Stig Wennerström (colonel)

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Stig Wennerström
Stig Wennerström, c. 1960
Birth name Stig Erik Constans Wennerström
Nickname(s) "The Eagle"[1]
Born (1906-08-22)22 August 1906
Stockholm, Sweden
Died March 21, 2006(2006-03-21) (aged 99)
Danderyd, Sweden
Allegiance Sweden, Soviet Union (Spy)
Service/branch Swedish Air Force
Years of service 1929–1963
1948–1963 (Spy)
Rank Colonel
Other work ADC to Duke of Västerbotten (1938–47)[2]

Stig Erik Constans Wennerström (22 August 1906 – 21 March 2006)[1] was a Swedish Air Force colonel who was convicted of treason in 1964.


Wennerström was born in Stockholm, Sweden, the son of major Gustaf Wennerström and his wife Ester Berggren.[2] He became fänrik in the Swedish Navy in 1929 and conducted flight training from 1931 to 1932. Wennerström was promoted to löjtnant in the Swedish Air Force in 1936 and completed the Royal Swedish Naval Staff College's staff school from 1936 to 1937.[2] He was promoted to captain in 1939 and served as air attaché in Moscow from 1940 to 1941. Wennerström was promoted to major in 1944 and to lieutenant colonel in 1946. He was a teacher at the Royal Swedish Air Force Staff College from 1946 to 1948 and was again air attaché in Moscow from 1949 to 1952. Wennerström was promoted to colonel in 1951 and served as air attaché in Washington, D.C. from 1952 to 1957. He became section chief at the Military Office of the Minister of Defence (Försvarets kommandoexpedition) in 1957.[2]

During the 1950s, he leaked the Swedish air defence plans and the entire Saab Draken fighter jet project to the Soviet Union. When working as an air attaché in Washington, D.C., he was very useful to the Russian military intelligence agency, the GRU. As early as 1943, Swedish Security Service (Säpo), suspected that Wennerström was working for Germany and in 1947 there were indications that he had connections with the Soviet Union, but the suspicions couldn't be proved.[3] The counterintelligence operation centred on him was intensified towards the end of the 1950s and his household maid was recruited by Säpo. In June 1963 the maid reported that she had found some film rolls hidden in the attic. The films contained pictures of secret documents and Wennerström was arrested a few weeks later.

Wennerström was initially sentenced to life in prison, but in 1972 the Swedish government changed the sentence to 20 years, despite the Supreme Commander, General Stig Synnergren, still considering him to be a high security risk.[4] He was paroled in 1974 after serving a total of 10 years; the norm in Sweden at the time was to release prisoners after they had served half their sentences.

Personal life[edit]

In 1939 he married Ulla-Greta Carlsson (born 1919), the daughter of consul Eric Carlsson and Helga Andersson.[2] Wennerström died on 21 March 2006 at the retirement home Tallgården in Enebyberg, north of Stockholm. The funeral took place on 28 March 2006 at Altorp's Cemetery Chapel in Djursholm[5] and he was buried on 3 May 2006 at Djursholm's Cemetery.[6]

Awards and decorations[edit]

Wennerström's awards:[2]


  • Wennerström, Stig (1972). Från början till slutet: en spions memoarer (in Swedish). Stockholm: Bonnier. ISBN 91-0-037890-9. LIBRIS 7143825. 
  • Wennerström, Stig (1946). Morgondagens flyg: sett mot bakgrunden av teknikens utveckling och andra världskriget (in Swedish). Stockholm: Bonnier. LIBRIS 1422397. 
  • Wennerström, Stig (1946). Flygstrategien i belysning av det andra världskriget: Tävlingsskrift år 1945... Kungl. Krigsvetenskapsakademiens handlingar och tidskrift. Bihäfte ; 1946:3 (in Swedish). Stockholm: Akad. LIBRIS 1417971. 
  • Wennerström, Stig (1946). Röda vingar: det ryska flyget från tsartid till nutid. Allhems flygböcker, 99-1852751-X ; 3 (in Swedish). Malmö: Allhem. LIBRIS 1387091. 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Swedish Spy Stig Wennerstrom, 99". The Washington Post. AP. 31 March 2006. Retrieved 13 February 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Harnesk, Paul, ed. (1962). Vem är vem? 1, Stor-Stockholm [Who is who? 1, Greater Stockholm] (in Swedish) (2nd ed.). Stockholm: Vem är vem. p. 1369. 
  3. ^ see a full account of the Wennerström affair in An Agent in Place by Thomas Whiteside (1966, republished in 1983 in Ballantine Intelligence Library, ISBN 0-345-30326-1)
  4. ^ Aktuellt 1973. K G Bertmarks förlag. 1973. ISSN 0343-6993. 
  5. ^ Aschberg, Richard (29 March 2006). "Här begravs storspionen". Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 13 January 2017. 
  6. ^ "Stig Erik Konstans Wennerström" (in Swedish). Retrieved 13 January 2017. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Bergmark, Birgitta (1993). Stig Wennerström: spionen som teg [Stig Wennerström: the spy who was silent] (in Swedish). Stockholm: Bonnier Alba. ISBN 91-34-51357-4. LIBRIS 7247413. 
  • Bernhardsson, Carl Olof; Falkengård, Christina; Thunvik, Sten (1967). Överste W förrädare: Wennerströms spionage : en samlad redogörelse byggd på källforskning och bilddokument [Colonel W traitor: Wennerström's espionage: a comprehensive report based on the source research and image documents] (in Swedish). Stockholm: Medén. LIBRIS 1243537. 
  • Rönblom, Hans-Krister (1964). Wennerström, spionen [Wennerström, The Spy] (in Swedish). Stockholm: Bonnier. LIBRIS 732063. 
  • Sundelin, Anders (1999). Fallet Wennerström [The Wennerström Case] (in Swedish). Stockholm: Norstedt. ISBN 91-1-300740-8. LIBRIS 7151201. 
  • Whiteside, Thomas (1966). An agent in place: the Wennerström affair. New York: Viking Press. LIBRIS 8178136. 

External links[edit]