Edith Cavell

  • Catalogue ref: KV 2/822
  • Date: 03/08/1915 - 06/12/1917

British Nurse, arrested, tried by German military court and executed. Contains photos of Nurse Cavell's grave and other martyrs' headstones at the site of the execution in Belgium. The photos were sent by the French authorities to MI5 to pass on to her mother. There is a letter in response from Edith Cavell's mother, thanking them for the photos.

See also Gaston George Quien KV 2/844: French. Quien was put on trial in France in 1919 for his part in betraying Edith Cavell's organisation to the Germans.

Mata Hari

  • Catalogue ref: KV 2/1
  • Date: 04/12/1915 - 14/03/1924
Mata Hari (KV 2/1 and KV 2/2)

Notorious female spy and entertainer, convicted and executed for espionage on behalf of Germany.

The file includes photos from publications and newspapers about her arrest, conviction and execution including letters and an interrogation report.

File spans KV 2/1 and KV 2/2.


George Veux Bacon

  • Catalogue ref: KV 2/4
  • Date: 29/01/1917 - 23/03/1917

George Veux Bacon was a German spy in the First World War. An American journalist recruited in New York, he was sentenced to death in 1917, later commuted to life imprisonment. Bacon was found in possession of materials for writing invisible messages; these were discovered after chemical tests were carried out on socks in his possession. 

This file includes a letter to the Home Secretary from Bacon begging for a pardon from the British Government. In it he states 'The adventure for which I was punished was a foolish and theatrical one […] not [done] through hatred of Great Britain or her allies, but simply for excitement.' He goes on to talk of his English ancestry and that Sir Frances Bacon is a relative of his. He also states that 'there is no financial reason for asking for a pardon […] but the blood in my veins is English'. Contains a small passport sized photograph of Bacon (KV 2/4 p16).

The files span KV 2/4 and KV 2/5.

Arthur Mitchell Ransome

Arthur Mitchell Ransome was a British journalist and the author of Swallows and Amazons. He went to Russia as correspondent of the Daily News and was considered an ardent Bolshevik. He married Trotsky's secretary. This file includes a small photocopy of a photo of Ransome. 

Leopold Vieyra

  • Catalogue ref: KV 2/3
  • Date: 12/05/1916 - 27/10/1952

Leopold Vieyra was a German First World War spy of Dutch origin. Originally from Amsterdam, he moved to London in 1909 via Paris as a manager of a troupe called 'The Midgets', later became a manager of a 'bijou cinema on Finchley Road' and became a film agent operating between England and Holland. He was discovered to be a German spy, passing naval intelligence to the Germans using secret writing. He reportedly scratched messages into the edges of his films. Vieyra was sentenced to death in 1916, though this was subsequently reduced to ten years' imprisonment. This file includes a photo of Vieyra.

Sidney George Reilly

  • Catalogue ref: KV 2/827
  • Date: 25/11/1916 - 19/11/1944
Sidney George Reilly (KV 2/827)

British, so-called 'Ace of Spies', worked for British Intelligence in the Soviet Union after the Revolution, was lured back into the USSR in 1925, arrested and executed.

The file reveals that Reilly was a Russian-born Jew who was engaged in business activity in New York in 1915, when he came under suspicion from the Russians as being a German spy. This file includes a picture of him and his wife, the actress Pepita Bobadilla, in a newspaper clipping on their marriage, as well as their marriage certificate and reports of bigamy.


Kurt Jahnke

  • Catalogue ref: KV 2/755
  • Date: 23/08/1918 - 01/10/1945

Having reportedly served in the US armed forces before the First World War, Jahnke became an ingenious and successful saboteur operating from the German Consulate in San Francisco in 1915 and 1916. When the USA came into the war he moved his base to Mexico City. This file includes a description of him having 'peculiar eyes like a pig', being 'very fond of women' and a 'frightful snob'. A photocopy of small photograph of Jahnke is included with title 'The most deadly Sabotage team in history'.

Fritz Joubert Duquesne

  • Catalogue ref: KV 2/1953
  • Date: 01/01/1915 - 31/12/1918

Fritz Joubert Duquesne was arrested in New York in 1918 masquerading as an Australian whose identity, it was reported, had been arranged by German intelligence. First came to the attention during Boer War. File contains a report of bombing of British ship 'Tennyson' which Duquesne was behind, a report confirming Duquesne a German intelligence officer and group photo featuring Duquesne.

Sir Roger Casement

  • Catalogue ref: KV 2/6
  • Date: 1914 - 1917

Branded a renegade and traitor, Roger Casement was hanged for his part in working with Germany and Irish nationalists in planning the Dublin Easter Rising of 1916. This file includes: reports from British Prisoners of War re: Casement visiting them whilst interned and recruiting for the Irish Free Brigade (KV 2/6) and a letter in which the British consul offers £5,000 for Casement's arrest (KV 2/6).

File spans KV 2/6, KV 2/7, KV 2/8 and KV 2/9.

Boy Scout Association

  • Catalogue ref: KV 2/3576
  • Date: 09/07/1918 - 17/11/1955

This file contains reports about the impact of the war on the German Scout movement and the political considerations concerning the relationship with the British Scouts and other scout organisations in Europe. There are letters noting objections to German scouts attending the international jamboree in London Olympia, notes about the 'red' boy scout movement and its influence on British Scouts. There is also a note requesting permission for French scouts to send courier pigeons with messages from England to France at the end of the war.