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Commander Crawford Caffin, R.N
H.M.S. Natal, aboard which the prisoner Cetshwayo was transported from Port Natal to Capetown. Caffin had joint charge of the King with Captain Ruscombe Poole, R.A. (Isandula Collection)
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 Vernon George Waldegrave Kell - MI5

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Dave

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PostSubject: Vernon George Waldegrave Kell - MI5   Thu Oct 29, 2009 2:35 pm

Does anyone know who Kell's father was.

100 years ago this Vernon George Waldegrave Kell founded the Secret Service Bureau and later on it was called MI5.
When you saw him in public there was nothing outstanding about Kell. He did not look like a dashing James Bond. But he could smell a spy like a terrier the rat. He practically invented the spy catching.

A former British Army captain he had a sharp mind and spoke fluent English, French, German, Italian, Polish and Russian. His father was a wealthy Zulu War Veteran. Kell went through the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst in 1892 and was involved in defeated the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900.
At the age of 36 he was asked to head the first British counter-espionage department since Kell's ordinary appearances did not make him look suspicious. When he started he had a tiny office and a staff of 10 and all he had his instinct, observation and word-of-mouth. Kell started off with contacting chief constables and asked for information on anyone looking suspicious. Then he started a card-index system.
By 1914 he gathered 16,000 information which were type up, filed, indexed and cross-referenced. Before the First World War Kell managed to uncover an entire German spy ring of 22 agents in Britain meeting in a barber's shop in north London . Kell had 21 arrested. A year after that he caught another seven spies of which some were executed.

As the war progressed he needed more agents. Some worked in British ports and their stories could have fitted in any spy novel. One day Kell intercepted a telegram saying 'Father dead. Await instructions.' Kell changed the telegram 'Father Deceased. What action?' The message came back 'Father Deceased or dead? Please explain' that convinced Kell it wasn't genuine. It was a report on the death of a senior fellow spy.

His successes earned Kell an acknowledgement to be the best counter-espionage experts in the world. He was quietly promoted to Major-General.
Before the Second World War there were people who weren't impressed of his skills. Churchill was one of them. When a British battleship the Royal Oak was sunk with 834 men it was due to being undetected by Kell's agents. Churchill told Kell to go.

Kell resigned after 30 years of dedication and determination. He moved to a small cottage in Buckingham. His wife wrote later that he never coped with the humiliation. While his beloved country was fighting to survive, he was still determined to do his bit. He became a special constable but it wasn't enough for a man like that. He died of pneumonia in 1942.
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1879graves

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PostSubject: Re: Vernon George Waldegrave Kell - MI5   Thu Oct 29, 2009 6:11 pm

Hi Dave

I believe his father was:-

NAME Waldegrave Charles Fearn Kell
RANK Lieutenant
REGIMENT 88th (Connaught Rangers) Regiment of Foot

Lieutenant Kell served in Natal during the operations of the Regiment in the Zulu War. He held a staff appointment at Durban.
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: Vernon George Waldegrave Kell - MI5   Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:02 pm

Major-General Sir Vernon George Waldegrave Kell, KCMG was the founder and first Director General (DG) of the British Security Service, otherwise known as MI5. Kell was the son of Major Waldegrave Kell of the 38th Foot and his wife, Georgiana Augusta Konarska. She was daughter of a Polish émigré, Aleksander Konarski, a surgeon with the 1st Podhalian Rifle Regiment who had fought in the November Uprising and had been awarded the V.M. (Gold, 4th class) and his English wife.


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