2018-07-30 17:09:49 UTC
during and after World War II. MI5 also operated an interrogation centre,
code-named Camp 020, at Latchmere House, a Victorian mansion near Ham
Common in South-West London, whose 30 rooms were turned into cells with
"The first of the German spies who arrived in Britain in September 1940
were taken there. Vital information about a coming German invasion was
extracted at great speed. This indicates the use of extreme methods, but
these were desperate days demanding desperate measures. In charge was
Colonel Robin Stephens, known as ‘Tin Eye’, because of the monocle
fixed to his right eye.
"It was not a term of affection. The object of interrogation, Stephens
told his officers, was simple: ‘Truth in the shortest possible time.’
A top secret memo spoke of ‘special methods’, but did not elaborate.
"He arranged for an additional 92-cell block to be added to Latchmere
House, plus a punishment room — known chillingly as Cell 13 — which
was completely bare, with smooth walls and a linoleum floor.
"Close to 500 people passed through the gates of Camp 020. Principal
among them were German spies, many of whom were ‘turned’ and persuaded
— or maybe forced — to work for MI5.
"Its first inmates were members of the British Union of Fascists. Some
were held in cells brightly lit 24 hours a day, others in cells kept
in total darkness.
"Several prisoners were subjected to mock executions and were knocked
about by the guards. Some were apparently left naked for months at a
Many of them stayed. Ham in SW London is - to this day - a wealthy,