Jump to content
The Education Forum
Sign in to follow this  
John Simkin

William Norman Ewer Spy Ring

Recommended Posts

There is a fascinating story in Christopher Andrew's The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5 (2009). He claims that in 1920 the Soviets started a spy-ring headed by William Norman Ewer in London. He was a journalist and in 1912 he was appointed as chief foreign correspondent of the Daily Herald.

Ewer was sent to cover the Russian Revolution. His reports included an interview with Leon Trotsky. The Daily Herald held a meeting on 31st March, 1918, where it welcomed the revolution. According to Stanley Harrison, the author of Poor Men's Guardians (1974): "It was the first of a series of huge meetings in the Albert Hall to welcome the Revolution and demand in general terms that all governments follow the Russian example in restoring freedom. twelve thousand people filled every seat and five thousand were turned away."

Christopher Andrew argues that Ewer was working with John Henry Hayes, the MP for Liverpool Edge Hill (1923-1931). They managed to recruit three members of Special Branch, Inspector Hubertus van Ginhoven, Sergeant Charles Jane and Albert Allen. All three men were arrested and Allen admitted that: "Any move that Scotland Yard was about to make against the Communist Party or any of its personnel was nearly always known well in advance to Ewer who actually warned the persons concerned of proposed activities of the Police."

The three men were dismissed from Special Branch but it was decided not to prosecute them. Guy Liddell, a senior MI5 officer, wrote in his diary that the trial would bring back memories of the Zinoviev Letter. As the arrests took place before the 1929 General Election Liddell argued "the general belief is that it was thought to be bad politics that have a show-down... it was felt generally that another Zinoviev letter incident should be avoided."

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Jewer.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Jherald.htm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I read in the guardian that the same book has details of MI5 bugging 10 downing street during the Heath government and for a further 15 years after that. Why it would stop, I don't know. It was claimed that the bugs were never listened to or used as a source of information. Not the brightest explanation an 'intelligence' agency.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder if the General Strike had something to do with it as well?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×