308 Pages
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Spies in the Empire


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308 Pages


The dramatic origins of Britain's Secret Service: from its haphazard beginnings to the formation of the world's leading intelligence agency.

There have been a great many books written on military intelligence and the secret services rooted in the twentieth century; however there is very little covering the activities of the men involved in the establishment of this fascinating institution. Its origins lie in the British Army: from the beginnings in the Topographical Department to the Boer War, when various factors made the foundation work of the eventual MI5 (founded in 1909) possible. Incredibly, there were two vast armies in the 1840s, both serving the state and Queen, yet no formally organized military intelligence bureau. Such ignorance of the enemy brought about many botched and bloody encounters, such as the notorious ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’. The thrilling story of the various intelligence sources for the armed forces throughout the Victorian period is one of individuals, adventurers and small, ad hoc bodies set up by commanders when the need arose.

Stephen Wade’s enthralling book reveals the unsteady foundations of one of the country’s most prominent and renowned organizations, tracing the various elements that gradually composed the intelligence and political branches of Britain’s Secret Service.

Note on Illustrations; Acknowledgement; Preface; Introduction; The Beginnings: Enlightenment Information; Heroes of the Great Game: The Russia/India Axis; The Crimea and the Mutiny; The Intelligence Branch and Professionalism; The Zulu Wars and Egypt; Spies, Informers and the Fenians; Adventurers and Advances; Kitchener and Baden-Powell; The Boer War: Sir John Ardagh and Others; The Foundations of MI5; Spy Mania; Epilogue; Chronology of Main Events; From the Great Game to MI5; Bibliography and Sources; Index



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Published 01 July 2007
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EAN13 9780857287014
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Spies in the Empire
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Spies in the Empire Victorian Military Intelligence
Stephen Wade
Anthem Press An imprint of Wimbledon Publishing Company www.anthempress.com
This edition first published in UK and USA 2007 by ANTHEM PRESS 75-76 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8HA, UK or PO Box 9779, London SW19 7ZG, UK and 244 Madison Ave. #116, New York, NY 10016, USA
Stephen Wade © 2007
The moral right of the author has been asserted.
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A Catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
Library of Congress Cataloguing in Publication Data Wade, Stephen, 1948 – Spies in the Empire: Victorian Military Intelligence / Stephen Wade. p. cm. includes bibliographical references. ISBN 978–1–84331–262–8 (Pbk) 1. Military Intelligence – Great Britain – History – 19th Century. 2. Intelligence Service – Great Britain – History – 19th Century. I. Title. II. Title: Victorian Military Intelligence. UB251.G7W34 2007 355.3’432094109034 – dc22 2007026386
ISBN–10: 1 84331 262 X (Pbk) ISBN–13: 978 1 84331 262 8 (Pbk)
1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2
Printed in the EU
Notes on Illustrations Acknowledgement Preface 1. Introduction 2. The Beginnings: Enlightenment Information 3. Heroes of the Great Game: The Russia/India Axis 4. The Crimea and the Mutiny 5. The Intelligence Branch and Professionalism 6. The Zulu Wars and Egypt 7. Spies, Informers and the Fenians 8. Adventurers and Advances 9. Kitchener and Baden-Powell 10. The Boer War: Sir John Ardagh and Others 11. The Foundations of MI5 12. Spy Mania 13. Epilogue Chronology of Main Events: From the Great Game to MI5 Bibliography and Sources Index
vii ix xi 1 17 2 9 61 8 5 105 125 145 161 183 203 223 243 249 253 261
Notes on Illustrations
1 . Frontispiece ofNarrative of a Journey to Khiva, Moscow and St. Petersburgby Captain James Abbott. One of the very first narrative texts of the Great Game. 2 . Summud Khaun – Abott’s steward. He was valuable as a linguist and guide on the Khiva expedition. 3 . Captain Thomas Montgomerie, who raised the pundit corps. 4 . Nain Singh – a principal pundit who worked with Montgomerie. 5 . General James Walker, Surveyor-General of India. 6 . William Howard Russell ofThe Times.despatches from the Crimea are His classics of war reportage. 7. Lord Raglan. Criticised for orders leading to the ‘Charge of the Light Brigade.’ 8 . The Sobraon Barracks, Lincoln: a survival to remind England of one of the most significant battles of the First Sikh War of 1845–6. 9 . The Return of the Spies. In Russell’s diary of his Indian journey, this picture shows the military native spies back at camp, working with the Quartermaster General. 10. From the same memoirs, ‘Good news in dispatches’ shows General Mansfield and Lord Clyde studying intelligence notes. 11. The Dalhousie Barrack, Fort William, Calcutta. 1 2 . Sir Garnet Wolseley. Won fame in the Ashanti War of 1873–4. 1 3 . Picture of Lord Chelmsford fromThe Illustrated London News,1879. At the time, news of the disaster of Isandlhwana had not reached the press. 14. Gonville Bromhead, one of the heroes of Rorke’s Drift. 1 5 . Wolseley inPunchjust before Tel-El-Kebir. Here he is ‘The Modern Caesar’. 16. Gordon as sketched in his journals in the first edition. 17. Gordon in his robes when he acquired the name ‘Chinese Gordon’. 18. Rex Wingate – Kitchener’s Chief of Intelligence. 19. Rudolf Slatin – intelligence second-in-command in Egypt – in chains being shown Gordon’s head. 2 0 . Lord Kitchener on ‘Democrat’ inVanity Fairmagazine, 1910. 21. Kitchener saves Conder’s life in Palestine, from the first biography of the master tactician. 2 2 . The Khoord Khyber, Afghanistan, fromThe Illustrated London News1879. 2 3 . G W Steevens, spy, military theorist and journalist. 2 4 . Sir William Robertson at the time of the Great War. 2 5 . Robertson at the Army Manoeuvres, 1913. 2 6 . Robertson at the time he worked in the new Intelligence Branch of 1902. 27. ‘The Death of two Japanese Spies’, a sensational story fromThe British Workman magazine 1907. 2 8 . Rufus Isaacs, later Lord Chief Justice, involved in spy trials. 2 9 . Mata Hari, spy destined to be shot. 3 0 . Gustav Steinhauer, the Kaiser’s Master Spy, from his memoirs. 31. Dublin Castle – British stronghold and Jenkinson’s base against the Fenians.