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 WWII Mutt & Jeff Double Agents MI5 British Intelligence Files

World War II
Mutt & Jeff Double Agents
MI5 British Intelligence Files

531 pages of British intelligence MI5 documents dealing with the activity of double agents MUTT and JEFF during World War II.


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WWII Mutt & Jeff MI5 Files CD-ROM

John Herbert Neal Moe was born on May 13, 1919 in London of mixed Norwegian and British parentage. Moe returned to Norway with his parents in 1921, where his father opened a women's hair-dressing business.  He often made short visits to his British grandparents in Cheshire. After leaving school he began working as a hairdresser at his father's business.

In June 1939 he went to England on a longer visit and until the outbreak of war, he worked at Max Factor's studio in Denham learning the trade of a make-up artist. After his return to Norway he continued to work in his father's business and was also employed at the J. A. R. Film Studios hear Oslo.  By the end of July 1940, a few months after the invasion Norway, Moe was virtually unemployed since his father was doing little business and his employment at the film studios had come to an end. In July 1940 he was introduced to Tor Glad, who worked as a postal censor for the German occupation government in Oslo.

The Norwegian born Glad was recruited by the Germans in 1939 to spy on British agents in Southern Norway. Glad says he made no attempt to do any spying and was dismissed after a week. After the German occupation he was approached again by the German intelligence, who was seeking someone to spy on Norwegian loyalists. Glad said that although he received pay he never did any spying. He was later moved by his German handler to the postal censorship office, where Moe began working a few days later.

Three months later Moe was fired from the censorship office when he came under suspicion of stealing a censorship black list and providing it to a Norwegian loyalist. Glad left the censorship office a month later because he found the work boring.

Glad went to his German handler and suggested that he be sent to England as an agent. This proposal was accepted and it was suggested that he be sent to England with another person to work together as a team. Glad suggested that Moe should accompany him on his mission. The Germans trained Moe and Glad in wireless communications and sabotage.

In April 1941, a German seaplane landed off the coast of Scotland and Moe and Glad were put in a rubber dingy that they paddled to the beach at Aberdeenshire. Their mission was to perform acts of sabotage and to report on British military activity.  They were expected to set fires in food dumps and factories, to sever power lines and generally to create panic among the British population. The Germans wanted reports by radio on the location of airfields and the effect of German bombing.

Immediately after getting to the shore they turned themselves in to the local police. The MI5 soon convinced the pair to work as British agents.

John Moe was given the code name MUTT and Thor Glad was given the name JEFF. Mutt & Jeff was cockney rhyming slang for deaf, which originates from a late 19th century American saying describing two bungling men. The naming most likely derived from H C ('Bud') Fisher's cartoon Mutt and Jeff which was the first regular daily cartoon strip, appearing in the San Francisco Chronicle in 1907.

Their new mission as British agents was to use the radio sets supplied to them by the Germans to relay false information that would lead the Germans to believe that the allies were planning on invading Norway. To keep German intelligence from becoming suspicious that the two had been flipped by the British, fake sabotage operations were set-up.

The Germans asked that a power plant be destroyed. This resulted in a controlled explosion at a power plant were only non-operating obsolete equipment was destroyed. The incident was reported by British press and the Germans gave credit to Moe and Glad, not knowing it was actually the work of MUTT and JEFF. Fooled by the fake sabotage, the Abwehr (German military intelligence) conducted four separate parachute drops to re-supply them with equipment, radios and cash.

Mutt and Jeff's endeavors were part of the British Double-Cross System. The Double Cross System was one of the greatest intelligence coups of the Second World War. John Cecil Masterman, Chairman of the Double Cross Committee, wrote in his book "The Double Cross System," that "we [MI5] actively ran and controlled the German espionage system in this country [Britain]". The Double Cross Committee was known as the Twenty Committee because the Roman numerals, XX, formed a double cross. Due to a combination of counter-espionage work prior to World War II and signals intelligence during it, MI5 agents were in a position to monitor and pick up German agents as they were 'dropped' into Britain. These agents were then 'turned' and began working for the British authorities.

The preferred communication was via wireless telegraphy (W/T), although secret ink, microphotography and, in some cases, direct contact with the enemy was also employed. Initially the Double Cross System was used for counter-espionage purposes, but its comprehensive success provided an excellent conduit for strategic deception, culminating in the D-Day deception operation, known as FORTITUDE. This plan misled the Germans into believing that the Pas de Calais was the real landing area of the Allied invasion, rather than Normandy.

MUTT worked with much success over a four year period, providing the Allies with an important deception channel as well as being a source of counter espionage information of value to British Intelligence.

The MI5 always considered JEFF to be "an undesirable character."  When they concluded they he was not completely forthcoming about his contact with German intelligence while in Norway, he was interned for the rest of the war. When he was returned to Norway after the end of the war he was prosecuted by the Norwegian authorities on account of his dealings with the Germans, though the charges were later dismissed.

The files contain graphic accounts of deception operations, operations involving German parachute drops to their 'agent' and of simulated acts of sabotage against 'targets' in the British Home Counties.

Highlights include:

Photographs of MUTT & JEFF as well as their Norwegian Abwehr (German Secret Service) controller, Karl Andersen. There is also a unique photograph of MUTT being trained in Morse and wireless telegraphy by his Abwehr tutor Pauloski. The file includes Moe's British birth certificate. KV 2/1067 Page 594a is a case summary, KV 2/1067 p. 80k is a report of their arrest by Banffshire Constabulary. KV 2/1067 Page 224a is a handwritten account of their supposed cover story. KV 2/1067 Page 357 is an account of operation PORRIDGE, a German airdrop of wireless equipment and money. Similar subsequent operations (HAGGIS & OATMEAL) are also referred to. There are also accounts of fake sabotage and deception operations, GUY FAWKES (fake sabotage on food dump in Wealdstone), OMNIBUS (invasion of Norway) and PYRAMID. There is a copy of a questionnaire developed for the interrogation of further sabotage agents as well as a signed declaration under the Official Secrets Act.

A summary interrogation report by MI5's chief interrogator, Capt 'Tin Eye' Stephens, is found on KV 2/1068 p.6a. KV 2/1068 Page 254a is a report by T A R Robertson (MI5's chief architect of the Double Cross System) which mentions concerns over JEFF's ultimate allegiance. MI5 became extremely concerned with JEFF's case, due to a security breach but also because of his knowledge of MI5's strategic deception plans, and he was ultimately sent to Camp WX on the Isle of Man. KV 2/1068 Page 374a is a handwritten letter from Glad reprimanding MI5 for his treatment in regard to leakage of information. The file includes photographs of Glad, a forged certificate of registration, his Norwegian passport, a forged national registration card and a detention order signed by Herbert Morrison, Home Secretary and Minister of Home Security.



In addition to the 531 pages above, this collection includes a 17 page once classified as "secret," book review of J. C. Masterman's "The Double Cross System." This review was published in Volume 18, issue number 1 of the CIA's internal journal "Studies in Intelligence."


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MUTT & JEFF Double Agents MI5 File 1
MUTT & JEFF Double Agents MI5 File 2
MUTT & JEFF Double Agents MI5 File 3


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