Captain Henry Denham

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by TomJonas, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. TomJonas

    TomJonas Member

    Has anyone an idea where I could find a photo of Captain Henry Denham, British Naval Attache in Stockholm during WW 2 to use in a book?
  2. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    The Papers of Captain Henry Denham

    Title The Papers of Captain Henry Denham Reference GBR/0014/DENM Creator Denham, Henry Mangles, 1897-1993, Captain Covering Dates 1940–1974 (undated, 1940, [1947], 1972-6) Extent and Medium 1 archive box Repository Churchill Archives Centre Content and context Henry Denham was born in Harrow on 9 September 1897, the son of Henry Mangles Denham and Helen Clara Lowndes. He married Estelle Margaret Sibbald Currie in 1924, with whom he had one son and two daughters.
    He entered the Royal Naval Colleges at Osborne and Dartmouth, 1910. He served as a Midshipman in the battleship HMS Agamemnon, 1914-15, and later the destroyer HMS Racoon, and saw action during the Dardanelles campaign, 1915. He was sent by the Admiralty on a year's course at Magdalene College, Cambridge, 1919. He served in the cruiser HMS Renown, 1920, during the Prince of Wales' trip to Australia and New Zealand; the Rhine flotilla, commanding a small armed motor launch; and the battleship HMS Centurion in the Mediterranean. He spent a brief period in Austria in order to learn German. He was Divisional Officer in the boys' training ship HMS Impregnable at Devonport, 1924-6, and then Flag Lieutenant to Admiral Sir Osmond Brock at Portsmouth. From 1927 he spent five years in the Mediterranean in HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Warsprite. He was a student at the Staff College, 1935, promoted Commander, and commanded HMS Penelope, 1936-9.
    He joined Naval Intelligence at the Admiralty, 1939, where he created an Information Section. He was appointed Naval Attaché in Copenhagen, Denmark, 1940, but returned to London later that year when the Germans occupied Denmark. He was then posted as Naval Attaché in Stockholm, Sweden, 1940. He alerted the Admiralty to the movement of the Bismarck and the Prinz Eugen into the Atlantic in May 1941. He retired from the Navy in 1947.
    He was a keen sailor and after his retirement he pursued a career as a travel writer, producing a series of sea guides.
    He died in London on 15 July 1993.
    He was awarded the CMG, 1945.
    His publications include: "The Aegean" (1963); "The Eastern Mediterranean" (1964); "The Adriatic" (1967); "The Tyrrhenian Sea" (1969); "The Ionian Islands to Rhodes" (1972); "Southern Turkey, the Levant and Cyprus" (1973); "The Ionian Islands to the Anatolian Coast" (1982); "Dardanelles: a Midshipman's Diary, 1915-16" (1981); and "Inside the Nazi Ring: a Naval Attaché in Sweden 1940-1945" (1984).
    Papers comprising a memoir, correspondence and official papers about his work as Naval Attaché in Stockholm, 1940-5
    The papers were given to Churchill Archives Centre by Captain Henry Denham, 1982.
    Access and Use
    The collection is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge. Churchill Archives Centre is open from Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm. A prior appointment and two forms of identification are required.
    Researchers wishing to publish excerpts from the papers must obtain prior permission from the copyright holders and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.
    Please cite as Churchill Archives Centre, The Papers of Captain Henry Denham, DENM
    Further information Copies of the collection level description and catalogue are available at Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge, the National Register of Archives, London, and on the Janus website Janus: Janus Home Page.
    This collection level description was prepared by Sophie Bridges, November 2004. The papers have been listed. Biographical information was obtained from the website of the "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography" and "Who's Who 1897-1996".
    Index Terms Naval Personnel Second World War (1939-1945) Churchill/DENM contains: 1 Memoir of time as Naval Attaché in Stockholm, 1940-5. Written up by Henry Denham for the Admiralty shortly after the war had ended. With a graph; press cuttings; a sketch map and two aerial photographs of Kaafjord, Norway, after a British midget submarine attack on the Tirpitz, 28 September 1943; and a photograph of Legation staff.
    1 file. undated 2 Letters of complaint from Henry Denham about the release of documents relating to his time as Naval Attaché in Stockholm.
    1 file. 1974 3 Transcripts of interviews with Henry Denham about his time as Naval Attaché in Stockholm.
    1 file. 1975–1976 4 Account of the expulsion of the Swedish Naval Attaché from London, 1943.
    1 file. undated 5 Account of time as Naval Attaché in Copenhagen and of the German occupation of Denmark, 1940.
    1 file. undated 6 Copy extracts from the diary of the German Naval Attaché in Stockholm, 1940 and 1942.
    1 file. undated 7 Letter from Emil Boldt-Christmas about Stockholm during the war. Emil Boldt-Christmas was Swedish Naval Attaché in London, 1936-9.
    1 item. 27 April 1972 8 Letter of appointment as Naval Attaché in Stockholm.
    1 item. 25 July 1940 9 Account by Ulf Brandell of contact between the Swedish Secret Intelligence Service and the British Government, 1944. Concerning a possible exchange of information about Britain's plans for a landing in German occupied Norway and German development of rocket weapons.
    1 file. undated
  3. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Captain Henry Denham - Obituary
    Times, The (London, England)-July 29, 1993

    Captain Henry Denham, CMG, British naval attache in Stockholm, 1940-47, died on July 15 aged 95. He was born on September 9, 1897.

    LIKE so many providers of useful intelligence to the higher directorate of war operations, Henry Denham was often fated to have his offerings ignored. But his warning of May 20, 1941, that two large warships had been sighted moving from the Baltic through the Kattegat into the outer seas, was immediately heeded by the Admiralty. It set in train the concentration of naval forces which ended in the sinking of the German battleship Bismarck, and eliminated one of the two most dangerous surface ship threats to British convoys which existed at that time.

    The destruction of the Bismarck by British battleships and cruisers was a fillip to national morale in a period when Greece had fallen and the forlorn battle for Crete was raging. In the Commons a beleaguered Churchill was heartily glad to be able to give the House something to cheer about. The negative effect of this victory on Churchill's thinking was that it gave him an exaggerated idea of the importance of big ships in naval strategic calculations. This clouded his judgment when, later in the year, he dispatched Prince of Wales and Repulse to meet their doom at the hands of Japanese aircraft.

    Denham owed his success on this occasion to the excellent contacts he nurtured in the international diplomatic/intelligence community. He had heard news of the sighting of Bismarck and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen from the Norwegian military attache in Stockholm.

    But he was not always so lucky when it came to having the veracity of his reports accepted by the Admiralty. When, in April 1940, he signalled that he had personally seen the German heavy cruiser Blucher and other naval units moving towards Norway and that an invasion seemed highly likely, he was (as were other reports tending to the same conclusion) ignored. Thus the Germans, with only a handful of ships, were able to steal Norway from under the nose of Europe's greatest naval power with consequences which were to be dire for the remaining years of the war.

    Henry Mangles Denham joined the Navy before the first world war and in August 1914 went to sea in the battleship Agamemnon, an old, slow pre-Dreadnought design. In the following year he went in her to Gallipoli. There, as a midshipman, he commanded a steam picket boat during the Allies' final, abortive, effort against the Turkish defences, the landings at Suvla Bay in August 1915. He spent the rest of his war in destroyers.

    After the Armistice he had a variety of appointments. He sailed in the battlecruiser Renown when she took the Prince of Wales on his cruise to Australia in 1920. He commanded a motor launch in the Rhine Flotilla and qualified as an interpreter in German. Later, in 1936, he was executive officer in the small cruiser Penelope.

    This was his last appointment afloat. In 1939 he transferred to Naval Intelligence, and was then sent as naval attache to the Scandinavian countries, based in Copenhagen. It was from there that he warned the Admiralty that an invasion of Norway seemed to be imminent. When the Germans invaded Denmark he made his way back to London via Ostend. But he was soon back in Scandinavia, this time as naval attache in Stockholm.

    From his position in neutral Sweden he was able, during the remainder of the war years to send back much useful information and even succeeded in organising some modest blockade running operations, which enabled cargoes of vital Swedish ball bearings to reach British ports. But perhaps his most signal service was at the outset of his tenure, when his diplomatic efforts helped to defuse a crisis which arose over the seizure of a number of Swedish warships by Britain.

    During a war cabinet of June 19, 1940, at the suggestion of Viscount Caldecote (previously, as Sir Thomas Inskip, Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence) it had been decided to take over four destroyers which had been built for neutral Sweden by Axis Italy. The vessels were then on their way to the Faeroes, a convenient place to lay hands on them. ``A pretty high-handed proceeding," as Halifax observed, ``But as they have little chance of getting to Sweden, we had better have them." Alas, the decision, though in many ways in heartening contrast to the Chamberlain government's shilly-shallying over Norwegian neutrality which had delivered the country into German hands, happened to be over-zealous. It was, anyway, about a matter of far less moment. The Swedish government was outraged and in Stockholm it took all Denham's powers of address with the C-in-C of the Royal Swedish Navy to avert what might have been a serious crisis. In the event Britain was compelled to r!
    estore the ships to Sweden and pay a large indemnity.

    At the end of the war Denham was appointed CMG and also received awards from the Danish, Norwegian and Dutch governments. He retired from the Royal Navy in 1947.

    Sailing had always been his great love and he was now able to indulge it to the full. He also turned author and wrote a series of popular sailing guides to the Eastern Mediterranean. These included The Aegean (1963), which went through five editions, and ranged over the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian seas, as well as covering the Levant and Turkey. Mixing, as they did, mythology and history with seamanship and navigation, they were of interest to the mariner and general reader alike. Inside the Nazi Ring (1984) described his wartime experiences in Stockholm.

    In 1924 he maried Estelle Margaret Sibbald Currie. She died in 1979 and he is survived by a son and two daughters.
    Section: FeaturesPage: 19
    Record Number: 989119028(c) Times Newspapers Limited 1993, 2003

    Captain Henry Denham - Obituary
  4. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Obituary: Capt Henry Denham
    Independent, The (London, England)-July 23, 1993

    Henry Mangles Denham, naval officer, yachtsman, writer: born 9 September 1897; served Royal Navy 1910-47; naval attache, Scandinavian Countries 1940, Stockholm 1940-47; CMG 1945; married 1924 Madge Currie (deceased; one son, two daughters); died London 15 July 1993.

    HENRY DENHAM's life as a naval officer and writer was full and varied, ending in his 96th year.

    Osborne and Dartmouth embarked Denham on HMS Agamemnon as a midshipman of 16 for the Dardanelles, a period recorded in a book of his diaries and notes, Dardanelles: a midshipman's diary (1981). He describes how he ferried troops ashore and coped with such disasters as a Turkish shell bursting in the wardroom and killing 30 men, how they cleaned up the mess and then recovered from the shock with a game of water polo. He visited Turkey again later in life when he had given up sailing and was interested in submarine archaeology. He made friends with Turkish harbourmasters and one said to him that the British were the bravest enemies they had ever met.

    Denham's bravery was legendary and so was his understanding of his enemies including Admiral Erich Raeder, the Commander-in-Chief of the German navy, whom he met at the Kiel regatta in 1936. Denham also got to know the German navy when he was second-in-command of the cruiser Penelope during the Spanish Civil War. He had had some interesting postings after the First World War: a year at Magdalene College, Cambridge, occupying the Rhine with the Rhine flotilla, a round-the-world cruise with the Prince of Wales and Lt Dickie Mountbatten on HMS Renown. In the inter-war years he served on HMS Warspite and Queen Elizabeth in the Mediterranean where he was able to indulge in his favourite sport of sailing. He was then posted to shore jobs because his ears had been damaged by gunfire and after a turn with naval intelligence was appointed naval attache to the Scandinavian countries in 1940. Based in Copenhagen, he was captured with the whole of the British legation by the Ger!
    mans on their invasion of Denmark but after repatriation was sent out again as naval attache to Sweden where he arrived just as we were finally pulling out of Norway at the time of the collapse of France.

    In Sweden Denham became one of the key sources of British intelligence in the Second World War and the Swedes under German pressure tried to have him declared persona non grata no less than eight times, each of which we resisted. Denham prided himself on never using a paid agent and relying on people who were good friends such as the Norwegian military attache, Col Roscherlund, who had an invaluable friend in an independent intelligence organisation, the C Bureau under Major Petersen, who was the originator of the first report on the breakout of the Bismarck. Ebbe Munck, the Danish Arctic explorer and journalist, was an old friend and a steady source of information on Denmark while the Dutch consul-general kept up a flow of information from the Netherlands. Denham's Polish contacts were loyal friends but their contribution to intelligence was very low grade. He was offered the post of naval attache in Poland after the war but he refused as he disliked the government !
    and felt it would have been disloyal to his Polish friends if he accepted.

    While before the Battle of El Alamein there was little help in this field from the Swedes themselves there were exceptions as in the case of Col Bjornstjerna. He and his family became close friends of Denham's and he treasured a small silver salver belonging to Bjornstjerna's ancestor Count Morner, the intermediary who had persuaded Marshal Bernadot to become the Crown Prince of Sweden. It was Bernadot who joined the allies against Napoleon, an allegiance of which the Bjornstjerna family were always proud.

    The colonel had been Swedish military attache in London and was now a director of Swedish combined intelligence and as such read the decrypted intercepts of all secret German Geheimschreiber messages to Norway. Denham regularly visited Bjornstjerna, who gave him an oral account of what they knew on the naval side. Denham took no notes and used to run back to his office to get the message off to London. The Abwehr spotted what was going on. The Swedish Commander-in-Chief, General Thornell, dismissed Bjornstjerna from the service but his successor became a friend and was equally helpful.

    Apart from his talent for friendship Denham was also a helper to those whose careers were blighted by events. There was Hagman, the commander of the Swedish convoy with the four Italian warships being escorted from Italy to Sweden who were forced to surrender their ships to the British in the Faeroes in spite of his officers opting to stand and fight. When he finally arrived in Gothenburg, Hagman came ashore alone to be met only by Denham and a virulent display of revenge by the C-in-C of the Swedish navy who said that no officer in future should ever surrender his ships. In fact Hagman had saved Sweden entering the war as an ally of Germany, an act for which Winston Churchill said he should have had a medal struck. Another case was that of Count Oxenstjerna, the Swedish naval attache in London who was refused re-entry to the UK after going home on leave after wrongly being suspected of being the source of the infamous 'Josephine' messages to the Abwehr from London. !
    Denham took his side but London did not relent.

    Denham's talent for friendship and kindness to the underdog was matched by the good humour with which he revealed the spying of the Swedish secret police with their microphone in the chimney of his flat taking a party up to his attic to surprise the spies listening in. He was a keen sportsman and apart from tennis and squash spent what time he could sailing his Dragon on Lake Malar. He played an important part in the steel specialist George Binney's daring blockade-busting operation to get special steels and tools to England.

    When he retired in 1947 Denham cruised the Mediterranean in his yacht and during this period wrote his many guides to the seas and coasts of the Mediterranean. He gave up sailing when he fell off his mast in a storm and concluded that he must put an end to it; he did not believe it right to sail unless you could do so single-handed. He was a keen member of the Royal Cruising Club and the Royal Yacht Squadron. As a thank you for his wartime achievements he was awarded one of the very few CMGs given to naval officers and was also decorated by allied governments.

    (Photograph omitted)
    Section: GazettePage: 024
    Record Number: 930723in000122Copyright 1993, 2010 Newspaper Publishing plc

    Obituary: Capt Henry Denham
  5. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    The answer is the Independent will have an image
  6. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

  7. TomJonas

    TomJonas Member

    Thankyou all!
    Yes, I have got "Inside the Nazi ring".
    Cpt Denham was quite a useful man, sir Mallet was afraid of loosing him in connection with the recall of the Swedish Naval Attache Oxenstierna.
    That is why we need a photo, we have written a book about Karl Heinz Kraemer, who worked from the German legation in Stockholm, also known as JOSEPHINE and HEKTOR. He got information, in some way, from the reports Oxenstierna and the Air Attache Cervell sent home from London to Sweden. Possibly through some of all his female friends.
    I'll try with Independent, but mostly newspapers get their photos from some photo bureau.
  8. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Inside the Nazi Ring - John Murray 1984 edition has a picture of the author facing p142 which you should be able to scan/crop
  9. TomJonas

    TomJonas Member

    Yes, that's a good photo. However a bit dark, especially Sir Victor Mallet to the left. I don't mind having him on the photo as well.
    And then there's the problem with copyright.
  10. Liraman

    Liraman Junior Member

    This is indeed a late comment. I was wondering if any of you have stumbled upon a photo of Denham's Stockholm boss Peter Tennant, who wrote the obituary quoted above?
    Any tips on that subject would be greatly appreciated

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