I’m sure, as with many historical fiction authors, the information we research is spun into threads and woven into our stories.
Excerpt from Part Two of The Windmill
January 1940, Colonel Taverner speaking to Major Blackthorn at the War Office, London:
Colonel Taverner and Major Blackthorn will have further discussions on clandestine arrangements to be kept secret, just as their real counterparts in the War Office did. The general research below led to the thoughts behind a number of significant plot threads within The Windmill and the stories to follow. A major character, loosely introduced within The Windmill will make significant discoveries that will add, not just to Ginny’s quest for family truths. But also within the entanglement of intrigue in late Victorian and early 20th century ‘Great Game’ espionage.
A spiders web of spying
Excerpt from National Archives: KV/12: General Staff, Eastern Command,Horse Guards Whitehall
The Secretary,War Office Whitehall Date: 18/11/1908
Taken from the secret document illustrated, before World War One, Captain Edward Watson reports to the Brigadier General. The intelligence service were interested in a statement that had been recently written by the Daily Mail about a territorial officer who claimed that a certain German officer had spoken to him of; ‘his “district” in England, explaining that every German officer “had a part of England to know thoroughly.”
Precision spying in their chosen areas.
The territorial officer then explained in his statement to Captain Edwards;
‘An English lady, married to a German officer has repeatedly told L. Col. H. B. Williams. General Staff, that her husband’s “district” is part of Yorkshire.’
Clearly, intelligence given to them of whom and where.
He further explained that he received other similar reports from other reliable persons.
‘reports have reached me form time to time since 1900’.
(Spot the spelling mistake, hence quoted correctly!)
What is also interesting is the date he speaks of, 1900s – Obviuosly this had been happening for quite some time!
The next piece of information makes you question what was going on as he clearly states the facts.
‘the date Major Dame, a pro-English officer, who was head of the German Secret Service’
That bit of information caught my attention… a pro-English officer at the head of the German Secret Service!
‘was removed and replaced by an Anglophobe, Major Brose, and a third section “Great Britain” (the first and second being France and Russia) was added to the Nachrichten Bureau
The Nachrichten Abeiltung, also known as ‘N’ was the Naval intelligence department of the German Imperial Admiralty Staff or Admiralstab between 1901 – 1919.
The territorial officer remarks that Major Dame was replaced and Great Britain, after France and Russia, was now added to German Secret Intelligence…a list?
So it wasn’t just Colonel Taverner and Major Blackthorn who were aware of lists…
Not just Germany were spying. Apparently, all for quite some time prior to the First World War!
The officer now concludes in this section by asking that the Home Office and Post Office assist in;
‘marking down and tracing the German agents in England’
So, behind the story in which Colonel Taverner may well be speaking to Major Blackthorn about a specific situation, clearly, they were not the only ones.
As you read Part Two of The Windmill you will realise that this is the case. Discover how truth and connections can be twisted to encourage ordinary people to do extraordinary things.
Real-life leads us to so much more…
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