As I passed with my gun in my hand, bag on shoulder, and dog at heel, they paid no attention to me, and from the neighbouring hills I was able to watch their proceedings.
When they went away to their meals or returned to their quarters, I went shooting over the ground they had left, and if I did not get a big bag of game, at any rate I made a good collection of drawings and measurements of the plans of the forts and emplacements which they had traced out on the ground.
So that within a few days of their starting to make them we had the plans of them all in our possession. Although they afterwards planted trees all over the sites to conceal the forts within them, and put up buildings in other places to hide them, we knew perfectly well where the emplacements were and what were their shapes and sizes.
This planting of trees to hide such defence works occasionally has the other effect, and shows one where they are. This was notably the case at Tsingtau, captured by the Japanese and British forces from the Germans. As there were not any natural woods there, I had little difficulty in finding where the forts were by reason of the plantations of recent growth in the neighbourhood of the place.
These men take up their quarters more or less permanently in the country of their operations. A few are men in high places in the social or commercial world, and are generally nouveaux riches, anxious for decorations and rewards. But most of the residential spies are of a more insignificant class, and in regular pay for their work.
Their duty is to act as agents to receive and distribute instructions secretly to other itinerant spies, and to return their reports to headquarters. For this reason they are nicknamed in the German Intelligence Bureau “post-boxes.” They also themselves pick up what information they can from all available sources and transmit it home.
One, Steinbauer, has for some years past been one of the principal “post-boxes” in England. He was attached to the Kaiser’s staff during his last visit to this country, when he came as the guest of the King to the opening of Queen Victoria’s memorial.
A case of espionage which was tried in London revealed his methods, one of his agents being arrested after having been watched for three years.
Karl Ernst’s trial confirmed the discoveries and showed up the doings of men spies like Schroeder, Gressa, Klare, and others.
Also the case of Dr. Karl Graves may be still in the memory of many. This German was arrested in Scotland for spying, and was condemned to eighteen months’ imprisonment, and was shortly afterwards released without any reason being officially assigned. He has since written a full account of what he did, and it is of interest to note how his correspondence passed to and from the intelligence headquarters in Germany in envelopes embellished with the name of Messrs. Burroughs and Wellcome, the famous chemists. He posed as a doctor, and sent his letters through an innkeeper at Brussels or a modiste in Paris, while letters to him came through an obscure tobacconist’s shop in London.