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Alfred Rickman


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#1 TomJonas

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 07:17 PM

Is there anyone who know something about Alfred Frederick Rickman, born 1902 in Wimbledon, who was sentenced to hard labour in Sweden in 1940 for a planned sabotage. He was working for Section D in MI6, the pre-SOE organisation. He planned, together with others such as the Brit Ernest Biggs, to blow up the cranes in Oxelosund Harbour where iron-ore was loaded för Germany. He was released in 1944 and went back to England, where his secretary and fiance Elsa Johansson waited, who also was involved and spent some years in prison. The were married and could have lived in London. Rickman died when he was over 80 years-of-age.
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#2 DaveB

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 06:42 AM

This is all I have found so far - I don't think it adds anything new to what you already know.

Attached Files


Edited by DaveB, 29 June 2011 - 06:54 AM.

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#3 Jedburgh22

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 07:07 AM

I will be looking at the Section D History in the HS7 Series of files at TNA Kew and will let you know if there is any further information there
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#4 PsyWar.Org

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 08:07 AM

There is a section on Rickman in the Section D history as Jedburgh22 mentions. There's also something in the German section SOE history as well.

I also have a copy of his SOE personal file. I'll try to transcribe some of this later if it is of interest to you?

Lee
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#5 PsyWar.Org

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 08:10 AM

There are also these two files in the SOE archives which I do not have a copy of:

HS 2/264, RICKMAN organisation: history of arrest 8 May 1940 1940
HS 2/268, Rehabilitation and financial settlements for RICKMAN personnel upon release from prison
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#6 PsyWar.Org

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 08:47 AM

Here's an extract from Rickman's SOE personal file:

13.8.42.

THE RICKMAN CASE


1. With a view to dealing with the export of iron ore from Sweden [to] Germany, an organization was created in 1939? In Stockholm under Rickman.


2. Rickman was the managing director of a firm named Dentalmaterial and also owned another small trading company called SKandhamn A.B. He had been in Sweden since March, 1939, and had not been in U.K. since July, 1939.


3. From time to time explosives etc. were smuggled to him and stored in the warehouse of the Windsor Tea Company, Stockholm, a firm of which a man named Ernest Biggs was director and part owner. These explosives were intended primarily for damage to German shipping in the ore trade, and for the demolition of the ore loading facilities at Oxelosund and Lulea.


4. Rickman was also engaged in sending into Germany propaganda, by means of sailors on the boats plying to north German ports, and also through travellers returning to Germany. In this connection he was in touch with a German anti-Nazi Social Democrat organization in Sweden, and with them worked out a plan for the destruction of the loading facilities at Oxelosund.


5. This would have used considerable amount of explosive. Reconnaissance of this objective were carried out, but each time the project was cancelled, and a fresh reconnaissance had to be made when the matter again became practical politics. It appears unlikely that these reconnaissances were detected, but it is not impossible, since naturally the risk of detection increased each time a reconnaissance was made.


6. Holdsworth was sent out to Stockholm on April 12th, 1940, with a view to arranging assistance for Norway from Sweden. One of his tasks was to ensure that the Oxelosund demolition was carried out in the event of a German invasion. He was also to get hold of a house half way between Swedish-Norwegian frontier and Stockholm, to which the Windsor Tea Company’s dump was to be transferred.


7. On April 6th, 1940, Rickman was instructed to move the dump from the Windsor Tea Company’s store to a safer place. This was not done. In fact Rickman was arrested, together with Biggs, whilst loading material into his car a week after Holdsworth arrived, that is 14 days after he had been told to remove it. A rule had been laid down that Rickman and Biggs should not visit the Windsor Tea Company together and, in fact, Rickman had only been to the Windsor Tea Company dump on three occasions at the most since it had been organized early in December. It is not known why the two men were together on this visit, but the second error is probably the cause of Rickman being suspected.


8. Biggs had already come under suspicion early in January, 1940, through his association with the anti-Nazi publisher of the weekly newspaper “Trots Allt”.


9. Rickman was arrested on April 20th, 1940, together with Biggs, both being actually caught in the act of loading suitcases, containing explosive, on Rickman’s car at the Windsor Tea Company’s store.


10. After Rickman’s arrest the Swedish police found explosives in his flat and in the Windsor Tea Company’s storage cellars, devices for setting of explosives, automatic pistols with ammunition, a dye used for forging stamps, etc.


11. Rickman, having been literally “caught with the goods”, seems to have made full statements covering the whole affair. His fiancée, a Swedish lady, who was also implicated, appears also to have made a full confession.


12. On June 28th, 1940, Rickman was sentenced to 8 years hard labour and Biggs to five years hard labour…
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#7 TomJonas

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 02:28 PM

Thankyou all!

I have got copies of HS 2/264 and HS 2/268 and also the Swedish trial. But not from any separate SOE file.
He got a very severe prison sentence for what he planned to do, but the prosecutor was a well-known Germanophile, as most of the prosecutors and many academics were at that time. But hardly the Swedish people after the invasion of Norway and Denmark on 9 april.

Rickman suffered much in prison. Probably he got a severe depression which led to that he was released in 1944 after half time of his sentence. So he went back to Britain in the beginning of 1944. I don't think he was in any shape for active work in SOE after that,

We have managed to trace a son of Elsa's (his fiance) brother, but he refuses to discuss the matter, which makes it even more of a curiosity. One wonder why? We are trying to find out if they had any children and try to get in cóntact with the family. Possibly it will be a book.

Not much is written about the iron-ore expoert from Narvik, Luleaa and Oxelosund. There were plans of attacking these harbours, called Operation Paul. And Churchill and the French were keen on a military intervention in the mining area, masked as a help to the Finns in their war against the russians.
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#8 Smudger Jnr

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 02:47 PM

TomJonas,

A most interesting topic and I can understand the secrecy surrounding it.

I wish you well with your research and it does have the makings of an excellent book.
Great imput by Steven and Lee.

Regards
Tom

Edited by Smudger Jnr, 29 June 2011 - 05:03 PM.

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#9 TomJonas

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 03:36 PM

Some photos.

Alfred Rickman on three photos, one photo of Ernest Biggs and one of all the explosives they kept in a cellar in central Stockholm

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#10 PsyWar.Org

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 03:48 PM

Tom, have you seen Rickman's SOE personal file? It mentions his poor mental health in prison, also that he was unimpressed with the support he received from the British Consulate during his trial.

I think I saw mention of a child as well.

Lee
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#11 Smudger Jnr

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 05:05 PM

Tom, have you seen Rickman's SOE personal file? It mentions his poor mental health in prison, also that he was unimpressed with the support he received from the British Consulate during his trial.

I think I saw mention of a child as well.

Lee


Lee,
No I haven't seen the personal file.
I can well understand the lack of support. The normal case of you are on your own if caught.

Regards
Tom
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#12 PsyWar.Org

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 05:35 PM

Lee,
No I haven't seen the personal file.
I can well understand the lack of support. The normal case of you are on your own if caught.

Regards
Tom


Sorry Tom, I meant that comment to be directed to TomJonas as he mentioned that he had seen two of the SOE files but I wasn't sure if he had seen the P/F as well.

Lee
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#13 TomJonas

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 06:23 PM

What number has his personal SOE file? Does it come from National Archives?
And is there any information from late 1944 or 1945 or after that?

Elsa was also paid as an SOE agent after her release.
And no, there was no child at this stage (1944), that was only a misunderstanding
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#14 PsyWar.Org

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 06:57 PM

The SOE file is from the National Archives, file ref: HS 9/1257/1
It's mostly concerned with his release from prison and after. Not a huge amount of detail but might have something of interest.

There are details regarding Elsa in the file as well.
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#15 TomJonas

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 07:26 PM

I've got that one as well.
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#16 Courtland

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 02:56 PM

Rickman was married but separated at the time he went to Sweden (he was also the father of two children). His wife, who was Australian, had returned to Australia, where she appears in voter registration lists during the war years. She travelled to England again in 1957 when she and Rickman finally divorced, and it was after that divorce that he married his Swedish fiance. She died in the 1970s and he married a third time. He died in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.
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#17 horsapassenger

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 03:24 PM

Tom

There's a Foreign Office file that might be worth a look

FO 188/447 Rickman, Alfred Frederick: repatriation

There is one other but that remains closed
FO 371/43505 Release of A.F. Rickman, arrested in Sweden on political charges. Code 42 file 826.

John
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#18 Thomas Munch-Petersen

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 10:17 AM

Hi Courtland,

Do you have any details about Rickman's two children by his Australian wife? Date & place of birth, sex and first names?

It is clear from the SOE files that he had at least 2 children with his first wife, Minnie, but there are no other details.

Regards,

Tom M-P
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