Stevens, Richard Henry.

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Stevens, Richard Henry, born 09-04-1893 in Athens. was head of the Passport Control Office (PCO) in the Netherlands in 1939 and one of the British intelligence officers abducted to Germany at the Venlo incident. Stevens was the son of a captain of the British merchant fleet and a Greek mother. In 1913 he joined as a cadet officer in the British Malay States Police. At the outbreak of the First World War, he was a lieutenant in the Rajput Rifles in the Indian army. In 1933 he joined the intelligence service of the British Indian Army, where he translated for two years on the “North-Western Front” decoded Russian radio messages. From 1935 to 1937 he was commissioned in India with plans for war mobilization.

He spoke excellent German French and Russian. Greek was his second native language, moreover he spoke Arabic, Hindu and Malay. He was athletic and had won numerous trophies. In April 1938, Stevens, now a major, came to London to the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS). On 19-07-1938 he took over the management of the Passport Control Office (PCO) in The Hague, The Netherlands.

The PCO was part of the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS). The branch in The Hague was the second largest PCO on the European continent after Paris. It employed eleven employees in a country whose citizens did not have a visa requirement for Great Britain. From here the espionage against the German Reich was controlled. The advantage of the diplomatic immunity of the intelligence service staff was contrary to the fact that this facility in the Nieuwe Parklaan 57 in The Hague was well known and also penetrated by the German defense. Stevens was kidnapped in November 1939 at the Venlo incident together with the British agent Sigismund Payne Best to Germany. German Nazi propaganda presented Stevens and Best as alleged masterminds of Georg Elser’s Bürgerbräuattentat. Dr. Franz Fischer, the SD agent who acted as a middleman to arrange the covert meetings between the British agents and the Germans. Cafe Backus on the Dutch-German border near Venlo where two British SIS agents Captain Sigismunt Payne Best and Major Richard Stevens where kidnapped less than 20 hours after the Elser’s bomb exploded  in Munich. Also captured was Jan Lemmens, Best’s driver. Another Dutchman, Lieutenant Dirk Klop of the Dutch intelligence service was killed in the brief gun fight with the German ‘kidnappers’ lead by Major Alfred Naujocks. commander of the SD squad. The British agents had been lured to Cafe Backus to met with  a dissident German General said to be planning a military coup against the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler. Hitler justified his later invasion of the neutral Netherlands partly by citing the complicity of the Dutch with the British Secret Service that was revealed by this incident.. Jan Frederick Lemmens, born 11-05-1898, was the owner of an auto repair shop in The Hague, 88 Binckhorststraat in Bezuidenhout and the occasional driver of Best. Lemmens was released from Sachenausen concentration camp and returned to The Hague on 02-10-1940. Sigismund Payne Best died in 21-09-1978, aged 93, in Calne. Lieutenant Dirk Klop was heavenly wounded during the kidnapp and died of his wounds at Protestant Hospital, Düsseldorf on  09-09-193, age 33. Major Alfred Naujocks survived the war and died 04-04-1966, age 54, in Hamburg.

A young Nazi lawyer, Walter Schellenberg  who used  used the alias Captain Schaemmel in the Venlo incident, joined the SS in 1933. He met Reinhard Heydrich  and went to work in the counter-intelligence department of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD). From 1939 to 1942, he was Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler‘s personal aide and a deputy chief in the Reich Main Security Office under Heydrich who answered only to Himmler. In that capacity, he played a major role in a 1939 false flag operation against Stevens and Best

Stevens and Best betrayed vital secrets about British intelligence, which were used to justify the German invasion of the Netherlands on 10-05-1945 and to prepare for the German invasion of England. Isolated from each other, they had to spend more than five years as special prisoners in Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps, albeit in relatively good treatment. In retrospect, their later portrayals of captivity differed, as can be seen from the correspondence of Best-Stevens after the war.

Under adventurous circumstances, liberty regained freedom shortly before the end of the war.

Death and burial ground of Stevens, Richard Henry.

He left the army on 26-02-1946 as Lieutenant Colonel, to whom he had been promoted in 1941 during the captivity in absentia. He worked as a translator, ia. between 1951 and 1952 at NATO in Paris and London. He died of cancer on 12-02-1967, age 73 in Swindon and his ashes are scattered at the Garden of Remembrance of the crematorium in Swindon.

 

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