IT may come as a surprise to some people to know that this area was a favourite location for parachuting enemy agents during World War II. Josef Jakobs landed near Ramsey in January 1941 but broke his ankle on landing and, by calling out to a couple of pa
IT may come as a surprise to some people to know that this area was a favourite location for parachuting enemy agents during World War II.
Josef Jakobs landed near Ramsey in January 1941 but broke his ankle on landing and, by calling out to a couple of passing workmen for help, was apprehended. As his arrival was rather public, we could not use him as a double-agent and later Jakobs was executed, in August, in the Tower of London.
Other, later executions were carried out in Wandsworth prison. I would be very interested to hear from any local person who can recall Jakobs's case.
Another more successful agent was codenamed Tate (by us) after he landed near Willingham in September 1940. From a visit to Willingham I was able to trace his path quite accurately.
His subsequent career as a very successful double agent has been well documented, leading eventually to the award of the Iron Cross for his "work on behalf of the Abwehr". He gave us valuable service right up to and including D-Day.
Some other 'local' arrivals were: Eddie Chapman, code named ZigZag, who landed just south of Ely and 'Summer', a Swede, who came down near Denton, Northants. All agents, except one, were expected and met on arrival because we were intercepting the German secret service radio messages - a task in which I was involved and later employed in identifying the source, networks etc. and then passing the messages to Bletchley Park for deciphering.
The one exception was Ter Braak, a Dutchman, but he ran short of money and, failing to contact any other agents or his German controllers, shot himself in a Cambridge air raid shelter.
In total, out of the 120 or so agents who came here, 39 were successfully 'turned' to act as double-agents on our behalf. I have been able to compile a PowerPoint-based file on this subject and would much appreciate contacting anyone who has recollections of such agents and their arrests.