Encyclopedia of Trotskyism On-Line: Revolutionary History, Vol. 8 No. 2

Report on Revolutionary Organisations:
Red Officer Course


THIS secret document, of which the introduction and appendix are here reproduced, was one of a series of weekly publications produced by the head of the Directorate of Intelligence, Sir Basil Thomson, and circulated to the Cabinet, a handful of senior military officers and influential politicians. [1] In addition to reports from the Special Branch of the Metropolitan CID, the contents were supplemented with data forwarded by other agencies, including the military, employers’ organisations and other non-statutory intelligence sources. [2] The general style, speculative observations and anti-socialism that colours the introduction to this report is fairly typical of the remainder, and in this case may well have been tacked on to the original draft by Thomson himself.

In general, little of what it contained was secret. For example, intelligence relating to the miners’ decision during the afternoon of 3 November to postpone their industrial action could simply have been gathered from the afternoon’s press. References to a Finn, Errki Veltheim, and to Sylvia Pankhurst and Colonel Cecil L’Estrange Malone MP had also attracted publicity, but their activities were of a different order. [3]

At about 9.00 a.m. on Monday, 25 October, Special Branch had arrested Veltheim, shortly after he and Sylvia Pankhurst’s secretary Miss Gilbertson (who was also the 22-year-old Finn’s lover) left Malone’s flat at 4 Wellington Houses, Chalk Farm, North London. [4] In Veltheim’s pockets and an attaché case he was carrying, the arresting officers discovered an envelope containing two letters to Lenin from Pankhurst, and a coded message to the ‘Small Bureau’ of the Third International. They also found a budget amounting to £2185, for ‘instructional apparatus’, comprising ‘ten each of machine guns, revolvers, bombs and rifles’, and a balance sheet relating to meetings held outside London during August. [5] In three separate, sealed envelopes, addressed to a Swedish publisher, were found ‘a manual of field engineering, a field service book and a publication on .303 machine guns and small arms’, and six copies of the typed draft of the Red Officers Course. [6] Finally, the Special Branch detectives discovered two articles by Malone, The Humbug of Parliament and Work in the Navy, and a letter to Zinoviev from Jacob Nosivitsky, enclosing a typed summary of Louis Fraina’s trial. [7]

Gilbertson was released from custody without charge, but Veltheim was detained for having failed to register under the Aliens Act of 1920. At the Finn’s trial on 2 November, Malone was subpoenaed by the Prosecution to give evidence, and he testified that he had been in Nelson, Lancashire at the time of the defendant’s arrest and was therefore unable to say whether the latter had been staying in the MP’s flat. As for the Red Officer Course, Malone maintained that he had no knowledge of the copies. [8] Malone’s tactful ignorance contrasted with Veltheim’s defence statement, which consisted of a passionate exposition of the aims and objectives of the Communist International, to which the magistrates responded by sentencing him to six months’ imprisonment with hard labour, specifying also that he was to be forbidden from having contact with Gilbertson or Malone. [9]

Malone was never charged directly with having had a hand in producing the Red Officer Course; instead he was arrested for a speech, ‘calculated to cause or likely to cause sedition and disaffection among the civilian population’, which he had delivered at a ‘Hands Off Russia’ rally, held in the Albert Hall on 7 November. [10] Malone’s revolutionary rhetoric breached Section 42 of the Defence of the Realm Act, and he compounded what was later termed ‘incitement to murder’ by jeering at the Director of Intelligence: [11]

What, my friends, are a few Churchills or a few Curzons on lamp-posts compared to the massacre of thousands of human beings? … The movement in this country is advancing rapidly. A few mystery men caught by Sir Basil Thomson does not impede the movement in this country. [12]

He appeared at Bow Street Police Court on 12 November, but it was when the proceedings resumed on 20 November that attention was drawn to the Red Officer Course. Its preface was quoted in full by the prosecutor, Travers Humphreys, and police testimony, derived from mail interception, also drew attention to a couple of cloakroom tickets. The tickets, which had been posted to Malone, led to the recovery of two packets, each containing a dozen copies of the Red Officer Course, the typeface of which said to correspond with that of a typewriter in the MP’s flat. [13] Malone, who declined to testify in his own defence, was found guilty and punished with six months’ imprisonment, which commenced after his appeal failed on 17 January 1921. [14]

There remain a number of unanswered questions about the individuals involved in this affair, partly because no authoritative contemporary account of this episode has been aired. Miss Gilbertson escaped being jailed and later joined Veltheim in Moscow, but neither published any personal recollections of events, and nothing written about the Red Officer Course by either Malone nor Sir Basil Thomson has survived the passage of time. [15] However, recent scholarship confirms Kendall’s assertion that Veltheim (‘Frederique’) was a Comintern courier, and there is strong circumstantial evidence that he and fellow Comintern conspirator, Salme Pekkala (‘Maud’, Salme Murrik, later Salme Dutt) drafted the Red Officer Course. [16] Circumstantially, Malone appears to have provided accommodation and possibly also the technology to help create the document, but it is debatable whether such evidence would have proved robust enough to secure the MP’s conviction in court.

As the Red Officer Course makes plain, its objective was to establish a training corps, rather than to foment mutinies in the British Army. For Kendall, the documents present unequivocal proof of an alien Communist conspiracy, and Morgan and Saarela draw attention to its authors’ Blanquism, but none fully acknowledge the extent to which the project was doomed to failure. This was not only because of reservations expressed by Finnish Communists, but also because the very organisations to which Veltheim and Pekkala intended to look for support and potential (sic) officer material were riddled with government spies and agent provocateurs. Since at least the beginning of 1919, the leadership at national and sometimes local level of radical ex-servicemen’s organisations, including the Sailors’, Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Union and the National Union of Ex-Servicemen had been infiltrated by government spies, and police informers were active within the London Shop Stewards Committee. [17]

Moreover, Sylvia Pankhurst herself appears to have been thoroughly taken in by Jacob Nosivitsky, and was instrumental in Veltheim’s ensnarement. She had known Nosivitsky as a Comintern courier for over a year, he had assisted her with donations of cash, ostensibly from the Third International, and had also adroitly manipulated the political hostility which existed between Rothstein and Pankhurst. [18] A few days before Veltheim’s apprehension, she and Gilbertson were persuaded by Nosivitsky that it was vitally urgent for a copy of the Fraina trial to be relayed to Zinoviev in Moscow. [19] Pankhurst passed the document to Gilbertson, and the latter was trailed by Special Branch officers under the command of Assistant Metropolitan Police Commissioner J.F.C. Carter, Nosivitsky’s controller, until she made contact with Veltheim. [20]

The Finn never disclosed to police interrogators anything about his courier work, yet he made a voluble statement of his political allegiance in court, adding that his name was ‘Anderson’. By what may have been more than a curious coincidence, on 6 November, Nosivitsky masqueraded as ‘Joseph Anderson’ when he embarked at Southampton on a ship bound for New York. [21]

Although the authorities swiftly pounced on those immediately connected with the contents of the attaché case, there is little sign that Basil Thomson or his associates regarded the establishment of a British Red Army as a viable proposition. To some extent, this was borne out by Thomson’s dismissive reaction on 30 September to a Moscow wireless report about a 60,000 strong Scottish ‘Red Guard’ being organised. [22] On the other hand, with the other material being carried by Veltheim, The Red Officer Course provided useful material with which to smear not only Malone, but also Pankhurst. Pankhurst had been on bail since 20 October, after being charged with publishing, four ‘articles calculated to cause disaffection and sedition among the civilian population and His Majesty’s Navy’ in The Dreadnought. [23] Pre-trial publicity, which included publication of the text of her letter to Lenin in press reports of the Veltheim trial, supplemented what had been published in The Dreadnought, and the proceedings ended with her being sentenced to six month’s imprisonment. [24]

Julian Putkowski

Report on Revolutionary Organisations
in the United Kingdom (Extracts)

THE Bolshevik courier Veltheim, a Finn, was sentenced to six months’ hard labour and deportation. Special attention is called to the appendix to this report in which are extracts from the British Red Officers Course A, which was found upon him.

There are indications that the arrest of this man and of Miss Pankhurst and the exposure of the extremist efforts to extend the miners’ strike are producing a reaction against the revolutionaries. There is a very general demand for the suppression of revolutionary speeches and literature, and it is certain that if legislation were introduced, providing a penalty for receiving money from abroad for revolutionary purposes and for summary procedure for sedition, the evil would be greatly abated.

The British Red Army

On 2 November Erkki Veltheim alias Anderson alias Carlson alias Rubinstein was sentenced to six months’ hard labour and deportation. This man was known to have been the chief Bolshevik courier in Great Britain for the past six months, but as he entered the country as a stowaway and failed to register and every effort was made to keep his identity concealed, he eluded the police for a considerable time. He had, however, contracted a love affair with Miss Gilbertson and this was his undoing. He was arrested when leaving the flat of Mr Malone MP who, nevertheless, denied on oath at Bow Street any knowledge of him. Among the mass of documents seized at the time of the arrest was a ‘Red Officers’ Course’, of which Malone is believed to have been the author. Extracts from this document are given as an appendix to this report. There can be no doubt that Malone committed perjury, for Veltheim, when applying to see his friends at the conclusion of the case, mentioned Malone as one of them.

Malone made a speech in the North of England a few days ago, inviting recruits for the Red Army. The speech has been submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions. He is believed to be conducting a Red Officers’ Training Course at 21a Maiden Lane. Steps are being taken to verify this. In any case, it is not improbable that criminal proceedings will have to be taken against him before long.

Appendix: Red Officer Course


This little book is intended to be a guide for teachers of ROC Classes (ROC = Red Officer Course)

The course can be completed in nine instructions of from two to three hours duration each. If this is spread over a period of eight or nine weeks (including two lectures for revision and examination) and thereby allowing time for private study at home, intelligent cadets should have a fair general knowledge at the end of the course. In the Imperial Army this course on an even less comprehensive scale, would occupy from eight to nine months. In view of the uncertainty of the time of the revolutionary crisis, it is thought better to have a comprehensive course capable of repetition rather than a long course liable to interruption …

Training in signalling, Morse, Semaphore, etc., should be given all through the course, allowing about 15 minutes in each lecture for this.

We put this book into your hand, comrades. Use it to the best advantage in our fight against the capitalist class. It is a weapon wrested from the hands of the bourgeois militarists.

We are soldiers of the International Red Army, that Army of Proletarians and Workers led by the Communists, who fight or soon will fight in every country over the five continents of the Earth. We shall not lay down our arms before the world is ours, before the dark night of oppression and the blood red, stormy dawn of Revolution have changed it into the glorious day of Freedom and Communism,

A grim struggle lies before us on our section of the International front.

Down with our enemies, the Churchills, the capitalists, the Imperialists and all their lackeys.

Long live the Red Army!


Lecture 1 Outlines of Course

  • Definitions, Standing Order
  • Oath
  • Squad Drill without Arms
  • Physical Training and the Need for Fitness

Lecture 2 The Rifle

  • Musketry
  • Squad Drill with Arms

Lecture 3 Machine Gun Drill

  • Use of Bombs
  • Use of Revolvers

Lecture 4 Company Drill

  • Extended Order Drill
  • Battalion Drill

Lecture 5 Staff Requirements, Mobilisation and Organisation

Lecture 6 Ammunition and Ammunition Supply

  • Field Engineering
  • Signalling and Communications

Lecture 7 Field Operations

  • Infantry in Battle
  • Fighting in close country

Books Required

  • Infantry Training 1914
  • Musketry Regulations Part 1, 1909
  • Addendum no. 3 Instructional Course for Webley or other pistol .303
  • Machine Guns and Small Arms, 1917
  • Field Service Regulations Part 1, Operations 1909
  • Field Service Regulations Part 11, Organisation
  • Field Service Pocket Book 1914
  • Manual of Field Engineering 1911
  • ‘Mufflers’ Course of Physical Training

Political Books

The Civil War in France, Karl Marx

History of the [Russian] Revolution to Brest-Litovsk, L. Trotsky

Lecture I: Principles and Object of Course

This course is intended for comrades of a determined revolutionary spirit, comrades who do not ask why armed insurrection must be used in our fight against capitalism, but how it is to be applied.

We all know that the last and mightiest weapon of the exploiting and oppressing class is Armed Force. We have to conquer that, otherwise exploitation, misery and imperialistic war will be perpetuated. To pretend anything else is to be a fool or a traitor, who deceives the working class and prolongs its sufferings. We have gone far beyond the silly cries about ‘bloodshed’ of short-sighted hesitators …

Every year of continued slavery in this merry, capitalist England costs so much in suffering and blood, in destruction of human lives of present and unborn generations as to justify the bloodiest of revolutions. We know that as long as the bourgeois militarism prevails, no fundamental change for the better will be possible – and even if it were possible, say, through Parliament, etc, to introduce Communism and internationalism, it would be impossible to maintain it when the capitalists command the whole, or even a part, of the armed force. It is obvious that they would use the first opportunity to seize power again, destroy all the results of a ‘peaceful’ revolution and, raging after their first defeat, instigate a hellish White Terror like that which has occurred in parts of Russia, in Hungary and Finland and after the Commune of 1871 in Paris. Now we must be able to put an iron-strong Proletarian ‘Militarism’ against the bourgeois militarism. Complete disarmament of the capitalist and bourgeois class, and arming ourselves – that is the only guarantee for the success of the Revolution and of Communism. Only when the hard, transition period is over, and the class state has been transformed into the class less working community will all militarism and all arms disappear.

But before that we shall have a long and terrific struggle. We must now prepare for that struggle. To show how this is to be done and to help every Communist to the necessary knowledge – that is what this course is out for.

Object of the Course

The object of the ROC is to train a number of men into conscious Communists, and to give them sufficient knowledge about the different sides of military work, in order that they may be able, in the near future, to carry out the duties of (1) Organisers of the British Red Army, (2) Officers of the British Red Army, (3) Communist Military Commissaries to control non-Communist technical officers and staff which may be employed by the Revolutionary Authority.

The body of thus trained Communists must be entirely at the disposal of a certain Communist Revolutionary Authority at the time of an actual revolution and when the order for the mobilisation of the Red Army is issued. Who that authority will be cannot here be defined.

For the present, the work must be carried out ‘Underground’ and under strict secrecy, but it is also of absolute importance that this body of Red Army leaders does not regard itself as an independent, fighting, terroristic or similar organisation. It is not a body of ‘plotters’ or ‘riotmakers’, but of future Red Army leaders and officers, who act closely and loyally in line with the Communist Mass Movement.

It is perhaps necessary particularly to lay stress on the fact that the object of the ROC, for the present time, is not to train a Red Army, but to train officers, organisers and instructors for it. The organisation of the masses cannot be done secretly. The preliminary work: for that is being done, consciously or unconsciously, by the ex-Service Men’s Unions. As individuals we can guide and participate in that, but directly it is not the concern of the ROC …

We must be calm and stubborn in our preparations, and keep our minds well directed towards the big, final goal, and coming social hurricane on the back of which we are going to ride and the reins of which we must be able to handle. Then we shall make our move with accumulated strength which shall not have been spoiled by wavering and side-tracking …

Some comrades, quite in earnest and keen on the job, may have doubts as to the possibility of getting anything really efficient done compared with the regular army, when we have to work in such difficult conditions. Well, it is difficult, but it is not hopeless by any means, if we consider the following points. (1) The efficiency and discipline of the Regular Army can be practically broken by propaganda, and parts of it may come over on our side. (2) We shall have to fight, mainly against people who are more or less trained and organised like ourselves, viz: bourgeois white-guards. They may have more skilled officers, but it is up to us to show that they have less morale, less determination, less endurance. (3) The revolutionary civil war will, at any rate in the beginning, have largely the character of improvised guerrilla warfare, street-fighting and so on. Although we must be prepared to meet tanks, aircraft, flame-throwing and gas. Even here, it will not be quite the same as the gigantic, skilful murder engineering of the imperialist war. (4) In the time shortly after the revolution which may have been comparatively bloodless in its first stage, even the mere existence of a Communist Red Army and its armed demonstrations in the streets, may be enough to impose the will of the revolutionary proletariat and keep down counter-revolutionary aggressiveness. (5) In a revolutionary war, more depends on the high personal quality and spirit of each fighter than on the technical equipment.

Standing Orders

The Cadets of the ROC are subject to the following standing rules:


  1. The Cadets must never speak about this course, or about persons connected with it, directly or indirectly, not even with fellow comrades outside the class.
  2. Books and papers and notes must not be left lying about. They must be destroyed if there is danger of their falling into the hands of unauthorised persons. In the event of any Cadet being arrested by the enemy, he must sacrifice himself rather than his organisation.
  3. The Cadets of a course must not enquire, or try to obtain otherwise, information about things that do not concern them directly. They will be told everything that is necessary in the class. Trust and you will be trusted.
  4. Cadets must not frequent Public Houses.
  5. Persons who act as provocateurs or who with malicious intent betray their comrades, this course and its organisation, may be punished with death.

Oath to be Taken by the Red Army on Enlistment
and Renewed on May Day of Each Year

Before the working classes of Great Britain and of the whole world I swear to bear my calling honourably and to perform my training conscientiously.

I swear straightly and unflinchingly to observe revolutionary discipline; and unhesitatingly to obey all the orders of the commanders appointed by the revolutionary authorities.

I swear to abstain myself and withhold my comrades from all actions lowering to the dignity of a revolutionary Communist, to direct all my actions and thoughts towards the great aim of the liberation of all the workers.

I swear at the first call of the revolutionary authorities to take up the duties for which I shall have been specially trained, and in the battle for the British Soviet Republic, for the work of Socialism and the brotherhood of the peoples, to spare neither my energies nor my life itself.

If by malicious intent I break this my solemn promise, then may universal contempt be my lot, and may I be punished by the stern hand of the revolutionary law.

Lecture V: Staff: Requirements – Organisation

When a revolutionary situation has arisen, the mobilisation of the Red Army may be brought about by various means.

If possible, the order will be sent out from the Central Revolutionary Authority and the trained officers will be called together and the situation explained to them, or again, the situation may develop in such a manner that no communication is possible, in which case ‘Mobilisation’ must be brought about by the initiative of Officers in their localities.

But however the question of mobilisation has been brought about, the procedure should be as uniform as possible.

First call a mass meeting of workers; probably under the revolutionary situation existing there will be many meetings proceeding; these can of course be utilised.

Either take the chair, or by tact and push obtain a hearing, explain the necessity immediately of organising the Red Guards to protect Labour interests, preserve order and stamp down counter-revolutionary activities.

Call for volunteers, tell off suitable persons as your second in command, Secretary and Messenger. Probably you will have earmarked these before the revolution, and so assured yourself of trusty Communists, although it would not have been necessary to do more than sound them as to their views.

Pick out the Ex-Service Men and earmark the specialist, NCOs, or Corporals, Signallers, Engineers, etc. Pick out as many suitable leaders as you know of.

Organise the men up into companies of not more than 200 men or less than 100 men, thus, if you have any number up to 200 only form one Company, any number between 200 and 400, two Companies.

Make the men fall into two ranks or four, if space is limited.

Sub-divide each Company into two platoons, allocate two leaders to each platoon, if necessary each platoon can be divided into two sections. Distribute the ex-service men, but remember that it is more important to have Communists evenly distributed than ex-service men, for the Army is to be a political Army of Communists. Hunt out the anti-socialists.

Tell off specialists as follows:

  • Signallers
  • Messengers
  • Transport
  • Commissariat
  • Machine Gunners
  • Red Cross …

Provide all men with aims and ammunition; if no instructions are received from headquarters, use your discretion as to whether any known depots or gunsmiths should be raided. In any case, weapons should be improvised.

Decide on your local headquarters. Post sentries, have password if necessary.

Decide on barracks for the men, a public building, school, church, Town Hall, Library, large private house, store, etc, would be suitable, taken by force if necessary, much better to keep the men than allow them to go home …

Men taking over food supplies, a requisition note must be given for same, this requisition note to be signed by a Red Army Leader. The requisition note will, of course, be to the storekeeper a receipt for the goods taken by the Red Army.

Select ammunition magazine, post guards as necessary.

Put out scouts and get into touch with adjoining Red Companies, also ascertain movements of ‘White’ forces in the locality.

Arrest and detain known or suspected reactionary conspirators.

Report in code to headquarters the strength of your Company or Companies, arms available, and report the local situation.

Preserve order in your district, prevent looting. Pay particular attention to Banks, Telegraph Stations, Telephone Exchanges, etc., occupy if necessary.

The question of occupying factories will probably be the first question to be considered.

Prepare barricades as necessary to protect the factories or other localities …

Lecture VI: Barricades

Usually time will not permit of erecting a ‘Drill Book’ barricade, and it must be improvised.

Overturned ’buses, trams, carts, form a good framework for a barricade.

If not available, procure either bales of cloth, rolls of paper in vicinity of newspaper offices, scaffolding poles, timber, telegraph poles, lamp-posts, shop shutters, heavy furniture.

Barricades can be ‘armoured’ by mattresses, pillows, light furniture, paving-stones, etc.

Lecture VII

Defence of a Factory: On taking over a factory, first of all tighten up walls, strengthen weak places, barricade gates, select central ‘keep’ for final stand, select shelters for occupying troops whilst being shelled, mount machine guns (well hidden) to command all approaches (rifles if no machine guns available), barricade approaches; if sufficient number of men and arms available, put out outposts to command approaches.

Establish means of visual signalling with nearest Red Centre.

Requisition, if possible, sufficient food for three weeks …

When factory fortifications are complete and if no opposition occurs, construct inner and outer row of defences. (Employ local civilians for your work.)

You will then have following defences which enemy must surmount before you surrender:

  1. Outer defence. About ½ to 1 mile from Factory.
  2. Inner defences. Immediate vicinity of factory, probably 100 to 200 yards.
  3. Factory walls.
  4. Keep.

If the factory produces essentials, work it and exchange or barter goods if opportunity presents itself.

This procedure applies to defence of Food Stores in docks, Flour Mills, etc, but attack from seaward must be watched for.

Hold up all traffic in neighbourhood, allow ample supplies to pass or requisition as necessary.

Settle down and organise a Factory Staff on the routine lines you have been told …

If it is considered necessary to keep the factory working, because of its importance to ourselves, or if only a limited number of trusted revolutionaries are available to carry out the duties of the armed force, we may conscript the civil population for building barricades or for doing auxiliary work inside the factory, etc. The non combatant population is likely to be more or less idle during the most critical time …

Defence of a Mine: The defence of mines differs from the defence of factories; therefore, in that the defence must in the first instance be the defence of an area, probably many square miles.

Groups of mines – valleys in South Wales – should therefore coordinate their arrangements.

Many areas are extremely vulnerable from a blockade by Churchill. Especially is this so in the enclosed Welsh Valleys with one road and single [railway] line. These approaches must therefore be guarded and held.

Many mining areas contain only a bare two or three days’ food supply. It is obvious that their ability to hold out in the event of a blockade will depend materially on the cooperation which they can get from the large centres.

Durham and Northumberland Coal Field from Newcastle, Middlesbro’, Hartlepool, etc.

Welsh Coal Valleys from the Ports of Cardiff, Port Talbot and Swansea, where there are extensive Flour Mills.

Leaders of the party should not overlook any method of preparation with comrades in these localities.

The surrounding hills must also be defended. They can best be held by a series of Blockhouses. Natural positions, refuse and shale, dumps, woods, can all be adapted.

Seizure of a Bank: Evict occupants. Locate bullion. Every entrance seal. In Big Towns: If a central branch prepare for defence, strengthen windows and doors vide ‘Manual of Field Engineering’, Plate 23. Await instructions from Central Revolutionary Authority.

Post Office: Remove essential parts. Cut wires. Confer With Revolutionary Authorities, if possible.

Telephone Exchange: Stop linking entirely.

Lines: Cut.


1. Originally titled Fortnightly Report on Pacifism and Revolutionary Organisations in the United Kingdom and Abroad, the weekly format was adopted in February and not April 1919, as stated in S.R. Ward, Intelligence Surveillance of British Ex-Servicemen, 1918–1920, Historical Journal, Volume 16, no. 1, 1973, p. 179.

2. See J. Hope, British Fascism and the State 1917–1927: A Re-Examination of the Documentary Evidence, Labour History Review, Volume 57, no. 3, Winter 1992, pp. 72–83.

3. Colonel Cecil L’Estrange Malone, Royal Marines, had a distinguished naval aviation career, and by the end of the First World War he had been appointed air attaché at the British Embassy in Paris. Elected an MP (Liberal) for East Leyton in December 1918, Malone was also a resolute anti-socialist, until he opted to visit Russia in September 1919. On returning a month later, Malone became a passionate supporter of Bolshevism, joined the British Socialist Party, and subsequently served as a member of the provisional Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Great Britain. See Dictionary of Labour Biography, Volume 7, p. 159.

4. The Times, 27 October 1920. Gilbertson does not figure significantly in any published work, but Nosivitsky infers that she was a trusted associate of Pankhurst, and another spy reported Gilbertson working at Pankhurst’s celebrated ‘Mother’s Arms’ during 1919. See National Stability League Report, no. 4031, 21 August 1919, cited in J. Putkowski, “Those Nasty Crawling Things”: A2 and the Labour Movement, part 2, Lobster, 30 February 1996.

5. Kendall, drawing on Nosivitsky’s account, states that the latter was responsible for Veltheim’s arrest (W.S. Kendall, The Revolutionary Movement in Britain, 1900–1921, London, pp. 246–9; see also K. Morgan and T. Saarela, Northern Underground Revisited: Finnish Reds and the Origins of British Communism, European History Quarterly, Volume 29, no. 2, p. 204).

6. The Times, 27 October 1920; 3 November 1920.

7. In New York, Jacob ‘Harry’ Nosivitsky was employed by the US Department of Justice to spy on the US Communist Party. When his patron, Raymond Finch, left the Lusk Committee to work full-time for the British Secret Service (Major Thwaites and Sir Robert Nathan) in New York, Nosivitsky began working for the latter organisation. During 1919, Nosivitsky, masquerading as an emissary of Ludwig Martens, worked for Sir Basil Thomson, initially contacting Sylvia Pankhurst in London and Boris Souvarine in Paris. In January 1920, Nosivitsky and Fraina, with financial aid from the British, journeyed via the UK to attend a meeting of the Third International in Amsterdam. See Memorandum on British Secret Service Activities in this Country, 2 November 1920, US Military Intelligence Division, US War Department, US National Archives, NARS 9771.145.45, pp. 3–4. See also NARS, MID Reel 11, no. 51034, Harry Nosivitsky, 13 February 1920–9 November 1920. On Fraina, see P.M. Buhle, A Dreamer’s Paradise Lost, New Jersey, 1995. See also New York American, 11 October 1925, 18 October 1925, 25 October 1925.

8. As well as an account of the trial, The Times, 3 November 1920, also included the contents of the deciphered message: ‘Rothstein or deputy not here yet. Impossible to go successfully Ireland to start party, &c., or negotiate Republican mission without money. Present using £300 sent to Irish unions while waiting news. Lent [Jack] Tanner £70 to run his paper. Instruct us how to obtain money by our note from Kobietsky or instruct representatives here help us immediately. Consult Rosenberg, Foreign Office, and send news re exchange of Larkin. Reply J. Cowper, 28 Little St Andrew Street, London WC.’ A postscript drew attention to £3,522 promised to Pankhurst on behalf of the Third International. See also Kendall, op. cit., pp. 255–6.

9. The Times, 3 November 1920.

10. The Times, 13 November 1920. The Admiralty had already considered prosecuting Malone for treason after his visit to visit to Russia and attempts to recruit Lionel Yexley, editor of Bluejacket and advocate of naval reform. Instead, it was decided to strike Malone off the active list (A. Carew, The Lower Deck of the Royal Navy 1900–1939, Manchester 1985, n118 p. 240).

11. The expression was used by the prosecution counsel at Malone’s trial on 12 November 1920 (The Times, 13 November 1920).

12. The Times, 8 November 1920; Communist, 18 November 1920, cited in Dictionary of Labour Biography, Volume 7, p. 159.

13. The Times, 20 November 1920.

14. The Times, 18 January 1921.

15. Letter from N Seymer to J Putkowski, 2 May 1996.

16. Ibid.; Morgan and Saarela, op. cit., pp. 180, 188–200.

17. J. Putkowski, A2 and the “Reds in Khaki”, Lobster, 27 April 1994; “The Best Secret Serviceman We Had”: Jack Byrnes, A2 and the IRA, Lobster, 28 February 1995; “Those Nasty Crawling Things”: A2 and the Labour Movement, Part 1, Lobster, 29 August 1995; “Those Nasty Crawling Things”: A2 and the Labour Movement, Part 2, Lobster, 30 February 1996.

18. New York American, 8 November 1925. An IOU for £184, made out to ‘Norson’ (Nosivitsky) dated 26 October 1920 signed by Pankhurst, is reproduced in New York American, 18 October 1925.

19. Report on Revolutionary Organisations in the United Kingdom [hereafter RROUK], Report no. 74, 30 September 1920.

20. RROUK, 22 November 1925. Veltheim, who was being concealed in a safe house by Rothstein, had been in the United Kingdom for about a fortnight before he was arrested.

21. RROUK, 22 November 1925; 10058-490 (8), Cable, London to MID, 9 November 1920.

22. RROUK, Report no 74, 30 September 1920.

23. The Times, 23 October 1920.

24. The Times, 29 October 1920.

Updated by ETOL: 16.10.2011