A Rare Russian Intervention Blennerhassett Family Grouping
A Rare Russian Intervention Blennerhassett Family Grouping - Captain William Lewis Rowland Paul Sebastian Blennerhassett, Intelligence Corps: Distinguished Service Order, George V (silver gilt and enamels, pinback hanger); Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, O.B.E. (Civil) Officer's, 1st Type Breast Badge (silver gilt, maker marked "SG" (Sebastian Garrard), marked with the British lion, a leopard's head (made in London) and date marked "d" (1919), pinback hanger); British War Medal (CAPT. W.L.BLENNERHASSETT.); France: Croix de Guerre (1914-1916 reverse, bronze palm on the ribbon); and Neo-Jacobite Order of the White Rose, Instituted 1710 and Revived 1929 (silver gilt and enamels, 38.3 mm x 55 mm, safety pin attachment), Un-mounted, original ribbons, the DSO and OBE in their hardshelled cases of issue (maker marked "GARRARD & Co. Ltd." on the inside lids, recessed medal beds), dark patina on the BWM, contact marks, edge nicks, very fine. Accompanied by a Miniature Group that includes two other First World War medals: Distinguished Service Order, George V (silver gilt and enamels, 19.7 mm); Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, O.B.E. (Civil) Officer's, 1st Type Breast Badge (silver gilt, 21.7 mm x 27.8 mm); 1914 Star (bronze, 20 mm x 24 mm); British War Medal (silver, 17.5 mm); Victory Medal (bronze, 17.5 mm); and France: Croix de Guerre (bronze, 17 mm). Captain Francis A.Blennerhassett, Royal Artillery and Royal Warwickshire Regiment: 1939-1945 Star; Burma Star; Defence Medal; War Medal 1939-1945; and Coronation Medal 1953. Un-named, mounted to a suspension with swing bar pinback, as worn by the veteran, original ribbons, light contact, better than very fine. Accompanied by a Miniature Group of Same: 1939-1945 Star (bronze, 19 mm x 22 mm); Burma Star (bronze, 19 mm x 22 mm); Defence Medal (silver, 18.7 mm); War Medal 1939-1945 (silver, 18.6 mm); and Coronation Medal 1953 (silver, 18 mm), mounted to a suspension with swing bar pinback, original ribbons. Accompanied by Index Cards and assorted research papers for both men. Footnote No. 1: William Lewis Rowland Paul Sebastian Blennerhassett was born October 6, 1882, the third son of Sir Rowland Blennerhassett, fourth baronet. At the age of 27, he married Olivia Francis Blennerhassett (nee Grove, died 1953) on July 14, 1910 at Brompton Roman Catholic Oratory in London and the couple would later have one son together. Prior to the First World War, W.L. Blennerhassett was a member of the Wellington & Savile Clubs in London, employed as a stockbroker and became a member of the London Stock Exchange. He gave up his business in 1914, in order to join the war effort and is on record as having reported for duty with his father's sword and two spare shirts. He proved to be a hopeless motorcyclist, writing off one of his unit's Sunbeams after a journey that lasted just fifty yards. Such was the ad hoc manner in which the War Office assembled the "Intelligence Corps" at the outset of hostilities, that its recruits came in all shapes and sizes. He was granted the temporary rank of Second Lieutenant, effective August 6, 1914, as announced in the Supplement to the London Gazette 28911 of Tuesday, September 22, 1914, on Wednesday, September 23, 1914, page 7567, along with being appointed a Local Temporary Honourary Lieutenant on the Special List in October 1914. He was Mentioned in Despatches, as announced in the Second Supplement to the London Gazette 29072 of Tuesday, February 16, 1915, on Wednesday, February 17, 1915, page 1651. William L. Blennerhassett served in the Intelligence Corps in France and Belgium, and elsewhere thereafter, as a "secret agent" in the rank of 2nd Lieutenant (Temporary) with MI1(C), Military Intelligence Corps (SIS - Security Intelligence Service), from 1915 to 1918. The MI1(C) or MI1C was the British War Office section dealing with secret agents and liaison with bureau founded by Sir Mansfield Cumming, the original "C": "..at one period the War Office announced that it had subsumed Cumming's part of the bureau into MI1(C) and this was what the Secret Service would henceforth be known as..." He continued his work with SIS until at least June 1921. An account exists of Blennerhassett's covert activities while he was in Switzerland during the war: "The reports of a British military agent in Berne, Captain W.L. Blennerhassett, to MI1C, and forwarded to PID (Political Intelligence Department), were very revealing about the activities of German agents in Switzerland and confirmed PID's suspicions of the reliability of some of the information it received from that country. Blennerhassett identified the "most formidable" German agent active in Berne as a man called 'Bismarck', who used "typically German" methods to achieve his ends -- "a mixture of cunning and childish simplicity". All the concierges in the major hotels in the city were in German pay, and they intercepted the mail of the most important "opposition" Germans and Entente agents and passed them to 'Bismarck". Blennerhassettreported that another "formidable" German agent in Berne was a man named 'Loewengard' who poses as a naturalized Englishman who has switched to us and disclosed a number of points the Germans want information about, including the damage inflicted on London by German aircraft, whether there was a shortage of horses in England and the state of British manpower. 'Loewengrad' controlled a group consisting of "a whole clan of shady agents" who insisted, "with parrot-like precision", that the war would last for years and would ruin all the belligerents and that therefore "the British were ill-advised to reject the Kaiser's peace offer". Blennerhassett complained that "the Germans have tried every kind of trick here already....one agent of theirs who poses as a naturalized British subject however.....forgot himself for a moment and asked whether I thought 'We' would get Amiens....". However, Blennerhassett had uncovered a genuine German opposition group in Switzerland but they refused to contact the British except under secure conditions which would safeguard them from being compromised, and presumably from the attentions of the ever vigilant Swiss police. One of their number was General Count Max von Montgelas, whom had served in 1914 on the German General Staff and had been a trusted adviser to the then Chief of the German General Staff, General von Moltke. From information Blennerhassett had secured about the Montgeklas group's knowledge of current German military thinking, "there is no serious intention to abandon their (the German military's) policy of reaction unless military failure or the indecisive prolongation of the war threatens a fresh deterioration in the morale of German and Austrian public opinion", an accurate reflection of German policy down to 15 July 1918, when the German assault on Reims was repulsed by the Allies and the German Army was forced to retreat behind the Marne." Little remains known of his other wartime movements. He was graded as a Staff Captain in June 1916. There was a notification in the London Gazette of February 7, 1919, regarding Blennerhassett becoming a Railway Traffic Officer, however, the appointment was cancelled, as announced in the Supplement to the London Gazette of Friday, July 11, 1919, page 8925. He relinquished his appointment to Temporary Captain on the General List, effective October 10, 1919, as announced in the Third Supplement to the London Gazette 31649 of Tuesday, November 18, 1919, on Wednesday, July 19, 1919, page 14015, then named Temporary Captain on the General List as of December 2, 1919, as announced in the Supplement to the London Gazette 31790 of Monday, February 23, 1920, page 2160. For his First World War service, he was awarded the 1914 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, with the BWM being included with this group and the whereabouts of the Star and VM remaining unknown. William L. Blennerhassett was awarded the Distinguished Service Order, his citation appearing in the London Gazette on January 21, 1920: "For conspicuous gallantry near Siding on 11 June 1919, when doing intelligence duties. On the advance of the Russian troops being held up, he collected three men and led an advance under heavy fire, thereby assisting greatly in re-establishing the situation. As Intelligence Officer in charge of the forward area, he has rendered invaluable services in controlling an area of some 3,000 square miles." He was cited for valuable and distinguished services by General H.S. Lord Rawlinson, GCB, GCVO, KCMG, ADC, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Allied Forces, North Russia, in his despatch of 11th November 1919 (published in the Supplement to the London Gazette 31764 on February 3, 1920), while Blennerhassett was stationed at Murmansk, as mentioned in the Fifth Supplement to the London Gazette 31938 of Tuesday, June 8, 1920, on Friday, June 11, 1920, page 6456. As Temporary Captain, he relinquished his commission on completion of service on May 20, 1920, retaining the rank of Captain, as mentioned in the Supplement to the London Gazette 31964 of Friday, July 2, 1920, on Monday, July 5, 1920, page 7211. The year 1920 would continued to be an eventful year in the Captain's life, as he was awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, OBE Civil Division, as mentioned in the London Gazette 32109 of Tuesday, November 2, 1920, page 10612, for Services in the Political Intelligence Department of the Foreign Office. In "The Tablet, The International Catholic News Weekly" of July 30, 1921, page 22, the following appeared: "Captain W.L. Blennerhassett has made his name as a first-hand authority on Russia. There it was that he won his D.S.O. for conspicuous gallantry in doing intelligence duties in, the Murmansk command. Some months ago his candid contribution to a magazine on his Russian experiences awakened a quite unusual interest, and now he writes to the Times a letter which is all unhappier reading because coming from a writer - conspicuous for his proficiency. While others speak of the famine in Russia as coming, Captain Blennerhassett speaks of it as come. "Peasants" he says, have been dying of starvation since early in May. The drought may intensify the distress, but it is not the cause of it: "Russia could not have been saved from the ordeal of hunger, even if Nature has been ever so benevolent. The peasants have no seeds, the fields are not tilled, and for this reason the country starves. What we behold is simply the Communist system working itself out." His abilities as a linguist was well known to the Foreign Office, which employed him on financial business in Northern Russia and Finland in 1919, and was likely grounds for the award of his Civil OBE and probably for secretive work carried out after his duties as an Intelligence Officer. After 1920, he was a British delegate to the League of Nations, continuing to work for the foreign office as Acting British Vice-Consul at Kovno, Kaunas, Lithuania until June 1921. Lithuania was certainly SIS work, as Vice-Consul was the position most used as cover for SIS staff overseas. However, his return to civilian life would have its ups and downs. In 1923, he returned to the London Stock Exchange where he was "a prosperous & highly respected member" for thirty years, with offices at Warnford Court, Throgmorton Street, London. William Lewis Blennerhassett(named in error "Charles Blennerhassett") was mentioned in "The Zinoviev Letter", a controversial document published by the British press in 1924, allegedly sent from the Communist International in Moscow to the Communist Party of Great Britain. The letter, which later investigation suggested was a forgery, was purported to be a directive from Moscow calling for intensified communist agitation in Britain and helped ensure the fall of the Labour government of Ramsay MacDonald in the October 1924 election. The letter took its name from Bolshevik revolutionary Grigory Zinoviev, its purported author. Having attained the age of limit of liability to recall, Blennerhassett ceased to belong to the Reserve of Officers, as of October 6, 1932, as mentioned in the London Gazette 33871 of Friday, October 7, 1932, page 6336. In 1933, he sued Novelty Sales Services Ltd, the distributors of the Yo-Yo, along with the London Evening Standard newspaper for libel, over an advertisement in the Evening Standard of May 26, 1932, page 10, despite the Evening Standard having published an apology on May 27th. The advertisement featured an imaginary "H.Blennerhassett of Throgmorton Street, London", initially a prosperous City man, after learning to use the Yo-Yo, abandoning other interests to obsessive use of his new toy. Some of the particulars resembled himself. However, he had the misfortune to meet Sir Patrick Hastings in mocking mood as counsel for the defendants and after having heard the evidence, the Judge held that there was no case to go to the jury. Blennerhassett did enjoy other accomplishments in his civilian life, as he was a writer and somewhat of a journalist. He worked his experience of revolutionary Russia into two novels, "The Red Shadow" and "The Dreamer", which were distinguished, less for their style or narrative, than for their precise descriptions of scenes and events which the author had witnessed. As "W.L. Blennerhassett", he wrote for "The National Review" in June 1918, "Blackwood's Review" in December 1918, January 1919 & February 1919. He also wrote "The Gospel According to Karl Marx" which was published in "The Cornhill" Magazine in December 1919, along with "A Tragedy of Error being a contribution towards 'The truth about 1918' " published in "The Cornhill" Magazine in December 1920. Two other articles appeared "The Cornhill" Magazine in 1921, "The Passing of the Empire" and "The Provocator". He was also a contributor to "Encyclopaedia Britannica" regarding the history of Finland and Lapland, both under the initials "W.L.B." William Lewis Rowland Paul Sebastian Blennerhassett died in Innsbruck, Austria on May 24, 1958, at the age of 75. Footnote No. 2: Francis Alfred Blennerhassett was born on July 7, 1916, the second son of John Blennerhassett and Elizabeth Blennerhassett, He was educated at Solihull School, Solihull, West Midlands, England. During the Second World War, he served as a Captain in the Royal Artillery and the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, in Britain and East Africa, prior to commencing a legal career. For his Second World War service, he was awarded the 1939-1945 Star, the Burma Star, the Defence Medal and the War Medal 1939-1945. He was called to the Bar, Middle Temple in 1946 and married Betty Muriel Blennerhassett (nee Bray) in 1948, the couple having two daughters together. He was an active golfer and a member of the Copt Heath Golf Club in Solihull, and later awarded the Coronation Medal 1953. In regards to his legal career, he was named a Bencher in 1971, appointed a Queen's Counsel in 1965 and a Circuit Judge in 1978. He held numerous positions throughout his career, including: Oxford Circuit Department Chairman, Staffordshire QS from 1963-1971, Recorder of New Windsor from 1965-1971, a Recorder of the Crown from 1972-1978, Honourable Recorder of Windsor and Maidenhead from 1976-1989, Legal Assessor to GMC and Dental Council from 1971-1978, Chairman of the Government Committee on Drinking and Driving from 1975-1976, Parole Board Member from 1981-1983 and was on the Home Office Committee on Magistrates' Courts Procedure from 1989-1992. He was mentioned in the London Gazette 43105 of Friday, September 13, 1963, page 7575, under the heading State Intelligence, Crown Office, "House of Lords, London S.W.I. 12th September 1963. The QUEEN has been pleased by Warrant under Her Royal Sign Manual dated the 10th September 1963, to appoint Francis Alfred Blennerhassett, Esquire, to be a Deputy Chairman of the Court of Quarter Sessions for the County of Stafford in accordance with the Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1938." and in the London Gazette 43636 of Tuesday, April 27, 1965, page 4127, under the heading State Intelligence, Crown Office, "27th April 1965. THE QUEEN has been pleased by Letters Patent under the Great Seal bearing date the 27th day of April 1965, to appoint: Francis AlfredBlennerhassett of the Middle Temple to be of Her Majesty's Counsel learned in the Law.", one of forty to be announced as such in that edition. Francis Alfred Blennerhassett died on June 13, 1993, at the age of 76.