27 MARCH 1915, Page 18


Is this entertaining little volume of reminiscences Sir Robert Baden-Powell joyfully accepts the title of spy, and he thus does something to remove the absurd discredit attaching to a title which is too loosely used. The process of finding out information about the enemy while one is dressed in civil clothes is called "spying"; the exactly similar process when one is dressed in uniform is called "reconnoitring" or "scouting." By all logic the two processes are equally honourable. In fact the spy accepts the greater risks, for in war his life is forfeit if he is captured, yet when this happens he is looked down upon as a "despicable spy." "I don't," says General Baden-Powell, "see the justice of it myself." We don't either. A large part of the work of the Intelligence Department is of coulee simply "spying," and very difficult work it is, requiring coolness, daring, and resource. Even in peace time if the spy is caught he cannot expect to have a word said on his behalf by his Government. The terms of his employment require him to accept the consequences. It is true that in peace time he will not be shot, but he may quite easily find himself condemned to several years' imprisonment fora trivial offence. The only case in which odium justly belongs to a spy is when he is treacherous or venal—when he spies upon his own land and his own people in order to sell the informa- tion to an enemy, or when he betrays the hospitality of the foreign country in which he lives. Other spying is simply what General Baden-Powell aptly calls "reconnaissance in disguise."

Having cleared the ground of cant, we may proceed with a light heart to pay General Baden-Powell the compliment of saying that he was born to be a spy. Ha evidently enjoys the job. On one occasion be was sent to find out whether a certain Power was secretly making artillery emplacements at a spot which had not been previously regarded as of military importance. He wandered about the hills in the suspected district with a gun in his band, a game-hag on his shoulder, and a dog at his heel. He came across officers marking out

positions, oitis dw.bhyr when mt h. Aeuylwoi.ini own SkaGr•� London: C. shoot over the ground which they bad just pegged out. Afterwards trees were planted to conceal the new forts. But, as the author remarks, trees intended to conceal may sometimes have exactly the opposite effect. At Tsiugtau, for example, Pearson. [1.s. net,' the Germane covered gun emplacements with newplantations, and as there were few woods in the neighbourhood one had only to look for young plantations to suspect where the guns, were. This is surely an amusing instance of German thoroughness defeating itself, as it so often does; and General Baden-Powell gives other instances. The Englishman has a trick of seeming to be stupid, which often pays him very well. With his stupidest expression on he would not be so hope- lessly the victim of a rule of thumb as to use new plantations for screens in an almost treeless country. Another instance of German bungling was when a party of spies motored about Kent nominally examining-Roman ruins. When they asked a Kentish landowner to direct them to a certain rain, be regretted that he had not a map with him in order to explain their route exactly. Thereupon one of the antiquaries produced a map on which very small water supplies had been marked—details not mentioned on large-scale English maps. Of- German spying in general it may be said that it is too thorough ; the German Government disbursed much money to incom- petent persons who sent useless information. Besides the insignificant Germans resident in Britain, the German Govern- anentemployed German commercial men who had important businesses here. General Baden-Powell makes the interesting comment that the more substantial persons who act as resident spies in foreign countries are frequently nouveaux riches anxious for decorations or rewards. A. German named Steinhauer was for some years one of the chief " post-boxes" (as the- Germans all spies resident abroad) in England. When the German Emperor came to England for the opening of the Queen Victoria Memorial, Steinhauer was attached to his staff. Fortunately, the chief German spies in England were well known; their correspondence was regularly tapped without their knowledge; and when war broke out they were -arrested.

"It was the enormous sums paid by Germany for information that made it worth while for American-Germane to start a spy bureau with its headquarters in Belgium. The informa- tion of the bureau was, of course, at the disposal of any -country which would pay the price. We like the simplicity with which General Baden-Powell adds, "by pretending to be an American, one was able to get a good deal of minor and useful information without the expenditure of a cent." It woe this bureau which told General Baden-Powell six years ago about one of the German plans for invading England. The plan was to out off the North Sea from the Channel by means of sub- marines and mines and rush a fleet of transports acmes to the Yorkshire coast. There were nine embarking stations in Germany, all provided with piers and platforms. There were also steel lighters for disembarkation. Fine weather would be highly desirable for the adventure, and the Germane bad characteristically come to the conclusion, on a computation of averages, that July 13th is the finest day in the year. On the other hand, they meant to make the attempt when the British people were distracted by a Bank holiday. Consequently they hid their plans for the Bank holiday nearest to July 13th— the August Bank holiday. The aim was to paralyse the great industrial towns of the North Midlands:—

"Their theory was that if they could rush an army of even

• )0,000 men into Leeds, Sheffield, Halifax, Manchester and Liverpool without encountering great opposition in the first few hours, they could there establish themselves in such strength that it would require a powerful army to drive them out again. Bringing a week's provisions with them, and seising all the local provisions, they would have enough to sustain them for a eon- ssiderahle time, and the first step of their occupation would be to expel every inhabitant—man, woman, and child—from the neigh- bourhood and destroy the towns. Thus, within a few hours, some fourteen millions of people would be starving, and wandering without shelter over the face of the eonntry—a disaster which 'would need a large force to deal with, and would cause entire dis- ruption of our food supplies and of business in the country. The East Coast of Yorkshire between the Humber and Scarborough lends itself to such an adventure, by providing a good open beach for miles, with open country in front of it, which, in its turn, is pro- tected by a semi-circle of wolds, which could be easily held by the (Jarman covering force. Its left would be protected by the Humber and the right bf the Tees, so that the landing could be carried out without interruption. That was their plan—based on careful investigation by a small army of spies—some five or six years ago, before our naval bases had been established in the north. If they had declared war then, they might have had no serious interference from our Navy during the passage of their transports, which, of course, would be protected on that flank by their entire fleet of warehipe. At first glance, it seems too fanciful a plan to commend itself to belief, but in talking it over with German officers I found they fully believed in it as a practical proposition. They themselves enlarged on the idea of the me that they would thus make of the civil population, and fore- shadowed their present brutality by explaining that when war came, it would not be made with kid gloves. The meaning of their commands would be brought borne to the people by shooting down civilians if necessary, in order to prove that they were in earnest, and to force the inhabitants through terror to comply with their requirements."

Among the other reminiscences, there is a capital story of scouting with a Zulu, who noticed in a curious way that a trap was being laid for the author and himself by the Matabele. General Baden-Powell and the Zulu used to ascertain the Matabele positions every night by noting where the cooking. fires were lighted just before dawn. One night, however, when about six fires had been lighted, the Zulu exolaimed that a trap was being laid. Ho said this because those six fires had- been lighted in regular successiou, instead of mutually and more or lees simultaneously at ordinary cooking fires would be lighted. The Zulu then slipped off his clothes to crawl on. alone and investigate while General Baden-Powell waited. The story is psychologically complete, because while he waited. General Baden-Powell became tormented with suspicions as to the loyalty of the Zulu. Every one who goes in for spying develops an abnormal faculty for suspicion. And the need for suspicion is well expressed by the fact that where the loyalty of a spy is of vital importance it is often necessary to spy on the spy. If the venal spy were a man who could safely be trusted, he would not have been that sort of spy at all. The Duke of Wellington used to say that he was con- vinced that his chief spy in the Peninsular War was also in the pay of the French. If Jules Fevre had been himself a spy, he would have suspected what sort of people would he net to attend upon him when he visited the German Head- quarters at Versailles to arrange for the surrender of Paris. As it was, be probably did not guess that the coachman who drove his carriage was a German spy, and that the house in which he was lodged was staffed by spies.

We hare not space to do more than mention the illustrations in which the author shows bow the plans of forts may he con- cealed in what appears to be a drawing of a butterfly or of a moth's head ; nor must we dwell upon the importance of ties and hate in disguise, nor quote the interesting examples of how it is often possible to escape detection by placing oneself above the eye-line of the searchers, even though one may not be actually hidden. The whole book will please boys, young or old ; and we fancy that every reader who masters its principles will feel that he is now equipped to do something quite creditable in the spy line himself.