Arthur Graham Owens

alias

Snow

AOB: this will be, Deo volente, a different kind of file series, as it starts already about 1936; thus before the war broke out between German and the UK and France.

As a kind of brief introduction I have quoted prom the first part of Wikipedia's contribution.

Page initiated 4th June 2021

Current status: 14 June 2021

This contribution is meant for studying purposes only; therefore please bear in mind: that this Survey still might obey to Crown Copyright

Chapter 1    (7-6'21)

Chapter 2    (14-6'21)

 

 

According Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Owens

14 April 1899 - 24 December 1957

Quoting:

Recruitment by the British and the Germans

Owens ran a company that made batteries for ships. As such, he was a civilian contractor for the Royal Navy and also had regular contact with the Kriegsmarine in Kiel. His first experience of espionage occurred in 1936 when he had been briefly employed by the Secret Intelligence Service to provide information on what he had seen in the German shipyards.

In 1938, Nikolaus Ritter, an Abwehr agent in Britain under the name "Dr Rantzau", made contact with him. As a Welsh Nationalist, Owens had little loyalty to the United Kingdom. His work also provided a cover for any foreign trips he might have to make. He visited Germany that year and was recruited by the Abwehr. While Owens appreciated the payments for his espionage, his real interest was sexual, as the Abwehr provided attractive women for him. His Abwehr reference was A3504 and was given the codename JOHNNY, later to become Colonel Johnny.

Double dealing

On his return to Britain, Owens had second thoughts and, in September 1938, told the British authorities of his contact and that he was to receive a radio transceiver. Although he went to Germany to collect the radio, two weeks later he pretended it had arrived at the left luggage office of Victoria Station in London early in 1939; Owens turned the radio over and experts discovered it was more advanced than the British equivalent, before returning it to Owens.

On 11 August 1939, Owens visited his Abwehr controller in Hamburg with his girlfriend; during this visit, his wife, from whom he was separated, had written to his German contact denouncing him as a British spy. She also went to the British police to tell them he was a German agent. Despite this information, no action was taken by either side. The British police failed to pick him up on his return on 23 August and he used his radio to send several messages from London to Germany over the next week.

War between Britain and Germany broke out and, on 4 September, Owens made contact with the Special Branch to volunteer his services. However, he was instead interned in Wandsworth Prison under Defence Regulation 18B (?), as someone with hostile associations.

MI5 decided that Owens, to whom they gave the codename SNOW, could act as a double agent. On 12 September, MI5 returned the transmitter to Owens in Wandsworth, where it was listened to by a warder as Owens tried to make contact with the Germans. MI5 agreed to his release on condition he sent agreed messages to his German contacts. Released from prison and installed in a new property with his radio and girlfriend, Owens was helped in mid- September to go to the Low Countries, where he met with German agents in Rotterdam and informed them of the Chain Home stations in England designed to detect incoming aircraft. He was asked, as a chemist, by the Germans if he could poison water reservoirs in England. Returning to England he began transmitting misleading British messages.

 

Activities

In the early months of the war, the Germans asked for regular weather reports from him for the use of the Luftwaffe and also to test his credibility; these were sent by radio. At another meeting in Belgium with the Abwehr, this time in Brussels, Owens was given £470 in cash (the value of a house) for the Chain Home information, and some detonators for use in sabotage. He had taken along another double agent, also a Welsh nationalist, who was instructed to start a postage stamp business so that the Germans could communicate through microdots on stamps.

A further meeting in December 1939 took place between Owens and Ritter of the Abwehr in Brussels where he was given more money and promised a salary of £250 per month. He would be sent explosives and a better radio. Owens told MI5 that the Germans had told him that the Phoney War would end in mid-May, which proved accurate. The Germans believed Owens was their top agent in Britain. Grimsby

MI5 was suspicious of Owens. When he chartered a fishing trawler from Grimsby, GY71, to meet with Ritter on the Dogger Bank in the North Sea, Owens took a second double agent, Sam McCarthy (codenamed BISCUIT) (who had been put in place by MI5 to test Owens), so that McCarthy could be trained in Germany. The meeting failed, and Owens was found to be in possession of a list of all key MI5 personnel (a 1939 menu card for a formal dinner of Intelligence personnel) arrested and threatened with the hangman as a traitor. The menu card was traced back to a disillusioned MI5 officer, who then committed suicide. A second attempt at a Dogger Bank meeting, this time controlled by MI5, also failed. Ritter in a Dornier Do 18 flying boat failed to find the trawler.

MI5 believed that Owens was primarily interested in making money from both sides and that probably neither side trusted him entirely. Owens was permitted to continue radio transmissions to Germany, but MI5 tried to make sure that Owens only passed on to the Germans the information that they had given him. Transmissions were now being made by Maurice Burton, an ex-prison warder who had been looking after Owens in Wandsworth and had adopted Owens' style of transmitting. Ritter still believed in Owens but was feeding him with misinformation about the planned invasion of Britain, at the same time as Owens was sending misinformation to Germany about the bombing of Britain.

 

Let us hold here first, and let us start with the file series:

KV 2/444, page 1

 

KV 2/444-1, page 3     This copy is a typical example of SIS (S.I.S.) (later M.I.6) they delete names before releasing it; as I suppose internally they keep the file genuine including 'names'

 

 

                                                                              Copy of S.11 report (S.11 is the agent's cover-number)                                24th November 1936

                                re "snow'

                                Result of further observation.

                                Monday 16th November  (continued)

                                xxx (Snow) left home at 9.50 a.m. at 16 Caxton Street*, and Admiralty, afterwards  met at the Regent Palace Hotel the women Dyer and Scott with whom he spent most of the afternoon at different restaurants, and at 4.15 p.m. with them visited Grosvenor House, but they were not seen with them visited Grosvenor House, that they were not seen to leave.

* At this address was situated: Expanded Metal Coy. Ltd. Moved on 3rd April 1929 to Burwood House, 16 Caxton Street

                                Tuesday 17th November.

                                            Observation from 8.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m.    xxx  not seen.

                                Wednesday 18th November.

                                             At 9.40 a.m.   xxx left home, called at 16 Caxton Street, and at 13.25 entered Room 3 on 4th floor at Abford House, Wilton Road, where he remained five minutes, then used telephone at Victoria Station, returning to Abford House where he stayed 30 minutes, after which he made an enquiring at Regent Palace Hotel, called at several Public Houses and again visited 16 Caxton Street, from 2.40 to 3 p.m.  He next went to the Army Stores, Victoria Street (without making purchases) and home at 3.40.

                                Thursday 19th November

                                            xxxx   visited Regent Palace Hotel where he conversed with the women Dyer and Scott, then called at Admiralty, 16 Caxton Strett, and Abford House.  Before entering latter address he purchased a periodical headed "Small Trade".

                                             At 1.15 he met his supposed wife whom he accompanied to Regent Palace Hotel, where they joined Dyer and Scott.

                                xxx afterwards visited public houses, had refreshments at Coventry Corner House, returning to Regent Palace Hotel at 3.35.  He sat i the lounge until 4.50 when the three women came in carrying parcels. They all entered the   (here this reference breaks-off)

KV 2/444-1, page 7   (minute 121a)

 

                                                                                                                23rd September 1937

Memorandum.

                                    On Thursday, 16 September 1937,  Mr. Owens (Snow) rang up Lt. Col. S.I.S.   He was told to ring up again of the following day, viz. 17 September 1937, which he did,  He was then told to ring again on the following Monday 20 September 1937, on which occasion he was informed that Lt. Colonel (Hinchley Cooke?) would meet him at noon on Thursday, 23 September 1937.

                                               At this interview the following were present: Lt.Colonel W.E. Hinchley Cooke and Major J.R. Whyte.

                                                Lt.Colonel (Cooke?) asked Mr. Owens (Snow) for his reason why he wanted to see him, in view of the fact that he had been told as far back on any kind of Intelligence work. (Mr. Ownes) replied that he had made a very good contact in Germany in connection with "batteries".  In reply Lt. Colonel Hinchley Cooke stated that by "batteries' he meant accumulators for submarines.  

                                                Lt. Colonel (Cooke?) again emphasized that Owens had been told as far back as November 1936 that he did not wish to have anything further to do with him.  Owens then then asked the reason for this decision.  Lt.Colonel (H.C.) replied that one of the reasons was that his information was of no value.

                                                Lt.Colonel Hinchley Cooke then reminded (Owens?) that on the last occasion he was interviewed, viz. towards the end of 1936,  at Abbey House, Victoria Street, S.W., he (Owens), had stated that he had been in touch with the German Secret Service and that this was an additional reason why Lt.Colonel (Cooke) had cause him to be informed that he did not wish to have any further deqalings with him, as there could be no question of his "running with the hares and hunting with the hounds".

                                                 (Owens) then repeated that he had a very good contact and might be of great use to Lt.Colonel Hinchley Cooke.

                                                Lt.Colonel (Cooke) then informed (Owens) again that he had no further use for him and no time for further interviews.  In order to make this quite clear to him, he asked him to sign an acknowledge to this effect.

                                                (Owens) queries the necessity for such a document and it was pointed out to him by Lt.Colonel Hinchley Cooke that if he, on his own account, chose to have dealings with the German secret Service and got into difficulties, a record on the file was require, so that this dependants could not claim compensation, from the British Intelligence Service. (AOB, a contradictio)

                                                (Owens) then expressed his willingness to sign an d did in fact sign a document reading as follows:-  I fully realise that I am not employed and not been employed since November 1936 by any British Intelligence Service".  He signed this document in the presence of Lt. Col. xxx Lt.Colonel Hinchley Cooke and Major Whyte. He signed quite voluntary.

                                                During the entire interview which lasted about fifteen minutes Owens did not volunteer and information about the "contract" referred to above, nor was he invited to give information of any sort or description, relating to Intelligence matters either British or German.

 

KV 2/444-1, page 12

 

Dr. Ranzau

c/o George Campbell

Edgar Ross Str. 5

Hamburg

Germany.

AOB: Dr. Ranzau was an alias of Major Ritter of Ast-X  (Hamburg). A then impressive personality well known in intelligence circles. 

KV 2/444-1, page 13

 

Please digest the hand writing yourself.

Notice that he signed with Johnny

Letter being dated: September 21, 1937

AOB: Johnny was Owens German cover-name; thus we may derive that Arthur Owens had been already an engaged as an agent of Ast-X in Hamburg.

KV 2/444-1, page 14

 

Telegram noticing, that: Phillip and Ethyl arrive Hamburg today 

KV 2/444-1, page 17

 

The quintessence of this letter is, that Owens is desperately awaiting Dr. Rantzau's letter.

But, he might not be aware that his mail sent to an address in Hamburg is being withheld (retained) by G.P.O. as are mails addressed to people in England sent from an address in Hamburg being retained (on order from the Home Office). This is most likely the reason for considerable delays.

This aspect was already utilised from the 1920s onwards! Were, of course, most places in Germany stood constantly under a kind of watch.

KV 2/444-1, page 26

 

Mr. A.G.? Owens

Pullmann Court

Streatham Hill

London SW. 2

England

Please notice that the stamp is from Denmark

A nice evidence - that mailing from Western European Countries were generally suspicious.

KV 2/444-1, page 27

 

                                            My dear Mr. Owens,

                                                    I think you for your wire and your two letters and shall be expecting the sample. For the time being I do not need any further information on sample materials. I I do, I shall send you another wire.

                                                    As to the test battery I must say that the price of £75,-.- is rather high, As you wrote yourself that you were trying to get it a little cheaper I hope that you have been able to convince your manufacturer that he has to revise this price.  However,  on account of such a price reduction there must not be any reduction of the quality.

                                                    Then there is another thing. You know how difficult it is for me under the present circumstances to get foreign exchange. Therefore, I would request  that we agree on part payments. I would be able to send you as a first down payment approximately £30.-.-, and as soon as I have official notification of shipment I would send another £20.-.- and after the arrival of the battery whatever balance may be left.

                                                    I trust that after having had a satisfactory business connection for the last year you would agree to this suggestion.

                                                    Please let me know your answer about return mail so that there may not be any further delay.

                                                    Hoping that all is well with yourself and your family, I remain    

Yours truly

Dr. Rantzau

AOB, I suppose that in this stage "secret writing" was not yet a subject investigation; because the letter certainly would have carried traces against it.

AOB: please be always aware - that the KV 2/xxx file series are running in time just contrary the page PDF numbers; hence: the higher the page numbers the more you are going backwards in time!

KV 2/444-1, page 32    (minute 108a)

 

                                    Postal Services department

                                            General Post Office

24th August, 1937

                                    Confidential.

                                    Dear Liddell,

                                                            In view of the nature of the contents, you will no doubt wish to see the accompanying packet addressed to Dr. Krause, Mittelweg, 117A, Hamburg, which has been returned from Germany as undeliverable.

                                                Yours sincerely,

                                        P.??apted

 

                                    Captain G.M. Liddell. (M.I.5)

KV 2/444-1, page 55

 

Dr. Krause

Hamburg. Mittleweg 117A

Germany

stamped: 23 April sent and returned 18 August 1937

A.O.B.: The street name at least existed, as well as number 117A.

KV 2/444-1, page 35

 

An example of one of the items within this package

KV 2/444-1, page 39

 

In 1937, such photo must have represented an acoustical directional gear as to detect aircraft on an acoustical manner; a technique quite practical in those days.

KV 2/444-1, page 95

 

Notes on Snow's (Owens') statements.

                                    1.    Snow (Owens) says he is unable to add anything to his statement, but in reply to questions he makes the following admissions:

                                        Page. 1.    That he first met Pieper in Sept. 1935, and was introduced to him by a certain Mr. Sweeney of the Federated Trust & Guarantee Coy. London.

                                        He also states that Pieper's next meeting with Snow (Owens) was in Wiesbaden in January 1936, and that on that occasion went to Wiesbaden "for a holiday".  (NB:  This meeting took place before his first meeting with ourselves (S.I.S.))

                                        Snow (Owens) states that he saw Pieper again in London to weeks later, i.e. in February, when the latter arrived from Harwich at Victoria Station, where Snow (Owens) met the train.

                                        Pieper was then staying at the Eccleston Hotel, and afterwards stayed at 36 Gillingham-Street where Pieper was acquainted with the llady of the house.  On this occasion introduced Snow (Owens) to a Mr. Gorringer (Herbert ? Gorringer) a Canadian, was was staying at the Strand Palace with a foreign princess, and who was "busy getting through £1000" which Pieper stated G. had just received from some service.

                                        Page 2.

                                        Snow (Owens) statement regarding the discussions relating to Italy do not tally with his statements to us (S.I.S.).  In June he informed me that Pieper would go to Italy on our behalf?, and was advanced a sum of money for fares &c. According to Snow (Owens) the discussion with Pieper tok place in April.

                                        Snow (Owens) states that he went to Brussels in April to meet Pieper. My records show that he received some £20 from us to go to Brussels and Cologne (Köln) to obtain information from Pieper for us;  he went, but brought back practically nothing, He now admits that the visit to Brussels was to meet the German SS (= Secret Service) representative Dr. Hoffmann in Brussels.

                                        Page.3.   before Snow (Owens) went to Hamburg, he asked me to advance him fares &c. as he promised information regarding submarines &c. He was paid £30 for the purpose. he brought back practically no information. On his return he told me he had made a visit to Berlin and Düsseldorf but was unable to get any information, "as his visit was too hurried". → (page 97)

KV 2/444-1, page 96

 

                                        Snow (Owens) admits, in reply to a question, thart the Germans paid him travelling expenses when he went to see them in cologne, and once more in Hamburg.  He had an agreement with Pieper to share with him all takings, but "as he had not received more than was sufficient to travel' he gave Pieper nothing after the first meeting following his contact with the Germans.  This is the reason for Pieper's threatening letters.

                                        In addition to Mr. Hoffmann, Snow (Owens) states that he met a certain Obstlt. Schaub in Frankfurt or Wiesbaden.

                                        (He states incidentally that Pieper and Williams were in touch with a certain Frenchwoman, whose name he has forgotten who was then living at the Mount Royal flats;  She was formerly a language teacher in Cologne (Köln), where she had many English officer students)

                                         On making inquiries I have ascertained that Snow (Owens) still has his flat at Sloeane Avenue Mansions, and is receiving letters there.  He has admitted this.

                                        Note:

                                                Snow's (Owens') statement indicate (10 that he was in touch with Pieper before he got into touch with us.  (2)  that he visits to Brussels, cologne, Hamburg (for which we paid, at any rate on several occasions0 were for the purpose of making contacts with Pieper or his German connection with the Germans to us was the suspicion that he was being followed and that his letters were being tapped.  he was then decided top approach us with the story of his relations with the Germans, as a means of disarming suspicion.

KV 2/444-2, 26

 

Mr. Sanders

Post-Box 629

Hamburg

KV 2/444-2, page 27

 

Arrangements are complicated for a new factory to manufacture variable pitch air screws at Lostock Hall near Balton, Lancashire Ltd.

The following firms have undertaken the erection and management of six new factories to manufacture aero engines, Austin Motor Co. Ltd Bristol Aeroplane Co Ltd.  Daimler Co Ltd. Roots Securities Ltd. Rover Co Ltd. Standard motor Co Ltd.

No 4I (Fighter) Squadron now stationed at Catterick Yorkshire.

No 607 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force converted into a fighter squadron.

In December a new group is to be formed in the Costal Air command to be known as No 16 (Reconnaissance) group. With Headquarters at Bircham Newtown,

Three general reconnaissance squadrons, five flying boat squadrons, and two torpedo-bomber squadrons. The Fairey Company have just delivered the first Fairey Hendon bomber to the R.A.F.

Bomber Squadron No 7 and No 102 have moved to Finningley which is a new service Aerodrome.

 

HMS to be completed in December at Yarrow & Co yards is a net-layer and will be named Protector.

An Aircraft carrier is to be built and named Ark Royal to be completed in July 1938 by Cammel Laird & Co Ltd.

 

I have been able to obtain some very important information but will bring it with me when I next come over.

KV 2/444-2, page 28

 

At the Gloster Aircraft Co works there are being built fifteen Gloster Gladiators for the Belgium Air Force these machines will be powered with Bristol Mercury engines of 825 Horse Power each.

Each machine is capable of a speed of 250 miles per our at 15000 feet and a range of 750 miles.

Each machine will be equipped with four Browning Machine guns.

This type of machine is also supplied to the R.A.F.

KV 2/444-2, page 37      (minute 59a) (an apparent, but rare, notice of G.P.O. censorship)

 

                            G.P.O.

P.O. Box 629 - Hamburg.

                                        It has been decided that the enclosed letter bearing postmark York, 6.15 p.m. 9th November, 1936 should be forward. I should, therefore, be grateful if you would re-seal it and include in the next mail for Hamburg.

                                        10th November, 1936.

KV 2/444-2, page 40

 

                    Copy of S.11 (Mr. Murray?)                                        4th November, 1936

                                        re "Snow" (Owens)

                    Result of further observation.

                    Wednesday, 28th October.

                                Snow (Owens) left Pullman Court at 9.5 a.m. when he called for ten minutes at Camera Company, 320 Vauxhall bridge Road, then to Cauldrey & Co. Stationers, 123 Victoria Street, and for s5 minutes at 16, Caxton Street, afterwards to Post Office 32, Victoria Street, where he had letter weighed, purchased stamps, believed for 4½d which he placed on letter and posted same.  He then went to Strand Post Office, where he had another letter weighted, placed on some stamps, value 4½d and posted.

                                At 10.45 a.m. he entered Admiralty, South Arch Block, where he remained until 11.20 then went to the shop of "James A. Sinclair & Co." opticians and camera dealers, 3 Whitehall. "Westminster Camera Stores:, 81 Strand, two public houses, where he was seen to be examining a camera catalogue, and swan and Edgars, Piccadilly Circus, where he was missed.

Thursday, 29th October.

                                Leaving home at 9.20 Snow (Owens) first visited for 25 minutes 16 Caxton Street, then to Broadway Testing Works, Dartmouth Street, 117, Fleet Street, where he purchased a book;  Camera Company, 320, Vauxhall Bridge Road 12 to 12.30, when he left with brown paper parcel, size 8"x 5"x 2", which he carried home at 1.10.

                                Watch on Pullman Court was continued to 6.30 p.m. but he was not again seen.

KV 2/444-2, page 41

 

                    Friday, 30th October.

                                9.25 Snow (Owens) left his address and visited 16, Caxton Street then to Admiralty 10,35 to 11.15 and afterwards to the shop of Edward Whistler & Co. 11, Strand, where he examined binoculars.  He next called at 16, Kings Street (Communist Shop) where he purchased a pamphlet, then to Empire Cinema, Leister Square, 12 noon to 2.15 and then boarded tram to Streatham.

                    Saturday, 31st October.

                                Snow (Owens) left home at 9.30 a.m. visited 16, Caxton Street, left 10.30, then to Stationary Office, Kingsway, where he purchased book headed "Photographs of some Military vehicles and Weapons in Service, 1936 (copy herewith).  He afterwards met in Portsmouth Street, Kingsway, two men, 1st age 35/40 height 6', slightly fresh complexion, dark hair, clean shaven, broad build, dressed grey suit, not hat: 2nd 35/40 height 6', dark hair, full face, clean shaven, heavy build, wearing dark horn rimmed glasses, dressed in dark overcoat and suit, black bowler heat.  He produced them what appeared to be round pieces of metal and then the 2nd described man entered Car D.G.H.196, and drove away. The first described with Snow (Owens) went to Lincoln Chambers, 3 Portsmouth street, where they remained from 11.10 to 11.40 afterwards visiting a local Tavern.   They parted at 12.20.

                            Next Snow (Owens) visited the shop of Francis Cook, Watchmakers, 59 Long Lane, E.6 and after taking tea in the Strand returned home at 4.40.

KV 2/444-2, page 42

 

                            Tuesday, 3rd November.

                                    from 9.35 to 10.10 a.m. Snow (Owens)  visited 16, Caxton Street, then posted letter and afterwards watched Royal procession to House of Parliament.  He then loitered (strolled) in different parts of the West End, then at Victoria Station from Smith & Sons Bookstall purchased Aviation paper entitled "Flying" (copy attached) returning home at 2.45.

                            Note    Car D.G.H. 196 referred to above is registered in the name of Charles Weston & Co. Ltd. engineers. 2 Portsmouth Street, W.C.2.

            (intd) J.O. (Mr. Murray?)

S.11

This Chapter is dealing with Arthur Owens' early days in the espionage business

 

(2)

 

KV 2/444-2, page 62     (minute 52a)

 

                                                                        Kent Country Constabulary

                                                                                        Chief Constable's Office

                                                                                                        Maidstone

                                                                                 12th October, 1936.

                                                  

                                                  Dear Sir Vernon

                                                                    I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter no. PF 45241/DS.7  dated 17 instant, and to inform you that from the official records of the Kent County Council it has been ascertained that the registered owner of Morris '8'black and green saloon car, registered number BHL 88, is Getrude Dyne, 31 Courtfield Gardens, Kensington, S.?. 5.  The vehicle was garaged at Grofton Lodge, Bickley Kent.

                                                                    Unofficially it was learned that the vehicle is now in the possession of a person named Owens.  Sloane Avenue Mansions, Chelsea, S.W.,  it having been sold during July last through Messrs Stearns and Company, S.W.3.  Notification of the change in ownership has not been received from the persons concerned by the Kent County Council.

                            Yours sincerely,

 

                    R.L. Suntus            Major

        Assistant Chief Constable of Kent.

                                                Colonel Sir V.G.W. Kell. K.B.E., C.B.

                                                        Box 500 (AOB, typical Secret Services Drop Box)

                                                                                    London S.W.1

KV 2/444-2, page 66      (minute 45a) 

 

                                S.11 (Mr. Ottaway).

"Snow"  (Owens)

                                                                        Reference the meeting between the above and an SIS representative at St. Ermyn's Hotel yesterday, which was covered by you, A.D.S.(B) has decided that "Snow" (Owens) should be kept under very discreet observation.

                                                                        It is anticipated that tomorrow, Friday, 16.10.36, Snow (Owens) will call at the offices of the Expanded metal Co. Ltd., Burwood House, Caxton Street, leave for the Continent by train, possibly via Victoria-Dover-Ostend (Belgium).

private address is:-

Pullman Court,

Streatham Hill,

                S.W.

                                                                        It is most essential the Snow (Owens) should not become aware of the fact that he is being kept under observation, and the watches should drop him at once if they think that they have been spotted by him.

                                                                        Below is a description of Snow (Owens) as supplied by S.I.S.?

                                                                        Very short and slight; thin brown hair; clean shaven; rather thin and bony face; small, almost transparent and ill-shaped ears, disproportionately small size for a man; curious brown eyes set wide apart and slightly oblique, which gives him a somewhat shifty look; wears brown felt hat, pepper and salt overcoat.  Usually wears brown shoes or boots.  Very small bony hands stained from cigarette smoking; typical Welsh "underfed" Cardiff type.  Speaks fairly correct English without pronounced accent; soft-spoken and lacks assurance in manner. Often wears white or light necktie.

                            S.7 (Guy Liddell???)

                            15.10.36

KV 2/444-2, page 68      (minute 43a)

 

                                                        I met with Snow (Owens) at 12.35 p.m. in the lounge of St. Ermin's Hotel, and selected a table in the centre of the room, in good light.

                                                        I told him that I understood he had been trying to get in touch with me through Index (?), and asked him the direct question -"Is there anything you want to tell me?"  He answered "No".

                                                        I told him that I preferred him to work direct with M ??x but if there is anything he wished to say, he could take the opportunity.

                                                        He then said he was working for the Expanded Metal Company once again and wished to get into touch with someone at the War office and Air Ministry concerning the question of Resistances (I suppose meant is electrical resistances) he added that he had been asked to this by the Expanded Metal Co. He said he wanted to establish a connection with someone in the War office dealing with portable searchlights, and also with Searchlight section of the Air Ministry. I told him I was very busy and might forget. Would he write it down.  Attached is what he wrote.

                                                        He informed me that he is going to Hamburg on Friday, and will go by train, breaking his journey at Brussels, where his son is staying.  He said he was going for the purpose of meeting a business friend who was interested in "rubber hair" for aeroplane cushions.             

                                                        He stated that he might be able to make some more photographs, but I told him not to do so.

                                                        He said that he would get into touch with again tomorrow, 15th October.

                                                        Before leaving him. I again said - "Is there anything more you want to say?".  His reply was -"No, thanks very much".

                                                                                                        S.I.S.

                                                        14th October 1936.

KV 2/444-2, page 87      (minute 23a)   

 

Snow (Owens) and Pieper.

                                                                            On the 9th January 1936, the deputy Director of Naval Intelligence rang me up concerning Snow (Owens).

                                                                            Snow (Owens) had been known to mr. Fletcher of D.E.E. Admiralty, for some considerable time and had frequently given him German technical information. he had told Fletcher that he would like to work for the British government as he frequently visited Germany.

                                                                            I went over to the Admiralty and he was introduced to me and I then took him to the junior Army & Navy Club at about 11.30 a.m.

                                                                            I met him later in the week and told him what Naval and Air information was required from Germany, but did not give him anything in writing.  he knew me by name.

                                                                            He went to Germany and reported his return on the 23rd January 1936, through Index Ltd., Thames House.  he gave me a report on German coastal motor-boats which was of distinct (diverse) value.

                                                                           His next trip was was to Kiel, which terminated with the Camera incident with the Customs.

                                                                            I then turned him over to a "friend", who passed by the name of "X" to him. He was also introduced by xxx to his assistant, who passed under the name of xxx.

                                                                            When he was first contacted he was actually employed in the Electric Battery Department of the Expanded Metal Co. Ltd.  He is still visits the office of this Company, but from what he told Snow (Owens) he is no longer paid by them.

                                                                            His home address is Sloane Avenue Mansions, Sloane Avenue. Telephone - Kensington   xxx Extension

                                                                            In June he informed "X" that he had a German friend named Pieper (which he pronounced Peeper) who was a chemical engineer and would be willing to give information concerning gas and metals.           

                                                                            According to Snow (Owens), Pieper was in London from about the 13th June and returned to Germany on the 27th June.

                                                                            Snow (Owens) produced drawings of |German submarine batteries which he said he had obtained from Pieper.  he stated that Pieper was visiting Italy, including Milan and (La) Spezia (Italian Naval Base), on behalf of a German Engineering firm and that he would be willing to obtain information in Italy.  A verbal questionnaire was given to him, but no results were obtained.

                                                                           Snow (Owens) suggested that "X" should meet Pieper in London, but this wisely was refused.  In the course of conversation Snow (Owens) said that Pieper would not talk about any German matters in Cologne (Köln),  but would only do so at the Metropole Hotel, Brussels.

KV 2/444-2, page 88

 

Recently, on the 21st September, Snow (Owens) told "X" that he did not think Pieper would be of any use.

                                                                            On one or two occasions, Snow (Owens) has proved to be untruthful.  About two months' ago, he said he was going to Germany.  "X" wished to check this and rang up Snow's (Owens') flat.  His wife said that he was in West Hartlepool.

                                                                            He Snow (Owens) met "X" yesterday (22nd) and said that he was going to Cologne (Köln) and Frankfurt and asked for questionaire. He was told to make enquiries on the lines on which he had been previously instructed.  He volunteered that he expected to be back in 3 days.

                                                                            About 3 months ago, he (Snow (Owens)) asked "X" if he knew of Fritz von Kluck, who he stated was in the German Secret Service.  "X" asked him how he knew this and he replied that he was friendly a lady who stays with von Kluck's and that von Kluck had told her.  On being pressed he said she was a Mrs. Buckley (after the war she was: DECARDED), who, lived at 2 Connaught Square Mews, W.2.

                                                                            He Snow (Owens) has never tried to get any information from "X" or xxx. His knowledge of german is very poor. He is never mentioned the same Sander (to whom he addressed messages), and his only reference to the German S.S. (Secret Service) has been in connection with von Kluck.

 

23rd September 1936.

KV 2/444-2, page 89     (minute 17a)

 

                                Note.

                                                   Reference Minutes 13 and 16

                                1.                In view of the fact that Snow (Owens) is due to leave London for Cologne tomorrow morning and there is still no trace of his having taken out a passport. I saw Chief Inspector Forster, S.? after referred the case to A.D.S.(B).

                                                    I asked C.I. (Chief Inspector) to instruct his officers at Dover to scrutinize discretely the passport of all British subjects embarking on the morning boat for Ostend and if they came across anyone of the name of Snow (Owens) to memorise as many particulars of the passport without arousing any suspicion.

                                                    I also asked C.I. Forster to have Snow (Owens) looked up in G.P.O. (General Post Office) and other Registrations.

                                                    C.I. Forster agreed to both requests.

                                 2.                C.I. Forster rang me up later and informed me that there was a correspondence at Scotland Yard regarding Snow (Owens).

                                It appears that some time ago Snow (Owens) was held up at a port on arrival in U.K. in connection with a camera of foreign make and when questioned stated that he was employed in the British Secret Service.  He gave Colonel (Cooke's?) name and a Victoria telephone number in support of his statement.  The matter was finally taken up by Major Vivian (S.I.S. later M.I.6) with Scotland Yard. C.I. Forster offered to let me see the papers if I cared to go and see him tomorrow morning.

                                                    Particulars of Snow (Owens) are under:-

                                                                born  14 April 1899 in South Wales

                                                                holds a Canadian Passport issued 19.8.33.  

(AOB, that may have been the reason why correspondence with Germany were prepared at the: Canada House at Trafalgar Square in London.)

                                 3.                On receipt of this information I tried to get into touch with Major Vivian or Mr. Mills, but both had left their office. Major Vivian's Secretary    (xxx), however was able to tell me that Snow (Owens) was "on their books", and that he was in touch with Colonel xxx but she could not,  → (page 90)

KV 2/444-2, page 90

 

of course, give me any details as to whether or not Colonel xxx was aware of the fact that Snow (Owens) was in touch with the German Secret Service.  I told her that I would ring again in the morning.

                                4.                    D.A.D.S. (B) informed.

                                S.7.     22.9.36

KV 2/444-2, page 99   (minute 6a)          In my perception a relevant reference copy, as to the way the Home Office and the Secret Services maintained a particular watch on correspondence directed to: Snow (Owens)

 

 Please read its content yourself

 

 

 

Selected Historical

Papers from the "Snow" (Owens) Case

KV 2/445-1, page 1

PF 45241

KV 2/445-1, page 2             This file series is running up to July 1938; Why? Because the KV 2/xxx series are with increasing PDF page numbers going backwards in time.

 

                                Letter received at G.P.O. (General Post Office) from S.W.D.O. at 8 a.m. 4th July '38

- - - -

                                Cover address to:  Dr. Richter

                                                              Mittelweg 117a

                                                             Hamburg, Germany

                                Date stamped:-     Wimbledon S.W. 19     11.15 p.m. July 1938.

                                                              1 Half sheet white notepaper - no water mark. (Examined for secret writing - no evidence)

                                                              Four Photo prints- Two of 'Tanks' bearing script numbers 9in ink) 4x2B and 321, and two of A/A (anti-aircraft) Artillery with numbers- 612V and 9Tx, written thereon.

                                                              On plain white cover 9similar to addressed outer cover) sealed by gum flap; Contents:- eight photo negatives (on inch square) of subjects as follows:-

                                                              (1)    Searchlight

                                                             (2)    Aerodrome

                                                             (3)    Three planes in flight

                                                             (4)    Searchlight, with planes behind

                                                             (5)    Corner of aerodrome with planes in mass formation on ground.

                                                             (6)    Searchlight

                                                             (7)    Plane K8252 in flight

                                                            (8)    Plane K2052 in flight

                                The letter, after having been seen by Colonel Cooke (AOB: apparently M.I.5 have come in charge or at least being informed, all emphasised by the notice: Jcm = initials of Mr. Masterman)   was refastened by me and replaced in the Post at 5 p.m. same day.

4th July 1938.        Sgd J.G. Kelsey

KV 2/445-1, page 9     (minute 251a)

 

Metropolitan Police

    Special Branch

                        Metropolitan Police

                                Scotland House

23rd day of January 1939

                                I saw Snow (Owens) at the "Crown Inn" Morden at 1-45 p.m. on Saturday 21st and handed him the transmitting set with accessories, on slip of paper containing instructions and sheet of paper bearing code.    Receipt attached.

                                He informed me that the set was the only one of its kind in England, but several more were operating in France and Belgium.  He added that the telephone number of the Hamburg German Secret Service was 554144. He is in receipt of £45 every two months from German sources, which he collects when he visits Hamburg.  At 11-40 a.m. on the 23rd, I saw him at his request at Westminster when he gave the following information: At 8-30 p.m. on 22nd he left his flat at Morden and when going to Morden Underground Railway Station was stopped by a man of the following description,  age 30-40, height 5' 9½",  medium build (inclined to be slim),  clean shaven, noticeably fair hair, thin face, wearing pince-nez, dressed in what appeared  to be a small black and white check overcoat, turn down soft hat, had the appearance of an American:  This man informed him that he had a message from the "Doctor".  Snow (Owens) professed ignorance of what the stranger meant but after a while the latter produced a letter signed by Dr. Rantzau" (alias of Major Ritter) which the stranger retained) to the effect that he was authorized to give Snow (Owens) a message.  This message was to the effect that Snow (Owens) will shortly receive a telegram "require samples immediately".  Snow (Owens) says that the receipt of this wire will mean that → (page 10)

KV 2/445-1, page 10

 

frontier will be closed within 48 hours and that he is immediately to hire a car and go to the following aerodromes to ascertain hwat machines are filled with petrol, whether the crews are standing by, and whether or not the machines are loaded by bombs:

                                Biggin Hill; Hendon; Ayling (?); Mildenhall; Odiham and Flexstowe, as regards the latter place he is to endeavour to obtain details of the new Sunderland bomber there.

                                Snow (Owens) added that he is to write immediately to Dr. Rantzau and tell him he has received the instructions OK, and that he is standing by.  He will write from the Grand Hotel, West Hartlepool and will add "regarding the samples, I have a car ready to call on all your customers".

                                Snow (Owens) stated that a wire from Rantzau will shortly be sent to his flat at Morden and asked that it be intercepted and he be acquainted of its receipt at the Grand Hotel, West Hartlepool

                                He Snow (Owens) stated that he would leave the latter place (Grand Hotel, West Hartlepool) by the 1-10 p.m. train this day, and will be there a few days.  He asserted that on his recent visit north he did not take any photographs.

To M.I.5            Inspector            Superintendent.

 

KV 2/445-1, page 13     (minute 249a)

 

Copy of S.B. Report Dated 17.1.39. Original filed at 1a Snow wireless folder.

                                Subject:-    Snow (Owens)

                                                    Snow (Owens) rang me up at this office at 10-50 a.m. on 14th instant and expressed a desire to see me urgently.

                                                    I met him in Lyons tea shop, Westminster, at 11.35 a.m. same day.  I told him at the cautions previously given him by Colonel Hinchley-Cooke and myself still held good.  Snow (Owens) stated that he fully understood the position, and that his sole motive was to assist this country.  He then informed me that the transmission set (Mentioned in previous reports, now (is) with M.I.5.) was to be delivered to him before 17th ?? 1939, and that he was in (the) possession of a code and gave it to me (Copies attached0. He said he had not the time to explain its use (it) (then?), and asked me to meet him in the evening of the same day.

                                                    Acting on instructions I met him at the "George Inn", London Road, Morden, at 8.p.m. some day, when he explained how the code worked.  He stated that he went to Hamburg via Dover on 1st January 1939, saw members of the German Secret Service (Ast-X), and went to Stettin (Krugsdorf) with them and witnessed a demonstration of the transmitter. He returned to this country via Dover on 6th January 1939, and since then has been in West Hartlepool in connection with what he termed his "battery business". He expressed a desire to see Colonel Hinchley-Cooke in order to give him valuable information in connection with the German Secret Service.

                                                    I told him that Colonel Hinchley-Cooke was not available, but any information he wished to impart (share), if given to me, would reach him.  He handed me the code and stated he would see me again at 2 p.m. on Monday the 16th inst. when he would be in a position to amplify his story.

                                                    At about 10-45 a.m., 16th Snow (Owens) again rang me at the office and asked that I see him immediately.  I met him at (16) Caxton Street, S.W.1 at 11.45 a.m. annd accompanied him to the premises of the Expanded Metal Co. Ltd, Burwood House, Caxton Street, S.W.1, where he had arranged to have the use of a room.  I handed the code to him and he then showed me a letter to deliver to him that morning which contained three photostat copies containing technical details of the transmitter, one cloak room ticket K.7845 from Victoria Station, and on e small attaché case key.

                                                    He stated that the cloak room ticket would recover a case → (page 14)

KV 2/445-1, page 14

 

 

containing the transmitter. I took the whole contents of the letter to M.I.5 when the details of the transmitter were photographed.

                                                        On instructions I made arrangements with Southern Railway police whereby I claimed the attaché case from the cloak room at Victoria Station and immediately took it by Colonel Hinchley Cooke. The case was opened and found the transmitter, details of which were taken.  I then took steps to replace the case intact at Victoria Station cloak room.

                                                        On instructions I made arrangements with Southern Railway police whereby I claimed the attaché case from the cloak room at Victoria Station and immediately took it to Colonel Hinchley-Cooke.  The case was opened and found to contain the transmitter, details of which were taken.  I then took steps to replace the case intact at Victoria Station cloak room.

                                                        At 2-50 p.m. I again saw Snow (Owens) at 16 Caxton Street, S.W.1 and returned him the letter and contents. He was, of course, unaware that the case and contents had been previously examined.  He stated his intention of immediately claiming the attaché case, and asked that I discretely follow him.  He made his way to the cloak room, obtained possession of the case, and in Lyons tea shop, Victoria made a superficial examination of the contents, and asked that I follow him to the office  in Burwood House (16 Caxton Street).  I did this and at the latter place he transferred the transmitter and accessories to another case and asked that I take the whole to Colonel Hinchley-Cooke.  I asked him for the original code, which he handed me, together with the attaché case and contents, I took to M.I.5 and handed to Colonel Hinchley-Cooke.  

                                                        While I was with Snow (Owens) at Burwood House he showed me what appeared to be a Leica camera, which he said he had bought in England with money provided by the German Secret Service.  he also showed me a small slip of paper on which was written details of what the German Secret Service at Hamburg (Ast-X) had asked him to obtain.  The original iis submitted and reads as follows (with explanatory notes furnished by Snow (Owens) in parentheses):-

                                                        "Thornaby (aerodrome - all possible details with photographs) Radcor Airport (same as Thornaby).  Hill & Co. ship-builders either at Stochton or Middlesborough) - details of ship-building). Planes, Airspeed, Porthmouth (details especially photographs of aeroplane building at Airspeed Works, Porthmouth). 100 Octane Oil (as much details as possible as to the use of this new aeroplane petrol).  Browning gun (information regarding improvements). Blackburn Squadron 1 & 11 (,as much information as possible regarding this aeroplane).  Headquarters A.A. defence ( full details)  4.5. A.A. (full details of this gun).  Arundel Aerodrome 9photographs and full description, henlow Aerodrome (as Arundel).  St. Athens (Snow (Owens) states that this is an underground store depot in South Wales =details and photographs) Sealand, Kidbrooke (full details of the store-depots, contents,  aeroplanes etc. B.V. (Snow (Owens) thinks that this relates to Bauker von ?? steelworks near Middlesbrough - photographs etc.)  C.F.S.D. 9details of cargo fleet at South Durham).  D.L. (Dorman Long, information regarding activities of this firm)  L.N.E.R. (details of docks on North East coast). ....... I prefer to quit here.

KV 2/445-1, page 15

 

- - -

                                                        The remainder of the paper slip gives details as to the code. AKD.  De WJT. is the call sign to be used in transmitting information and means AKD calling WJT.

                                                        The address: Frau Heise Hannover, Sallstra. 27, is a contact between him and the German Secret Service.

                                                        Snow (Owens) stated that the transmitter had a range of 12,000 miles (??) and messages from it will be picked up in Hamburg, Cologne and Stettin.  It can be used with an ordinary 350 volt battery which can be bought easily, or alternatively plugged into an ordinary lamp socket with a voltage of 250 (volts). A switch is provided for this purpose on the set. (AOB, this statement, to me, shows that Owens did not possess a sound understanding of supplying sources and the according range versus distance; neglecting the understanding of propagation. Albeit, that in 1938 the sun-spot maximum was then reached; whereby range/distance and the related transmission energy did not play a decisive role).

                                                        It has been suggested to him that he could work the transmitter from a garage which he would hire, or, by virtue of his technical knowledge of batteries, conceal it inside a battery charger.

                                                        It has been arranged that in the near future he sends a trial transmission to Germany.  When he is ready to do this hw will send a letter from West Hartlepool to Auerbach (mentioned in previous reports) to the effect that "salesman will arrive in Hamburg (German time to be given)".  The time will indicate when the transmission will commence. He will shortly afterwards receive a letter from Hamburg telling him that the salesman arrived safely (or not).  This will indicate that the transmission has been received satisfactory or otherwise.  he will then await further instructions from Hamburg as to future transmissions.

                                                        Snow (Owens) stated that the address: mrs (??) (??) 43B, Oslogaden Oslo, Norway, is a Hamburg clearing house for information from and to England and the U.S.A., and that one Schneider (Decarded April 1955) from South America is Dr. Rantzau's (= Major Ritter)" (Hamburg) right hand man, a woman known as the Baroness (Duchesse Chateau-Thierry at Dorset House, in London) is very influential with Dr. Rantzau.

                                                        When I left  Snow (Owens) at about 4-30 p.m. on 16th inst. he stated his intention of proceeding to West Hartlepool on the 5-30 train from Kings Cross, and that he intended taking some photographs while away. I there-upon informed M.I.5 to this effect.

                                                         Snow (Owens) said he will return to London on Friday evening next and will telephone me on Saturday morning, so that he can hand over the negatives for inspection. he asks that the transmitter, code, etc, be then returned to him.

                                                        he informed me that the German authorities issued him with a frontier pass No. B1/5/2831/38 - which he used to pass out of Germany without question, and which he surrendered when he left.

Sgd. Inspector

KV 2/445-1, page 24        (minute 228a )

 

Snow (Owens)

 Grosvenor Court,

London Road,

Morden, Surrey

W. Auerbach

Inhaber Walter Auerbach

Wandsbek, Kampstraße 45

 

KV 2/445-1, page 25

 

W. Auerbach                                                                                                            Wandsbek, den October 18th, 1938

    Inhaber: Walter Auerbach

Grosshandlung

Abt.1:    Autozubehör und Werkstattmaterial

Abt.2:    Techn.Gummi u. Asbest-Fabrikate

              Treibriemen // Fabrikbedarf

                            Fernruf: 28 17 50

                        Bankkonto: Wandsbeker Bank

Postcheckkonto:  Hamburg 23669                                                                                            xxx

                                                                                                                                                    Grosvenor Court

                                                                                                                                                        London Road,

                                                                                                                                                                Morden, Surrey

                                Dear Sir,

                                        We have your letters of October 14th.  The testing machine is now nearly completed and we would be ready to ship it within about two weeks.               

                                        From your letter we gather that you have completed several new tests and that you deem it advisable to experiment right here in our laboratory.

                                        At the present time we are so taken up with all kinds of other laboratory work that we would suggest that you postpone your trip.

                                        However, if you think that your experiments are really of such importance that they cannot be postponed we would make arrangements to work with you for about two or three days towards the end of this month.

                                        If you can make it possible, kindly arrange your trip over here so that we may be able to complete the tests not later than Saturday 29th.

                                        So if it is possible, please try to be here not later than Thursday the 27th.

                                        Please let us know by return mail.

                Sincerely Yours

 

KV 2/445-1, page 29   (minute 222a)

 

Metropolitan Police. 

Special Branch,

                    Metropolitan Police,

                        Scotland House

6th day of October 1938

                                                    With further reference to "Snow" (Owens)

                                                    This man did not keep his appointment at the 'Grove' public house, South Wimbledon, yesterday evening.

                                                    I saw him, however, at 11 a.m. this day at Lyons tea shop at Westminster Bridge.

                                                    I gave him assurance - as directed by Colonel Hinchley-Cooke (whom also was engaged at M.I.5) - that he has not been compromised with the German authorities.  I again specifically informed him that he was not in any way working for the English authorities; that no responsibility could be taken by them for anything he may do: that no instructions as to working could be given him and that whatever he did was entirely on his own initiative.

                                                    Snow (Owens) replied that he thoroughly understood the position, but notwithstanding what he told him would on his own responsibility continue to impart information which he considered important to the English authorities.

Sgd.   Inspector

(signature deleted)

Superintendent.

 

KV 2/445-1, page 47

 

Transcript of shorthand notes taken at Scotland House, S.W.1, on 24th September, 1938, at interrogation of Snow (Owens) of Grosvenor Court, London Road, Morden, by Colonel Hinchley-Cooke, in the presence of Superintendent and Inspector xxx Special Branch.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            I see you want to see me.

Mr. Snow (Owens)                Yes.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Where did you get my name from?

Mr. Snow (Owens)                I saw your photographs.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Well, look here, Mr. Snow (Owens), before we start, I want to make the position quite clear. Do you remember when I saw you on 23rd September 1937, ...

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Yes.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            ..... When you signed a statement which reads:  "I fully realise that I am not, and have not been employed since November 1936 by any British intelligence service?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Yes.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            You acknowledge that as your signature?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Yes.

Col. Hinchley-Coke:               You will also remember that some months ago I saw you.

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Yes.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            In the room of the Assistant Director of Naval Intelligence?

Mr. Snow (Owens):               Yes.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            And told you then, so far as the Naval, Army and Air Force Intelligence Services were concerned, what our view was?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Exactly.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Therefore, before I talk to you, it is my duty as a duly authorised person to caution you that whatever you say will be taken down and may be used in evidence. You quite understand that?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                I quite understand that. I will do the best I can.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            It is a question that I caution you that whatever you say, you say it voluntary.

Mr. Snow (Owens):                I think I have done my duty.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Do you understand the caution - that whatever you say now may, if necessary, be used in evidence at a later stage?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Quite.

KV 2/445-1, page 48

 

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            You quite understand that?

Mr. Snow (Owens):               Yes, I quite understand that. I have given my statement.  Well, you wanted to see me.

Co. Hinchley-Cooke:            Yes ...

Mr. Snow (Owens):                I thought it was very important and i think it is my duty.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Well, what have you to say?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                There's the whole statement ...

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Well, could you tell me again? I would like to hear it myself.

Mr. Snow (Owens):                It is a long statement regarding the German secret service, their movements ...

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            You have been in touch with the German Secret service?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Yes, I have.  At least they have been in touch with me.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Were you paid agent?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Yes, I was.     

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            And how much money did you receive a month?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Well, it varied really ...

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Well, how much?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Thirty to forty pounds a month.                                  

Co. Hinchley-Cooke:             A month?  Regularly?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Not regularly.  It varied.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            But ever since I saw you last?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Oh, no. Not since then. I only had that during the last three or four months, Because they treated me with suspicion until then.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            They treated you with suspicion?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Definitely.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Why?

KV 2/445-1, page 49

 

Mr. Snow (Owens):                I didn't know their method of working.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            There was then a gap from time to time I saw you.   Until the last three or four months you have been in touch with them at all?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Yes, I was in touch with them occasionally.  I can't exactly tell you how, but at different times - only when I got a letter from them.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Ever write you?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Yes.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            And they said they wanted to see you?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Yes.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            With whom were you in touch?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Five or six different people.                

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            What were their names?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Let us get away from this.  I have done everything I can.  I have brought you information - where you can obtain the German secret Service codes.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Do you suggest that you, as a self admitted secret service agent, just came to see me...

Mr. Snow (Owens):                I have always worked for this country. I was told in the first place by a mr. Howard that the first job I would get would be to organise a system in Germany to get information out.  That was my one object in view.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            And you suggest that you have done that since you received that warning from us?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Not since.  They started at that time. They have since been in touch with me all the time.  I have seen right from the beginning exactly what has been in the wind and I have known there has been danger.  I have tried to tell you. I have phoned you up several times because I have known of the danger.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Yes.  The point you don't seem quite to realise is that you seem to have been working against our instructions. We told you quite definitely that we did not want anything more to do with you.

KV 2/445-1, page 50

 

Mr. Snow (Owens):                It is most difficult when anything like that starts.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            You need not have seen them.

Mr. Snow (Owens):                They would probably come to me here.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Who are the people with whom you are in touch?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                At least seven or eight different names.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Do you mean just one person with six or seven different names?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Oh, no, quite different people.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Do you remember their names?  Have you seen them?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Yes.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Don't answer unless you want to ...

Mr. Snow (Owens):                I am quite prepared to do everything. I want you to know that I knew the danger. I want to give help, but I won't take chances unless I am prepared.  I am only trying to explain to you that I have always done everything I could for this country.  Probably my system is different from yours but I have always had one object in view and that was to help the country when I could.  I can now. I risked my life to get it for you, at least I deserve a little thanks. I am prepared to go on and I will take further chances if you whish it, but I will do no more - it isn't worth it.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            You wish to go on and you know our view?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Of course, and I know what the view on the other side was and i know the danger there was.  My duty at that time was to get all I could and be in a position to help this country. And I have taken that risk.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            We'll come back to that in a minute. Can you give me the names of the people with whom you have been in touch?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                From memory ... one name was Mrs. Nohl (Decarded 1965) another one Petersen (Decarded ??). There are some German names that I can't remember.  I shall recall all of the presently. In any case I can get them. There is a Davidson.  (he apparently is neglecting Dr. Rantzau alias of Major Ritter)  

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Well, now you saw them all personally?  All of them?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                I saw all of them personally.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            What position does Mrs. Nohl hold?

KV 2/445-1, page 51

 

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Mrs. Nohl (Decarded 12.3.65) (removed from the card index; of HOW?) is a man really.  That address is used for correspondence in another name.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Well, what is the address?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Windesbeschaussee (name likely being incorrectly spelled)?

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            That's in Hamburg, isn't it?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Yes.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            What is Mrs. Nohl's real name?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                That is on of the names I am trying to think of.  A German name I cannot think of.  I may come across it again.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            And how often have you seen them?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Every time I have been over there.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            How often?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                About every two months.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Every two months since when?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Since the beginning of this year (AOB, really?)  Anyhow I can look it up and prove it definitely.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            That is near enough for the moment. And where did you see them actually?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                They have several offices.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Do you know where they are?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                I am prepared to give you all this in proper order if you wish, providing you are not suspicious of me all the time. I don't want to think that you are stell suspicious of me. You have got the realise what is going on.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            I have a shrewd suspicion. Still, where did you see them?  Where are their offices?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                I will give you them later.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Tell your story then.

Mr. Snow (Owens):                It is all in there. If you read that out; that is my story.

Inspector                                Would you like me to read that out?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Yes.

KV 2/445-1, page 52

 

Inspector (Referring to statement)      I will start from where you stated you were appointed chief operator:

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            I will start where you stated you were appointed as chief operator in England with authority to travel to America with a special German Secret Service code, and I am to receive here in England a special secret transmitting set will enable me to be in direct touch with secret German headquarters in the Rhine district ...

col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Now, who appointed you actually?

Mr. Snow (Owens):               The heads from Hamburg. I am going to give you them.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Well, why not give them now so that I can get the story in correct sequence?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                I will give you them in time.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Why not now?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                I would like to see the end of these questions.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Haven't you got them in your head?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                No, I can obtain them for you. I can get them from Germany.  I haven't got them now, but I can get them.                        

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            You don't know who appointed you?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                No.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            This man, whose name you can't remember, appointed you chief operator in England and you are going to get a transmitting set?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Yes.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            When?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                I don't know.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            You don't know which room in the offices?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                I have no idea. They asked me to bring it with me. (AOB: taking it with him to England)

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            No, I only had a small bag.

Inspector cont.                       "My duties will consist of receiving, coding and sending to Germany, information supplied to me and information which I may obtain in connection with general was activities and political information...

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Have you got the code? 

KV 2/445-1, page 53

      

  

Mr. Snow (Owens):                to the / ??? frontier. I hadn't memorised it very thoroughly, but I could get the missing points quite quickly.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            How does the code work?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                It is very complicated and after we are through he I will do all that.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            All right.

Inspect. cont.                        "... and I am also to have sole charge of all secret addresses of German agents in European countries and to be in charge of a bureau in England for the purpose of distributing information...

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Where is that bureau supposed to be?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Well, wherever I wish. I could rent a room anywhere.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            You haven't settled on that, have you?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                No, as soon as i got all that I came right to you.  If it is better to question my boy ...

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Never heard of your boy. I don't know the first thing you are talking about.

Supt.                                      You have a boy?  A son?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Yes. You sent to a certain office in the city and he had quite a lot of questioning and was kept there for hours.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            What office?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Somewhere around the monument district.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Who questioned him?  For what purpose?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                He was sent up there by the Labour Exchange.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            And they questioned him?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                They wanted to know all about me, my business and so on.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            That's strange.

Mr. Snow (Owens):                The strange part was that the names given to him were the same names as were given to me by a certain gentleman near Victoria Station.  I came here on account of that.  I did not thought it was too dangerous.

KV 2/445-1,page 54

 

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            You were going to make your office wherever you thought fit?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Yes.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Where are those names of the agents in Europe?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                They are to be given to me.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            When?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                When I go back.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            When do you propose to go back?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                I thought of going next week, but I don't know.  It all depends.

Supt.                                      What sort of passport do you travel on?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Canadian.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            But you are not a Canadian yourself?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                I have lived there for some time.

Supt.                                      Have you got on e passport only?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Yes, just one.

Inspector:                               referring to the transmitter set you state there are only three of these transmitting sets in existence, They operate on a wave length of forty metres. From what you said they have not been sent yet, but are already in operation...

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            In England?

Mr. Snow (Owens):               I don't know.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            You don't know whether they are in this country or elsewhere?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                No, I don't.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            And the code you had will be used on these sets.

Mr. Snow (Owens):                On those sets.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Well, the type of code we will talk about later on.

Inspector:                              Those sets will be used to send messages abroad?  They will be used to send messages of vital importance leading up and during the war?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Of troop movements, aeroplane movements and ammunition movements.

KV 2/445-1, page 55

 

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            That brings us back to the question of the code which we will discuss in detail presently.

Inspector (Reff)                      You are also requested to supply information to the German secret service relating to plans, drawings, photographs and other confidential stuff, which will be sent by you after you have collected them ...

Mr. Snow (Owens):                After they are send to me. I am supposed to collect them and will be sent to me.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            What sort plans are you collecting?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Position of power stations in different districts.  They will supply me with information of the first towns in england to be bombed and I am to supply them with the complete plans of all power stations and steelworks in these cities.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Your are to send these plans over to Germany?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Some will be sent through Sweden and Denmark, Holland and other countries that would be neutral; others were were to be sent to the addresses.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            They haven't gone to the addresses yet?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                No.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Did they search you at the Dutch frontier?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                No. But going out they stopped me at the frontier inspected my passport and asked me quite a lot of questions.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Going out from where?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                From Holland to Germany.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            But you were coming back?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Yes, coming back I knew this - quite a lot of people had a lot of trouble with the Dutch customs.  That is why I tore up those addresses.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            You can recall some of them?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                There is one at Oslo; the name at Oslo - if I remember correctly - is Petersen (Decarded 18 November 1957?, likely pointing at HOW).

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Yes, what else was there?

KV 2/445-1, page 56

 

Mr. Snow (Owens):                But there was so much.  There was so much to memorise and so much of this code - it was important for me to memorise that. I got in touch with you and tried and tried to let you have the code and let that as you should be able to now at the weekend - it may be possible to get some vital information.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            That was your intention when you left Hamburg - was to get the stuff there?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                I was afraid of Holland.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Why didn't you put it in a letter and address it to yourself?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                I was very nervous.

Supt.                                      So far you have given us nothing that we could check.

Mr. Snow (Owens):                I will get them for you by going back for them, and if I can get them myself I will have them sent there.

Supt.                                      How many addresses are there?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Six.  One in Oslo, a lady in Sweden ... their names I can't recollect...

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Was it a common Swedish name - something ending with 'sen'.

Mr. Snow (Owens):                No.   

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Then, one in Sweden.  Where else?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Two in Holland. One in Hamburg.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Do you remember the Hamburg one?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Maxwell: I don't remember the address.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            That was the name?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Yes.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Well, and that was that. They were the six addresses they gave to you.  Did you have to write all these address in ordinary letters, or code, or invisible ink or something...

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Oh, no.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            They gave you no invisible ink?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                No.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke;            No instructions of that sort, at all?

KV 2/445-1, page 57

 

Mr. Snow (Owens):                No, nothing at all.

Inspector (continuing             "One of my duties is that I supposesed to see that the agents with whom I am in touch are working satisfactorily...

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Where are these agents?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                They are going to supply the names to me from London here.  There is one I know. I was going to ask you to check up. He was a very dangerous man and drives a taxicab in town.  His real name I don't know.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Do you know one of his aliases?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                No. There are German names. But I can tell you of the address it is in Caledonian Road, the name is Shaw (Decarded 3 February 1955) - if I remember correctly - it is a small store; they sell sweets and tobacco and papers and they receive letters there for these man.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            That tobacco and sweet shop receives letters for these people?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                They told me in Hamburg that it is a very reliable place.

Supt.                                       Have you been there? It is in the Caledonian Road?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Yes, It is near Kings Cross station - as you go out from the station. You can be there in only two minutes.

Supt.                                      Is it on the left or right side of the road?

Mr. Snow (Owens):               On the right side of the road.  Three or four shops up.

Supt.                                      Then it is almost on Pentonville Road.

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Very close to the main road.

Supt.                                       And that is a sort of letter-box for these people?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                That is what they told me and that in time shall have letters sent there.  They would address them to me and James Garrick.

Supt.                                       James Garrick?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Yes.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            But so far you haven't had any letters yet?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                No. I never asked them to address them there, but they told me that this man was going for them there.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            The taxi driver?

KV 2/445-1, page 58

 

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Yes.

Supt.                                       This taxi driver: is he an Englishman?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Yes.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Have you seen him?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Yes, in Hamburg, but only a glance.  The same man that met me met him, I knew he was there at the time. He smuggled me across the frontier. 

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            He went to the frontier and they got him across?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Yes, but not in the train.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Have you ever been smuggled across?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                No, not yet, but they said that if I was to get on any German frontier they would smuggle me across.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            What name did you know this fellow by?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                It is very difficult for me to remember this German name. He is supposed to do as a sideline, to enable him to travel around, a special preparation made in Germany for washing hands without soap. A grease sort of soap.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            This sideline is to enable him to go around the country?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Yes, I understand that he has been subject to questioning once by the British authorities.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            This taxi driver?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Yes.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Does this taxi driver collect information?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Absolutely.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            You don't know how he takes it across?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                No. I was to get information sent to me, and any information that I had, if it was absolutely necessary - something regarding troop movements - the transmitter must be used with the code. Any plans, photographs would be forwarded to those addresses which they gave me, by mail.

Inspector                                Can you work the machine - the transmitter?

KV 2/446-2, page 1

 

Mr. Snow (Owens):                not very well: I said I could.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Where is it to be installed?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                It was brought up by a technician in charge of that department giving me all information. It is a transmitter that cannot be checked up as regards the click of the key. It has a range of 12,000 mile (AOB, certainly not true) and it is as big as that ... (Demonstrating with hands.)

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            It is quite a small thing?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Yes. It is manufactured out of French and English parts, and can be buried in the ground.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            And apart from the taxi man, you said there is another one.  do you know who that is?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                No, I know he is here - but I shall get that information.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            he is travelling the same way as the taxi man?                                                    

Mr. Snow (Owens):                No, he is travelling privately - staying at hotels and so forth.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            The other fellow - you don't know?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                No.

Inspector                                There is another man coming next week to London.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            That will make three - with the taxi driver and the one you know of.  The taxi driver is British, but you are not certain as to their nationalty?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                No.

Insp. referring                        He said he had access to representatives of the German secret Service at Hamburg who had shown him plans of the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) for a massed attack on British aerodromes.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Did you see them secretly or openly?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                I saw them openly. It is a kind of list together with a map, and all those aerodromes are marked with two crosses.  Others with one... I was told: "You need not to be too particular about them.  We want immediate information at once of these aerodromes. You go on train to these aerodromes and get the men and machines concentrated there and send them when we tell you. "The ones to be attacked first are marked with three crosses.

KV 2/445-2, page 2

 

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            The list was marked on the map itself?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                They ha a list here and a map there regarding all these aerodromes.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Where were these aerodromes, do you remember?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                There were a large number, including Mildenhall, Chichester - they were very particular about Chichester - and there were two aerodromes .. Thornaby and Felixtowe.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            What about our friend - Manston.

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Oh, yes. Manston.

Supt.                                       Was it supposed that you were to take this set with you or were you to come back to London to transmit?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                They said it was portable and that I had to travel by train as much a s you could. I could hire a car. All I had to do was to run out two wires out of the car. And all the aerodromes I had - if there were machines, munitions or guns - they wanted to know at once, and by the operation of the code you can understand how they manipulate all this.

Supt.                                        Do you speak German?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                 Very little.

Supt.                                        These conversations were to be carried on English?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                All in English.

Inspect. Ref                            Details of movements of infantry and ambulance supplies - and that you went to Hamburg last Sunday and for the next three days were meeting people who had been sent there for you benefit...

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Which route did you take?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                Harwich and Flushing (Vlissingen).

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            Where did you stay?

Mr. Snow (Owens):                I was staying in different hotels. The last was Graf Moltke.

Col. Hinchley-Cooke:            That is where you stayed last time? They picked a room for you at a different hotel or is that where you stayed yourself?

 

AOB: A dilemma is, does it make really sense to follow Arthur Owens' (Snow's) interrogation integrally?

In my perception it does, because we get an impression of the state of affairs about 1938.

As a compromise - I would like to publish Chapter 2 on the web - now 14 June 2021

 

 

 

To be continued in due course

By Arthur O. Bauer 

Start