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Thread: German spy North Queensland WW2

  1. #1
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    Default German spy North Queensland WW2

    When my mother was an 18-19 year old, she was held for 3 weeks at an American base in North Queensland on suspicions of being a German Spy. It would have been 1942 or 1943. She was kept in a tent under armed guard while they tried to find out information on her. Finally after 3 weeks they let her go as she would not give any details.

    I now have documents, codes and maps which imply that she really was a German agent. She would tell us the story that she had just parachuted into the top of Australia and was making her way down to Sydney, but never confirmed some details. She was an Australian and was uniquely beautiful and so would make a lasting memory for any soldiers at the camp.

    I am hoping that someone would either have memories of those days or be able to refer me to some other site. I am writing a book about her life and how and why she became a German agent. I have tried NARA but they say I need the unit who held her. I am looking for evidence that could prove her story.

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    Default Re: German spy North Queensland WW2


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    Default Re: German spy North Queensland WW2


  4. #4
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    Default Re: German spy North Queensland WW2

    Quote Originally Posted by clannev View Post
    When my mother was an 18-19 year old, she was held for 3 weeks at an American base in North Queensland on suspicions of being a German Spy.
    Where in North Queensland? Depending upon what she meant by North Queensland, it could be anywhere along or inland from roughly 2,000 km or more of coastline.

    As she was Australian, what made them think she was a German spy?

    Quote Originally Posted by clannev View Post
    It would have been 1942 or 1943.
    By that time Germany had little or no Kriegsmarine or commerce raider presence in waters around North Queensland. Germany had pretty much abandoned the theatre to Japan.

    Nor did Germany have much reason for intelligence interest in Australia in 1943 as all Australian land forces facing German forces had left to face the Japanese, while the remnant Australian air and naval forces were fairly insignificant as components of the British forces.

    Was it a 'back door' exercise where an attempt is made to penetrate the intelligence sources of the primary target, being Britain, by getting access to the sources of another nation, being Australia, sharing the primary target's intelligence?

    Quote Originally Posted by clannev View Post
    She was kept in a tent under armed guard while they tried to find out information on her. Finally after 3 weeks they let her go as she would not give any details.
    She should have been handed over to Australian security authorities. The Americans had no jurisdiction over enemy spies in Australia, where the Americans were also guests.

    When they let her go, where was she and where did she go?

    Quote Originally Posted by clannev View Post
    I now have documents, codes and maps which imply that she really was a German agent.
    Could you post some images or details?.

    Quote Originally Posted by clannev View Post
    She would tell us the story that she had just parachuted into the top of Australia and was making her way down to Sydney, but never confirmed some details.
    I suspect that by 1942 and much more so in 1943 that weren’t many, probably any, German vessels in range of anywhere in North Queensland capable of launching a plane from which she could parachute.

    If she landed in the top of Australia, being somewhere near the tip of Cape York, she didn’t land anywhere where she had the slightest hope of making her way down to Sydney. She’d be bloody lucky to survive in that country, no matter how much she had in the way of supplies. She couldn’t carry enough to sustain her for the time it would take to walk out of that country.

    If she was an Australian, why would she need to parachute into the middle of nowhere with almost no chance of survival and even less chance of getting to a railhead or bus service or anything else that would get her on the way to Sydney? Why not take a ship and land in Sydney Harbour? The German intelligence services would have been more than capable of arranging that.

    What was she required to do when she got to Sydney?

    What were her tasks?

    How did they bear on German intelligence or other interests?

    How was she going to get information back to Germany?
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

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    Default Re: German spy North Queensland WW2

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ID:	4906My mother had German friends in Sydney before the war. She married one of them overseas in 1940. He was in the Panzers in North Africa and killed in 1941. She said because of that and her love of languages she got involved in something that got out of control. She worked as an "agent" in Singapore, Hong Kong and was a lot in Cairo and North Africa. She spoke French, German and Italian fluently and worked as an interpreter in later years in Melbourne.

    Landing in North Queensland was her way of getting back into Australia. She lived in Sydney. I do not think she would have spied in Australia. I do not have all the answers. I have only accessed a locked case of hers and there is enough in there to show her story was not imagination but not enough to tell all answers.

    One of this spy group of hers Ulrich blackmailed her in Sydney in 1953, with threat of exposure to the authorities. He had kept some evidence on her. This caused her to abandon her Australian husband and us three children. She was blackmailed until he died in 1957. I know this story sounds fictitious but I remember some of this as a child.

    I will try and attach a couple of items, but not sure how to do this
    Last edited by clannev; 10-26-2010 at 08:40 PM.

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    Default Re: German spy North Queensland WW2

    Her German husband might have been registered as an alien if he was still in Australia after the outbreak of war. If you know his name you might get details here http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/exp...istration.aspx

    Her German friends in Sydney should have been registered as aliens if they stayed here after the outbreak of war and they may have been interned, records for which are here http://www.naa.gov.au/about-us/publi...ets/fs101.aspx

    If your mother came to the notice of the security services in 1942 onwards, you might find a record here

    records of investigation of known or suspected enemy sympathisers by the NSW Branch of the Commonwealth Security Service, are located in the following series:
    INVESTIGATION FILES (PERSONS AND ORGANISATIONS), ALPHA-NUMERIC SERIES, 1942–46 C320
    Recorded by: 1942–1945 Commonwealth Security Service, NSW (CA 946)
    1945–1946 Commonwealth Investigation Branch, NSW (CA 904)
    Quantity: 4.5 metres (Sydney)
    NSW Security Service file – Enemy aliens released from internment [2 pages, box 9], 1940–44 C320, 134
    http://www.naa.gov.au/naaresources/p...s/chapter5.htm

    Possible connections to Queensland / North Queensland are the pro-German Japanese academic Ryonosuke Seita http://home.st.net.au/~dunn/sigint/japagentseita.htm and the Japanese agent Umeda http://home.st.net.au/~dunn/sigint/u...tlandroads.htm

    You might get a lead on something from this book http://ipoz.biz/Titles/MDM.htm
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

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    Default Re: German spy North Queensland WW2

    Even if your mother was 19 in 1942, she would still have been only 17 in 1940 when she got married. If she was 18 in 1943 she would have been 15 in 1940. Would marriage at those ages have been possible under the law of whichever country she got married in, presumably Germany?
    Last edited by Rising Sun*; 10-26-2010 at 08:42 PM.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

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    Default Re: German spy North Queensland WW2

    Thank you for reply. I have list of all Germans in Sydney from NAA. Yes my mother was 16 when married. She said she looked older and in war time you could get away with things. Some of German friends worked as agents with her, so I presume they left Sydney before being interned.

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    Default Re: German spy North Queensland WW2

    Reminds of a friends Grandfather.

    He was suffering from Altziemers and would move between perfect recall and other extremes. They asked me to visit his house with them as he had a huge amount of militaria that he had from his wartime service and previous generations (their family had a long tradition of service in the British Army, including service at Rorkes Drift - one of the items in his cupboard was an Assegai, sheild and a pith helmet).

    Among the many items he returned with from his WW2 service, they knew he had been in the early commando units but he never spoke of his service, were several boxed german medals, various German Army documents such as leave passes and travel documents but the crowning glory was a full black SS uniform, complete with armband and snazzy peaked cap. Obviously his family were rather stunned by such a find, especially when we discussed its likely value.

    My mate asked his Grandfather who was sat in the room with us while we emptied his cupboards, why he had a German SS uniform.

    He glanced over at us and simply said "It made getting past sentries alot easier... they never asked so many questions when I wore that"...

    As far as I know they are still having difficulty getting his war records released 10 years after his death.

    Amazing stories can be found in the most mundane of places.

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    Default Re: German spy North Queensland WW2

    Many of the German Abwehr records were recovered in 1945. Those in US possesion were eventually copied & indexed. Suposedly the originals were returned to Germany sometime after 1975. Confirmation by these records may not be possible since they are incomplete, but is worth a check. I'm unsure which German government agency might have custody. Any copies in the US would probablly be held by the National Archives

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    Default Re: German spy North Queensland WW2

    Thank you for your info.

    I have tracked down where the abwehr files are in Germany and will have to pay a researcher to find my information. I am holding off on that expense until I try all avenues. I am slowly trying to find my way around the American files, with difficulty and have found some pre war German info from Australian Archives. It is a slow process.

    Am using this site in case anyone remembers an incident like I described. I have already had a reply on another subject forum from a veteran.

    The Americans were about to let my mother go after a few days, when the person in charge spoke in German as my mother was leaving the tent. She reacted and he realized that she could speak German and said " I knew you were German." Her reply was I speak French too, but that does not make me a Frenchwoman" He kept her for a few weeks but could not get her to talk or find out anything on her. She told us that she never carried any identification on her but always posted it ahead of her to the next town.

    Thank you again, all info and research suggestions help.

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    Default Re: German spy North Queensland WW2

    Quote Originally Posted by clannev View Post
    Thank you for your info.

    I have tracked down where the abwehr files are in Germany and will have to pay a researcher to find my information. I am holding off on that expense until I try all avenues. I am slowly trying to find my way around the American files, with difficulty and have found some pre war German info from Australian Archives. It is a slow process.
    I doubt you'll get anything from Australian archives if she was held by Americans.

    There would be an Australian record only if she was handed over to Australian police, security or military authorities, which didn't happen, or just remotely possibly if there was something sent from the Americans to Australian officials.

    I still find it unlikely that Americans would have held her for several weeks and then released her without some reference to Australian security or military officials as the Americans were subject to Australian law and control so far as spies and the like were concerned.

    If she was held in North Queensland 1942-43 that opens an enormous range of possible American army ground force and army air force units dotted all over Queensland. Without some geographic location or unit identification you'll be struggling to identify where she was held or by whom.

    I still don't understand why she would have parachuted into North Queensland to make her way to Queensland when as an Australian she could have landed directly in Sydney off a passenger ship.

    Quote Originally Posted by clannev View Post
    She told us that she never carried any identification on her but always posted it ahead of her to the next town.
    What is the point of posting identification to the next town if she's not going to carry it or, by implication, use it where she happens to be before reaching the next town and posting it ahead? That doesn't make sense.

    One of the first steps in inserting an alien spy is to provide authentic identity documents.

    But your mother wasn't an alien in Australia and had no need for false documents, and no need to avoid proving her identity.

    No disrespect to you or your mother, but parts of her story just don't make sense, even allowing for the bizarre events which occur in war.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

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    Default Re: German spy North Queensland WW2

    All of my mother's story is too long to tell on this site. I am not looking in Australian archives for American info. but for other parts of her story.

    My mother travelled on false passports so could not have come back into the country legally. She didn't apply for Australian passport until 1956. She didn't have identification on her when travelling down to Sydney as she didn't want any of her activities to be linked to her father, who was a well known and respected police sergeant in Sydney.

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    Default Re: German spy North Queensland WW2

    Quote Originally Posted by clannev View Post
    My mother travelled on false passports so could not have come back into the country legally. She didn't apply for Australian passport until 1956. She didn't have identification on her when travelling down to Sydney as she didn't want any of her activities to be linked to her father, who was a well known and respected police sergeant in Sydney.
    As an Australian citizen she would have needed a passport under the Passports Act 1938 to leave Australia, which she could have used to return to Australia.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

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    Default Re: German spy North Queensland WW2

    I do not have all the answers that is why I am trying to research all info that I do have

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