No. 26  NAI DFA Secretary's Files A2

Memorandum by Joseph P. Walshe for Eamon de Valera (Dublin)
(Most Secret)

DUBLIN, 18 March 1941

Sir John Maffey called to see me this morning at his request. He came for the ostensible purpose of giving me further details about Sir Francis Shelmerdine's1 visit to this country tomorrow. He presumed we would talk to Shelmerdine about both the Lisbon link and the trans-Atlantic service.

He then came to the question of a wireless transmitting station in the Dublin area.

I told him I informed my people of this matter, and they would be glad to hear further details about the time and character of the reception; did the transmissions, as far as they knew, take place at regular intervals, were they frequent, and were they quite sure that the signals came from this area. He would remember that on a former occasion, the British Intelligence had told us that a transmitter was operating some 25 miles south of Dublin. At that time also the call station was Nauen. We had made every effort to discover the origin of that transmitter and had failed. We had also presumed that, having heard nothing further about it from the British side, it had ceased to operate. The circumstances might be similar in the present case. Our people were certainly hearing signals from all over the place, mainly from ships and perhaps from the two wireless transmitters in the control of his office. That was why we should have to have very close particulars about the signals received so that we might be able to segregate them from all other signals.

Sir John Maffey promised to get the further particulars.

He then asked about the parachutist who was captured a few days ago.2 I had made enquiries from Col. Archer and Chief Supt. Carroll,3 and I gave him the following information:-

The prisoner's name was Hans Marschner. He was born at Schwidnitz in 1912. His father was a chemist. He went to England in April, 1939, and worked in the dispensary attached to the German Hospital in London.

He said that his intention was to land at Naas, but that the pilot had dropped him near Taghmon. According to his story, he hid his parachute, his flying suit and a military tunic in the hollowed-out bank of a stream. When discovered by the Guards, he was walking along the road carrying a wireless set in a box in his hand. The flying suit and the parachute were discovered eventually at the place pointed out by Marschner, but the tunic was not there. It is naturally assumed that the story about the tunic was intended to give the impression that he was not an ordinary spy.

In the course of further conversation, and in reply to questions by Sir John Maffey, I told him that Marschner disavowed any intention of interfering with our neutrality or giving any information about Ireland, and that his purpose was to get to England where he would use his set for some purpose unknown. Generally, the prisoner did not show much intelligence. His English was good on the whole. His authorities seemed to have deceived him into believing that getting back to Germany (via Lisbon) was a relatively easy task. I remarked to Maffey how exceedingly difficult it was for a foreigner to escape notice in Ireland. They were too few in number not to become immediately objects of suspicion. This parachutist, once landed in England, might have passed unnoticed amongst the very large population of foreigners scattered all over Britain.

Maffey agreed, and commended the watchfulness of the Guards in all cases which in any way had come under his notice.

The capture of the parachutist seems to have given him a general feeling of relief, and I doubt that he is going to worry any more about the matter.

There is just one other point. I think he finds it difficult to believe that the parachutist ever intended to leave Ireland.

[initialled] J. P. Walshe

1 Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Francis Shelmerdine (1881-1945), Director-General of Civil Aviation, British Air Ministry.

2 Günther Schütz (aka Hans Marschner) parachuted into Co. Wexford on the night of 12 March 1941, landing near the village of Taghmon. He was arrested by Gardaí the following day.

3 Chief Superintendent Patrick Carroll (1903-75), appointed head of Garda Special Branch in 1939 and worked closely with G2 on state security matters during the Second World War, Garda Commissioner (1967-8).

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