What did MI6 or MI5 think about Hess?
MI5 had a special branch in 1941 known as B Branch whose job was to handle suspected German agents. They had some very competent people, although many were rank amateurs in intelligence gathering. Men like John Cecil Masterman, Frank Foley, T.A. Robertson, and ‘Tin Eye’ Stevens who all spoke German and were familiar with every aspect of German society. Masterman was behind the Twenty Committee (XX – Double Cross system) who were so successful during the war turning German agents into doubles and sending disinformation back to their handlers in Germany.
After a few days in Scotland, the authorities moved Hess south to the Tower of London and then to Mytchett Place near Farnborough in Surrey, known as Camp Z.
It was here that MI5 would have examined every detail of Hess’s previous life. No decoy or Hess double could have withstood five minutes under this kind of professional scrutiny (childhood in Egypt, education in Germany, pay, housing, insurance, parents, co-workers, etc.). Every facet of a man’s life would be examined under a critical eye and Hess’ life was well known to his interrogators since he was a public figure and had been on a podium with Hitler for almost 20 years. It is almost inconceivable that the MI5 did not discover the truth about the man.
*Originally posted in December 2016