Richard Henry Stevens
Richard Henry Stevens (9 April 1893 – 12 February 1967) was a major in the British Army and from 1939 Head of the Passport Control Office (PCO) of the British Secret Intelligence Service in the Netherlands. His name is closely associated with the Venlo Incident in 1939.
Background and earlier life
Stevens mastered Arabic, Hindustani, and Malay, and until 1939 worked as an Intelligence Officer in India. That year he was transferred to Europe and put in charge of the SIS station in The Hague. His second language was Greek and he also spoke excellent German, French and Russian but he had no specific training or experience of intelligence gathering in Europe.
Abduction at the Venlo Incident
In November 1939 he was abducted to Germany in the Venlo Incident with Captain Sigismund Payne Best and it has been suggested that he may then have revealed vital secrets about the Secret Intelligence Service under interrogation. Nazi propaganda portrayed Best and Stevens as the alleged masterminds of the Beer Hall attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler by Georg Elser.
Stevens left the army as a lieutenant colonel, having been promoted to that rank during his captivity. He then worked as a translator at NATO in Paris and London between 1951 and 1952. He died of cancer in 1967.
- Richard Henry Stevens, www.venlo-zwischenfall.de (German)
- D. Cameron Watt, ‘Best, Sigismund Payne (1885–1978)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
- Peter Koblank: Die Befreiung der Sonder- und Sippenhäftlinge in Südtirol, Online-Edition Mythos Elser 2006 (German)
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- Kessler, Leo: Betrayal at Venlo, London 1991 Kessler, Leo: Betrayal at Venlo, London 1991
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