook welke bekend als de "Double Cross Committee" Opnieuw waren ook hier radio-amateurs bij betrokken, omdat zij de berichten van de gedraaide spionnen verzonden. Deel van hun rol was om er zeker van te zijn dat het bericht, dat in Morse werd verzonden de gegevens bevatte die hen door MI-5 (contra spionage organisatie) waren opgegeven.
Radioamateurs werden ook ingezet bij de belangrijke taak van radio-peilingen. Door het signaal vanuit diverse lokaties met richtantennes te ontvangen, werd het mogelijk de lokatie van de zender te bepalen. Dit werd met name zeer nauwkeurig uitgevoerd met de ontvangst van radio-verkeer van Duitse onderzeeboten en daardoor was het mogelijk de positie van de boten op de oceaan te bepalen. Ook werden op die manier de thuishavens van de boten gelokaliseerd.
Bemanning van een radio peilstation, met oa. Louis Varney G5RV, 2e van links..
De ontmaskering van Cicero.
Eén van de succes verhalen van de RSS was zo brilliant dat het een probleem werd. Het verhaal werd verteld door Hugh Trevor-Roper, de latere Lord Dacre, die ook voor de RSS werkzaam was geweest. Tijdens een BBC radioprogramma van 1979, genaamde 'De geheime luisteraars', legde hij uit dat men volledig op de hoogte was van de activiteiten van een spion die op de Britse ambassade in Ankara werkte en die van de Duitse geheime dienst de alias Cicero gekregen had. Deze Cicero gaf geheime informatie aan de Duitsers door. Trevor-Roper vertelde dat men de Engelse amabassadeur niet middels een telegram op de hoogte kon stellen van de activiteiten van Cicero, want deze zou het bericht ook te zien krijgen en daarmee zou meteen duidelijk worden dat de RSS van zijn activiteiten op de hoogte was. De Duitsers zouden daarmee ook meteen weten dat de RSS in staat was hun gecodeerd berichtenverkeer te lezen. Helaas voor Cicero, die na de oorlog naar Zuid-Amerika vluchtte, werd hij opgepakt voor valsmunterij, de Duitsers hadden hem met vals geld betaald! Later zou bekend worden dat Cicero een dubbel-spion was die voor de Britten werkte.
Elyesa Bazna, born Iliaz Bazda; Pristina,July 28, 1904 - Munich,December 21, 1970), was a famous World War II secret agent. He was an Albanian from Kosovo who spied for the Germans during the Second World War, and was widely known by his code name Cicero. Principally motivated by a feeling of power, he sold information to the Germans through their attaché Ludwig Carl Moyzisch (and then through the ambassador Franz von Papen), in Ankara, Turkey in what became known as the Cicero affair. The information that he leaked is believed to have been potentially among the more damaging disclosures made by a Second World War spy but conflicts inside the highest echelons of the German government meant that little if any of it was acted upon.
Of Albanian origin, Elyesa Bazna was born to Albanian parents in Kosovo (at the time part of the Ottoman Empire) and moved to Turkey at a very early age. He served as a valet first to the Yugoslav ambassador to Turkey and then to a German counsellor who fired him for reading his mail.
From 1942, Bazna was the valet of the British ambassador Sir Hughe Knatchbull-Hugessen in Ankara. Sir Hughe had been the British ambassador in Riga, Latvia until the Red Army extinguished its independence in 1940. The embassy in Riga shared a building with the ambassador's residence and there he developed the habit of taking secret papers to his home. Bazna began photographing these secret British documents in Ankara on 21 October 1943. He approached Ludwig Moyzisch, an attaché at the German Embassy in Ankara, indicating that he wanted £20,000 for fifty-six documents he had photographed. He became a paid German agent in 1943 and was given the codename "Cicero".
He claimed that his hatred of the British was because his father had been killed by a Briton. This was untrue. His father died peacefully in his bed. His real motive may have been money, or perhaps that he was also working for the British. Bazna cherished no illusions. He admitted that he came from a poor background, with minimal education, no polish, little imagination and unprepossessing appearance. But he had the courage to take chances and was happy to get out when the going got dangerous. He was also cheated by his Nazi paymasters who paid him in counterfeit sterling.
Bazna obtained important information about many of the Roosevelt-Churchill-Stalin conferences and an instruction to the British ambassador to request the use of Turkish airbases in order to bomb the Romanian oilfields at Ploie?ti. He gave information on planned bombing raids, possibly including the first Ploie?ti raid in August 1943 by the USAAF, which was met by heavy concentrations of flak, and successive raids on the Bulgarian capital Sofia from 17 November 1943 until 14 April 1944. Targets were a closely guarded secret, revealed only to the squadron commanders involved a day or two before a raid and subject to change due to weather. If Bazna passed over target information from the British ambassador's safe, it is possible that this was provided in order to build up his reputation so that later false information about something much more important could be fed through the same channel.
Bazna later provided only fuzzy information about "Operation Overlord", the codename for the Invasion of Normandy in June 1944.
British intelligence gave the impression that it believed that Bazna could not speak English and furthermore was "too stupid" to be a spy. Bazna claimed to speak Turkish, Serbo-Croat and French. He knew a little German from singing Lieder and said that he could read basic English but had difficulty in speaking it. Much of his conversation in both embassies was in French, then the standard language of diplomacy. Moyzisch, in his 1950 book, pointed out that Bazna was both intelligent and daring, he was also convinced that the spy had someone else helping him to locate and photograph the documents but the second man could never be identified. Perhaps that was because he was a British intelligence operator. According to Moyzisch, the German Foreign Office did not make much use of the documents, because officers there were divided about their reliability. Antipathy between the German Minister of Foreign Affairs Joachim von Ribbentrop and von Papen added to the inefficiency.
Von Ribbentrop showed the photographs to Hitler, (the two accepted 'Cicero' documents as useful intelligence). The material came either in a sealed diplomatic bag or by coded radio messages which were being read by the British. Franz von Papen believed that the Cicero documents helped postpone Turkey's entry into the war. Hitler entered a conference of OKH officers with some 'Cicero' materials in December 1943 and declared that the invasion of France would come in spring 1944. He dismissed the likelihood of staged attacks on Norway as a feint.
Hitler persisted in his belief that the Allies would attack somewhere in the Balkans. He feared that Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria might defect to the Allies, as Italy had done (in the Armistice of Cassibile). It could also threaten the flow of oil, copper and bauxite into the Third Reich.
During the first three months of 1944, 'Cicero' supplied the Germans with copies of documents taken from his employer's dispatch box or his safe. Photographs of top secret documents were generally handed over in Moyzisch's car, which was parked inconspicuously on an Ankara street. On one occasion, this led to a high-speed chase around Ankara as some other organisation was taking an interest in the hand-over. Bazna, who had perhaps been tailed, escaped.
When the 'Cicero' documents predicted Allied bombing missions in the Balkans, which took place on the predicted date, the authenticity of the information was supported and his reputation enhanced. Moyzisch told 'Cicero' that at the end of the war Hitler intended to give him a villa. The use the Germans made of the information was limited and Cicero's role has been exaggerated in spy literature.[original research?]
British Intelligence had an operation known as "Double Cross", which used double agents and fake documents to mount a series of deception operations to confuse the OKW, OKH and Hitler about Allied plans. In 1943, it needed to conceal the target of the first Anglo-American landings on continental Europe. Sicily was the obvious target, as it was well within range of British fighters based in Malta and a short distance from North African ports for landing craft. Cicero's role in Turkey, another neutral country with some pro-German members of the government and armed forces, appears to fit into the Double Cross strategy, with many of the same patterns. Franz von Papen, the German ambassador was close to Hitler, whilst not a Nazi. Moyzisch, an Austrian Nazi, was known to be diligent and effective. Documents leaking out of the embassy would quickly find their way to Hitler. 'Cicero' perhaps unwittingly played a supporting role in the deception over Sicily. His papers suggested that the invasion would be in Greece and that the British ambassador was involved in attempts to persuade Turkey to join the Allies in the attack.
The Abwehr was rightly sceptical of 'Cicero', believing that he might be a double agent. They were at that time already running 'Garbo' (Juan Pujol), 'Zig-Zag' (Eddie Chapman) and 'Tricycle' (Dusan Popov), supposedly German agents, to whom they were paying large sums but who were working for the British by supplying true and false information. 'Cicero', an Albanian like 'Tricycle', who was a Yugoslav national, had good reason to hate the Germans because of events after the Axis invasion of his country. It was obvious that such important papers should not have been left in the insecure embassy residency safe. It should have been inconceivable that any mere ambassador would have been given access to top secret invasion plans.
'Ultra', the British code-breaking system based at Bletchley Park was routinely reading messages between German ambassadors and von Ribbentrop in Berlin, coded by the "Enigma" machine. They would have known about 'Cicero' from the same source. Their inept attempts to foil his thefts appear altogether too incompetent.
The biggest wartime deception was over Operation Overlord, where the use of a British naval officer,[who?] apparently embittered into becoming a turncoat, (but the son of von Ribbentrop's doctor and so personally known to him during his pre-war stint as ambassador in London), helped to persuade Hitler that the actual attack would come in the Pas de Calais. In this case, some of the true information provided to the Germans seems to have concerned the timing and placing of the disastrous raid on Dieppe (Operation Jubilee) by Canadian forces in 1942. If 'Cicero' were in fact a trusted double agent, he could have been deployed as a supporting actor in this dramatic delusion also. With the British aware from Ultra and Miss Kapp (Moyzisch's new secretary) that he was working for the Germans, he would only have known about Overlord, about which the British ambassador to Turkey would never have been informed, just what Department XX of MI6 wished to reveal. British Intelligence believed that the repeated presentation of many clues in multiple locations served to increase the illusion of authenticity.
End of spying career
Bazna found it increasingly difficult to carry out his spying activities. A new alarm system in the British Embassy, required him to remove a fuse whenever he wanted to look in the ambassador's safe. Moyzisch hired a new secretary named Nele Kapp (known in the book as Elizabeth or Elsa for short), the daughter of a German consul and anti-Nazi who had spent most of her early life in Calcutta and Cleveland. Nele was neurotic and difficult to work with and Moyzisch decided that she had to go. What he did not know was that this was an act. Nele hated the Nazis and had been supplying information to the British and the American OSS. She eventually defected and was helped by an OSS agent to board the Taurus Express from Ankara to Istanbul but alighting before the city, was taken to an air base that the RAF was building in Turkey. From there she was driven to Izmir and then by Greek caique to Cyprus and thence to Cairo, where she was furious to learn that she was to be interned as a German. She eventually reached America where she settled in California and married an American. Fearing Miss Kapp would pinpoint his operation, Bazna left Sir Hughe's service. Although she knew that he telephoned the German most Fridays when the code room doors were locked so that he could report to Berlin, she knew him only as 'Cicero' and that he had a British connection.
Fritz Kolbe, a German diplomat and courier based in Berlin who had become an American spy after a meeting in Bern, Switzerland with the OSS, also provided information about 'Cicero'. It seems clear that MI6 would have had all the information that they needed in order to identify Elyesa Bazna, if they had wished to do so.
By April 1944, Nazi forces in the Crimea were in full retreat. The Turkish Government worried that the advancing Red Army might drive through Bulgaria and seize the Turkish Straits, which the Russians coveted. Turkish policy had been to wait and see which side would win, before making any move. Now that they saw the need to reach some accommodation with the Allies, the Turks replaced their pro-German army chief Fevzi Çakmak with Kazim Orbay who was pro-British.
In August 1944, Turkey severed diplomatic relations with Germany and by February 1945 had declared war, when Cicero's usefulness had ended.
Bazna was paid £300,000 by the Abwehr which he kept hidden. After the war he tried to go into business but when his sterling notes were checked by the Bank of England they were found to be mostly counterfeit (Operation Bernhard). Bazna later tried to sue the West German government for outstanding pay. He lived in Istanbul for the rest of his life, giving singing lessons and working as a used car salesman. After Moyzisch published his book Who was Cicero? which raised a few awkward questions, British Intelligence assisted Bazna in writing 'I was Cicero' the English edition of which was published by André Deutsch, a Hungarian publisher in London, who also published von Papen's memoirs and was later asked to publish the memoirs of Kim Philby.
Cicero's handler Ludwig Moyzich, published his memoirs in 1950 with a book named Who was Cicero? Franz von Papen and Allen Dulles, wartime head of the OSS, suggested that there was more to the story than what had emerged in the book. Neither elaborated. Twelve years later, in 1962, I was Cicero was published by 'Cicero' himself. This book was part of a British intelligence operation to protect the Double Cross System and the Ultra Secret long after the war. Sir John Masterman's The Double Cross System, revealed that Bazna was a British agent from the first, controlled by the group under Masterman that ran Eddie Chapman, Dusko Popov and Juan Pujol Garcia (Garbo). Masterman, an Oxford history don, had been an exchange lecturer at Freiburg University in 1914 and spent the Great War in prison.
As well as feeding the Germans false information, Bazna was used to hide the fact that Bletchley Park's Ultra operations could read German secret correspondence. After the war, the British wished to continue to conceal this from the Russians. Ian Fleming was nearly prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act for From Russia, with Love when he wrote about Bond stealing a Russian code machine the Spektor (renamed Lektor in the film), and came too close to revealing the truth. It was eventually decided that prosecuting him would generate too much publicity. The 'Ultra' secret was kept until the early seventies.
De waarde van Contra-Spionage.
De gedecodeerde Abwehr berichten waren erg waardevol voor contra-spionage activiteiten en de RSS kreeg opnieuw de verantwoordelijkheid voor de decodering van deze berichten en de RSS kreeg ook een belangrijke rol als adviseur welke berichten men voor welk doel in zou zetten. De vragen van de Abwehr aan zijn agenten werden met argus ogen bekeken, maar ook elke verandering in de organisatie van de Abwehr werd nauwlettend in de gaten gehouden. Hierdoor kon de RSS informatie verzamelen over operationele en politieke zaken.De RSS stelde een aparte groep samen om de interesses van andere organisaties dan MI-5 en MI-6 te waarborgen en op Bletchley Park was een vertegenwoordiging van de RSS permanent aanwezig.
Churchill wordt erbij betrokken.
Winston Churchill werd betrokken bij de RSS in 1940 toen bleek dat Bletchley Park over veel te weining radio-operators beschikte om de enorme hoeveelheid door de Enigma gecodeerde berichten van de Luftwaffe te kunnen ontcijferen. Churchill gaf Lord Hankey, de secretaris van de Commitee for Imperial Defence, de opdracht om de protesten van de RSS te negeren en om de radio-operators van MI5 en MI-6 in mei 1940 over te plaatsen onder het commando van Brigadier Richard Gambier-Parry. Deze laatste was ook radio-amateur en hij kreeg de opdracht om Sectie VIII in Bletchley Park op te zetten. Een andere radio-amateur Overste Kenneth Morton-Evans, werd later zijn plaatsvervanger.
Oneenigheid tussen MI-5 en MI-6.
In juni 1941 klaagde MI-5 over het feit dat zij geen gelijkwaardige inbreng had over de controle van de RSS en hen werd het directe contact met Bletchley Park ontzegd. Deze problemen werden later opgelost en na december 1942 deden zich nog nauwelijks problemen voor tussen MI-5 en MI-6 ten opzichte van de RSS. In 1941 werd door MI-5 en MI-6 een commissie opgericht die de 'Radio Commissie' genoemd werd. In december 1942 werd overeen gekomen dat deze organisatie gesplitst zou worden in twee nieuwe commissies, één over het beleid van de RSS en één over de dagelijkse gang van zaken. Deze laatste, de 'Radio Security Commissie' werd opgericht in maart 1943 en deze was verantwoordelijk om de belangen van zowel MI-5, als van MI-6 te waarborgen en om veiligheid op het gebied van radio-communicatie te bewaken. Deze organisatie werd later bekend als de Radio Security Intelligence Conference. Onder de paraplu van deze organisatie ondervond de RSS nog maar weinig problemen om zijn administratieve en technische activeteiten verder te kunnen ontplooien.
Dit artikel werd vertaald uit een artikel dat verscheen op het internet van MKARS, Milton Keynes Amateur Radio Society.
Meer informatie over dit onderwerp is te vinden in het boek: The Secret Wireless War: The Story of MI6 Communications, 1939-1945, by Geoffrey Pidgeon, Published by UPSO, 2003. ISBN 1-8 4375-252-2.]
We will fight them in our front rooms!
THE SECRET LISTENERS BY SINCLAIR MCKAY
By John Harding for MailOnline
One afternoon in the early days of World War II a bowler-hatted man called at a suburban house in Mitcham, South London and asked to see 17-year-old Ray Faultley. Alone with the teenager, the visitor subjected him to a battery of questions about his background.
He was there to recruit Ray, who lived with his parents, as a Voluntary Interceptor, one of what would eventually be 1,500 amateur radio enthusiasts signed up to listen in to enemy broadcasts and relay their contents to British intelligence services. Ray had been selected after a tip-off from the radio firm he worked for.
Security was so tight young Ray wasn’t even allowed to tell his Mum and Dad what was going on and had to beg the visitor to explain to them that he wasn’t in trouble. ‘They’ll think I’ve done something awful,’ he said.
The man told Ray’s parents, cryptically, ‘Your son will be doing work of very great national importance to this country.’
It wasn’t an exaggeration. Voluntary Interceptors were a small but vital part of the Y Service (the name derives from ‘Wireless Interceptors’) - people the world over who listened in to and recorded enemy radio transmissions.
Teenage boys were recruited because so many were already interested in building their own radio sets to talk to people in other countries. They were also faster at transcribing than older men.
While the work of the Bletchley Park decoders has been widely celebrated in recent years, that of these secret listeners has gone widely unheralded. Yet without them there would have been no messages for Alan Turing and the Bletchley team to decode.
The three armed services each had their own listening bases in different country houses, staffed by servicemen, Wrens, Waafs and ATS women, working round-the-clock shifts listening in to German transmissions, transposing Morse messages on to paper and relaying the messages to Bletchley by teleprinter or motorcycle courier.
There were listeners all over the British Isles, especially in coastal areas, and in far-flung places across the globe, from Murmansk to Cairo, from Lisbon to Ceylon. An operator might be in a boat on a storm-tossed sea listening for German U-boats, roasting in a stuffy van in the North African desert or on a lonely Scottish island.
Some were lucky in their postings, like teenager Peter Budd, who was sent to the idyllic Coscos Islands, an Indian Ocean paradise, with golden beaches and clear seas where his only worries were sharks when swimming and the presence of the Japanese on the next island.
Some operators risked great danger. One in neutral Lisbon, survived an assassination attempt because when German agents came for him he was out on a bar crawl; a Wren in Scarborough, castigated for frequently leaving her post one night, explained she had to keep popping outside to ‘bat away incendiary bombs’ the Luftwaffe were dropping on her post.
But the most common problems listeners faced were boredom and stress. They worked eight-hour shifts during which they were not allowed to leave their posts.
Often they would hear nothing all shift, but would nevertheless have to remain awake and alert. An operator had to be able to transpose Morse code into letters and take it straight down on paper at a speed of more than 20 words per minute, holding the radio dial to maintain contact with one hand and writing with the other. You had to get it right because, as one operator put it: ‘You couldn’t ask the German operator to repeat the message.’ Some suffered nervous breakdowns from the pressure. Others needed Benzedrine to stay awake and afterwards sleeping pills to knock them out.
But by the standards of the day, the pay was attractive - especially for the senior levels at £7 a week.
One of the worst aspects of the job was operators couldn’t tell anyone about their work, not even their nearest and dearest.
Because Ray Faultley had to listen in his parents’ front room for two hours every weekday evening, he told his girlfriend he could only see her at weekends. One Wednesday night she dropped in unexpectedly and found him wearing headphones and sitting at an industrial size radio. She assumed - not unreasonably - that he was a German spy and rushed out of the house to tell someone. He had to dash after her before she gave away his cover and convince her he was on the right side. It was only years later after they were married that he could tell her the truth.
Fluent German speakers were recruited to listen in to verbal transmissions, such as those by Luftwaffe pilots. Listeners would become familiar with pilots they regularly eavesdropped on.
One who Aileen Clayton heard regularly had the call sign ‘Amsel Eins’. Knowing he was probably being listened in on he would chat away in English, saying ‘English listening stations, can you hear me?’
Aileen’s job was to glean information from his conversations with ground control and other pilots. But one night she was ordered to pass on his position to a British fighter plane group. She listened in horror as the ensuing dogfight came over his radio and Spitfires shot him down.
She could hear him, trapped in his cockpit, plummeting towards the earth, screaming over and over for his mother and cursing the Fuehrer. Afterwards she went outside and was sick.
Other German speakers acted as ‘Ghost Voices’, talking to and convincing Luftwaffe pilots that they were German ground control and sending them on wild goose chases or making them drop their bombs harmlessly. Young women recruits appreciated the chance to do something for the war that wasn’t regarded as menial, such as cooking or driving.
The Secret Listeners played a part in virtually every major event in the war, and were hugely influential in successes like the sinking of the Bismarck, Montgomery’s victory at El Alamein - often seen as the turning point of the war - and D Day.
Thanks to the amazing efficiency of the Y Service and the dedication of its operators, Bletchley Park was inundated with up-to-the-minute information that allowed the allies to know what the enemy would do before he did it and it was this, as much as anything, that won us the war.
and the Radio Security Service
During World War II the Government decided to use amateur radio hams to monitor the enemy. This is their story and how Arkley played an important part in that war.
The Radio Society of Great Britain was approached with a request to sound out trusted radio amateurs to see if listening could be arranged on a voluntary basis. Fortunately although their transmitters had been impounded at the outbreak of war they still had their receivers and they could all read Morse Code with a particular in reading faint signals in noisy backgrounds.
Each amateur was checked on MI5 records and visited by the local police to see if there was any reason why they could not be trusted. Before long there was quite an army of amateurs diligently searching for spies, that didn't exist, or the suspected transmitters guiding enemy aircraft to worthwhile targets. The amateurs were given the title Voluntary Interceptors (VIs) and were empowered to enter premises where a suspicious transmission was found.
As they were not armed it was a wise precaution to have the company of a police officer. In time a few hundred amateurs were asked to listen on HF for anything they could not recognise as genuine commercial or military transmissions and send them in by post written on a log sheet provided, that showed date, time, frequency and what was heard.
A few experienced people in Wormwood Scrubs checked the resulting logs and notified the amateur where they were not wanted or further intercepts were required. The organisation was given the title of the Radio Security Service (RSS) but it became apparent that the reason for its existence was false and there appeared to be no reason for continuing.
Already the armed services were setting up their own stations to expand the monitoring of types of military transmissions and there was a long established de-coding department in room 40, as the department was called, in the Admiralty building. The Post Office and the Police had radio operators routinely checking the air waves so the RSS was out of a job.
It transpired that all was not lost: the amateurs were not put out of work by any means. They were logging whatever was heard and amongst it all located some strange stations using Ham Chat but with 3 letter call signs and on top of that sending messages in 5 letter groups of code. This was strictly forbidden for amateurs.
However MI5, located in Wormwood Scrubs prison (with cells for offices) were in charge of looking at these reports (called logs sheets) where Lt. Hugh Trevor-Roper (later Lord Dacre) (click here) in concert with Cpt Gill worked on the messages and actually managed to decipher some to discover that they were in a hand cipher that translated into German. Moreover the translation showed that they were not ordinary signals but apparently coming from the German Secret Service (called the Abwehr) or something equivalent to our MI6 only more widespread to include other unpleasant organizations set up by the Nazis. Bletchley Park, previously uninterested or too busy, immediately took note and required all future messages to be sent to it and strictly no more self styled de-ciphering was to take place.
It became apparent that there was a lot to be uncovered about these secret transmissions and amateurs were recruited as VIs on an ever-increasing scale to cover the British Isles. Ultimately about 1,700 were engaged on intercepting although not at one time as many were called up, some for other duties, but many to work full-time, in uniform, for the RSS.
As the organisation grew it became necessary to set it on a semi-military footing with full time operators and other staff. Owing to air raids and the need to expand it became apparent that Wormwood Scrubs was not ideal and M.I.5 moved out to various other sites. The RSS was taken over by M.I.6 or Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) as it was widely known.
A sub-section of M.I.6 was taken over by Brigadier Gambier Parry and labelled Section VIII.
This was furtherdivided into Special Communication Units (SCU) and the two dealt with here were SCU3 and SCU4 The RSS moved on October 3rd 1940 into new headquarters at Arkley View, within a large site 2 miles north of Barnet. This building was already being used by the Post Office as an intercept station. The ‘View’ housed the analysis, intelligence, direction finding control and various administrative departments.
Huts were erected in the grounds for intercept work, a teleprinting terminal, and later the ever-expanding departments to identify, classify and collate the enormous secret intelligence enemy radio networks.
The secret cryptic address became well known to the select as PO Box 25 Barnet, this being the new postal address for V.I.s. Arkley View was on the right of Barnet Road leading to Stirling Corner. Arkley Lane had the View on its left and Oaklands to its right. Here was accommodated the orderly room and the despatch riders’ base for taking intercepted messages to Bletchley Park. Officers’ and sergeants’ messes were in Scotswood opposite the View. Other large houses such as Rowley Lodge, The Lawns and Meadowbank were used as billets, messing, transmitting and training schools. In Ravenscroft Park, High Barnet, a billet, operators’ evaluation and a small intercept training station were established, run by CQMS Soames (later transferred to the Lawns).
The large country house, Arkley View, was known to all SCU3 enlistments, as the induction to this branch of M.I.6 invariably took place here. Enrolled initially by Lord Sandhurst, soon to be followed by Captain (later Major) Bellringer, a short black-moustached officer, recruits took the oath and the King’s shilling, which is where the resemblance to the generally understood army finished.
The account of one early enlistment can be read here. A ‘normal’ army enlistment was provided with an Army Book 64 (AB64) parts I and II. Part I contained such personal details as date of birth, service number, rank with promotion dates (if any) and the date when various chemicals were injected to protect the recipient from all the various bugs which arose from service to one’s country.
This concern for his welfare was followed by details of his next-of-kin and an invitation to write his will, (acceptable without a witness). However SCU prospective soldiers did not receive AB64 part II because this gave a record of pay which in this case did not come from Army funds but from the Foreign Office. This presented a problem for overseas postings which was solved by issuing part II and paying the army rate at the usual pay parade. The recipient was required to open a bank account at home to accept the balance of his RSS-enhanced pay.
Lt Colonel Morton Evans (amateur licence GW5KJ) was made Deputy Controller of the RSS and served as officer i/c at Arkley from 1941 to 1946
Under Lt Colonel Morton Evans the various departments were mainly located in one-storey buildings each about 100 feet long, at the rear of Arkley View house. These were called huts and were frequently extended, as the need arose, in a similar manner to Bletchley Park. Under the general heading of Discrimination were the departments General Search, Groups, Collation and Allocation.
Reports from interceptors came to Arkley where, after processing as explained below, copies of the same messages from different intercepts were compared to enable a good copy to be forwarded to Bletchley Park. Initially the intercepted messages came in from the VIs, working at home in complete secrecy and using whatever time was available.
Many had full-time employment but others who were retired or disabled could devote more time to listening on the receivers that they had previously used as Radio Amateurs.
At Arkley it was realised that for full coverage of the ever expanding German secret networks some form of 24 hour watch was required and in different parts of the UK in order to maximise the amount of information we could obtain. More details follow later.
The principal work was the scrutiny of logs and the placing of the intercepted messages in the relevant groups. Box 25 received a thousand or more log sheets daily from V.I.s and the full-time interceptors.
These had to be examined to identify new Abwehr services and to sort the familiar ones into their allotted groups.
More than 14 different groups had been identified, each having a number of services from perhaps a dozen to a hundred or so. Hence if General Search labelled a message 2/153 it would mean group 2, usually Berlin, and service 153 which could be a link to, say, Madrid, Oslo or Milan.
The identification was by means of time, frequency, type of procedure (or preamble if there was a message) or possibly the call sign. This latter was problematic as often call signs changed daily.
One task was to examine logs for intercepts which had not been positively identified and to try to discover where to place them or even if they were wanted by us at all. If the operator sent us a previously identified station we sent the details to the relevant Group Officer, located in the next hut, who would then advise the operator whether it was ‘already covered thanks’ or ‘still wanted’.
He would have from two to a dozen staff according to the group size. A large wall map was kept in the ‘Group’ hut with coloured wool stretched between points showing the location and working of the various stations. To prevent a casual visitor from seeing the extent of our discoveries, this map was covered with a curtain which was activated by an electric motor. No doubt the local wool shop did not ask questions.
If it had, there would have been a ready misleading answer. Log sheets were stamped as ‘suspect’, ‘watch please’ or 'unwanted' if due to be returned to the interceptor. If the signal was not the enemy secret service we used the ‘unwanted’ stamp. Other stamps were: ‘unwanted Hun’, ’more please’ and ‘OK covered thanks’.
It was important to find out who was 'working' to whom. As the frequencies and call signs were constantly changing the only common factor was time and possibly operating procedure. Types of preamble and times and frequencies had to be memorised by the staff, who used card indexes for reference. This work could be tedious and tiring as hundreds of log sheets were scrutinised for the brief suspect transmission.
It became apparent, quite early on, that VI's could not cover all that was required to understand the Abwehr and to penetrate the German secret intelligence networks. Full-time operators working eight hour shifts were required and purpose-built large huts were equipped with the American first class HRO receivers .
Five or six larger stations were spread widely over the UK with up to 32 receiving positions, each with two HROs: two HROs because it could be possible to listen to both ends of a contact. Sometimes a few other types were to be seen such as the AR88 or the British Eddystone and Marconi models. Barnet, Hanslope and St Erth
These were working by 1942 and other large stations were at Forfar and Thurso in Scotland and Gilnahirk in Northern Ireland. The operators were recruited from several sources although mainly from the ranks of VIs. Later intercept stations were installed in the Middle East and Gibraltar.
Gradually about 14 separate groups covering different areas were identified. Group 2 was by far the largest and with its centre near Berlin had links (known to us as services) extending over Europe and beyond and was the mainstay of the Abwehr. We designated them as 2/141, or 8/254 for example where the group came first and then our number reference for the service.
An officer, with a staff proportionate to the size of the group, was responsible for keeping the record up to date and issuing daily amendments, as the services frequently changed and grew. When messages had been checked for mistakes and omissions, by comparison with other copies, they were sent to Bletchley Park for de-ciphering.
It was important for this purpose that the 'group' was identified, for instance groups 1 and 6 were naval intelligence. Group 2 had links with other centres or sub groups such as group 5 in Prague, 7 in Vienna and 8 in Italy. Group 3 was the infamous SD under Himmler so we may guess at what some of their traffic revealed.
To build up a complete picture of the enemy networks it was vital that we found the location of each transmitter. We therefore relied heavily on the nine or so direction-finding stations which were distributed as widely as possible over the UK.
Cyril Thomas Fairchild
Cyril was born in Honiton, Devon on 16 June 1910 but moved to Brighton as a boy and thereafter lived most of his life in Brighton.
In early 1939 a Colonel Yule asked Co. Worlledge who ran the Intercept station in Sarafand in Palestine how signals could be intercepted in Britain. The latter recommended Lord Sandhurst as being the onIv one who had sufficient experience, and who had been in WWI.
Lord Sandhurst, or Sandy as he came to be known, set up the Radio Security Service (RSS) by first using Voluntary Interceptors (V1s). The RSS was the government's radio intelligence service and its HQ was initially housed in Wormwood Scrubs prison, C Block!
Lord Sandhurst approached the then President of the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB). Arthur Watts. for a list of all radio amateurs throughout the country, Cyril being one of these. As time progressed, the government realized the potential importance of these VIs who spent all of their spare time listening in to messages and signals on their amateur radio receivers and reporting back anything of interest they heard. In the areas where they lived their names were given to the Chief Police Constables who were sworn under oath to keep secret the identity of these V1s and to afford them special cover as members of the ARP, Home Guard, or more usually the Royal Observer Corps.
When war finally did break out, all amateur transmitting, equipment was confiscated by the Government, but leaving selected radio amateurs (the VI's) with receivers so that they could still listen in. During his period of being a VI, Cyril was approached one day by a knock at the door at 1 A Dover Road, Brighton, (where he had his radio station set up in the attic) and asked if he would like to do special work to help his country.
He must have been about 24 years old. Whether he was approached because he had delivered some good results as a VI or as a matter of course is not certain. He had tried to enlist in the RAF but had been turned down on medical grounds. So because he had not been accepted for enlistment in the general services, he agreed happily to go to London to become one of the first civilian, if not the first, (and one of only three other civilians, we understand) to Join the R.S.S., where he was issued with a special pass card as a "specially enlisted" (civilian) member of the R.S.S.
This started as a part of M18 and later became a part of section 8 of M16. He was also provided with a uniform of the Royal Signals in case the country was invaded, in which instance he would have been shot as a spy had he been captured in civilian clothes.
When the Germans were dropping incendiary bombs on London, it was decided to move the R.S.S. out of central London to Arkley, Barnet, North London, where six big houses had been requisitioned by the government and a number of Nissan huts set up to house the radio equipment that was to be used to intercept enemy messages in Morse.
Cyril could understand Morse in German, Russian and Japanese, and could transmit and receive Morse simultaneously in both ears. He also spoke and could understand quite a bit of Serbo Croat and some Slavic languages too, as well as smatterings of other European ones and some Japanese.
At Arkley, we understand that he became quite senior as he was good at his job and good at radio, Morse and languages, he trained others who followed him in and also worked closely with Lord Sandhurst in his private office.
The Morse messages that were intercepted at Arkley were taken down in code in five letter groups and sent to Bletchley Park, (which later became GCHQ) and where the messages were decoded by the young mathematical brains of the country (Alan Turing being one), and where the German enigma machine code was cracked using the world's first computer, Colossus.
Dilly Knox and Oliver Strachey ran the R.S.S. section at Bletchley Park and Lord Sandhurst ran Arkley, which he left in December 1941 to join section 8 of MI6 to run the clandestine spy stations working to all MI6 agents round the continent, leaving Kenneth Morton Evans in charge at Arkley.
There is no doubt that without the dedicated work of the RSS, the war would have dragged on for another two or three years as it was the work of the RSS at Arkley to concentrate on the German radio spy network (the Abwehr) which was broken into by interceptors (As were the messages to and from Hitler's bunker).
Before the war, Cyril had always been a keen radio amateur, having bought his first radio magazine at the age of 17 and having one of the first government experimental receiving station licences in 1933 when he experimented with crystals at his home in Dover Road, Brighton he became an obsessive radio amateur thereafter.
He got his full amateur radio transmitting licence in December 1938. He also obtained a club licence for an amateur wireless station which was run at The Eagle Inn in Gloucester Road, Brighton for the Brighton Amateur Radio Club.
The terms and conditions of amateur radio licences have always been very strict in that all radio amateurs must keep a full log of all their communications. QSL cards are exchanged to prove the contacts.
It is sadly only in the last decade that former workers at Bletchley Park, Arkley and Hanslope Park have been able to get to know each other because of the oath of secrecy that all of them took, and because afler the second world war and before the cold war with Russia, Churchill had Arkley, (the headquarters of the R.S.S. and where the most secret work was carried out), raised to the ground and all records, drawings diagrams etc. destroyed as a precautionary measure, together with the world's first programmable computer, Colossus, which was at Bletchley Park. A replica of this is currently being re created at Bletchley Park without the aid of the original diagrams that were also destroyed.
It is also sad that the secret work of the Radio Security Service and the efforts of all those who were part of it, have all sadly nearly been forgotten. Such work will never again be necessary in times of national emergency, as post war advances in technology have brought about the advent of the computer and the internet which need no introduction to the working generation of today.
Before the war, Cyril had been an electrical maintenance and installation engineer, working for himself for a short time after the war. and then the rest of his working life for Adams Bros. and Broadbridge in Trafalgar Street, Brighton where he was their chief trouble shooter.
While at Arkley, Cyril met his wife to be, Hilda Smith, who was also engaged on government war work as a shorthand typist secretary. They married in 1945 in Middleton near Manchester and moved to Cyril's home town of Brighton after the war. Sadly. Hilda died in 1981, not ever having known about Cyril's wartime work and successes. She would never have been told any detail relating to the work of the RSS, as members were sworn to secrecy for fifty years and, like other members of the R. S. S., Cyril only began to talk about his work in the early eighties and nineties.
At the time of his death in July 2002, Cyril had been a member of the RSGB (Radio Society of Great Britain) for 63 years and had, in that very year, just been awarded the Freedom of Bletchley Park, where annual reunions are now held to facilitate the coming together of those who were employed in secret work during the war and for the detail to become known. He had also been a regular member of Worthing Amateur Radio Club where he was well known and respected for his knowledge on radio matters. When Cyril died he left some 3 to 4 tons of radio and electrical equipment, a great deal of which is present at Newhaven Fort today. Cyril's fellow club members have been most zealous in helping to sort and categorise his radio equipment and to prepare the rooms in which the equipment is now housed.
Beryl Payne (daughter) July 2003
Voluntary Interceptor at work, painting by Sheena Phillips © East Lothian at War
Ontvangers worden getest © RSGB
Cyril Fairchild at Ditchling Beacon, 1939
Cyril Fairchild's blank QSL card