Mutt and Jeff (spies)

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John Herbert Neal Moe

(1919-05-31)31 May 1919
London, England
Died 7 July 2001(2001-07-07) (aged 82)
Oslo, Norway
Citizenship Anglo-Norwegian (dual citizenship)
Occupation Spy
Years active 1941-1944
Tor Glad

(1916-08-05)5 August 1916
Bestum, Oslo, Norway
Citizenship Norwegian
Occupation Spy
Years active 1941-1943

Mutt and Jeff were two Norwegian spies who worked for the United Kingdom and MI5 and were members of the Double Cross System.

In April 1941 two Norwegians, John "Helge" Moe (Mutt) and Tor Glad (Jeff) fetched up on a remote Aberdeenshire beach in Scotland, having travelled by seaplane and rubber dinghy. They immediately turned themselves in to the local police as German spies. MI5 soon 'turned' them, assigning them their codenames, which were the names of a pair of cartoon strip characters (see Mutt and Jeff). 'Mutt and Jeff' is also rhyming slang for 'deaf'.[1]

Mutt and Jeff's mission was supposed to be one of sabotage, as well as having a secondary intelligence role, reporting (via wireless) military locations, deployments and civilian morale. MI5 used Mutt and Jeff's radio sets to relay false information, leading the Germans to believe that the United Kingdom intended to invade Norway (this activity was a component of Operation Fortitude). To ensure the German handlers did not suspect Mutt and Jeff of having sold out, MI5 arranged for fake sabotage operations - supposedly the work of the pair - to take place, in one case going so far as to set off a controlled explosion at a power plant which was widely reported in the local media as a genuine attack.[1]

Doubts about Glad's reliability led MI5 to eventually intern him in 1943,[2] and his radio transmissions were carried on by Moe until February 1944. By then MI5 believed that the Germans may have learned of Glad's detention, and so the operation was brought to a close.[3]


  1. ^ a b "MI5 | Double Cross Agents". 2011. Archived from the original on 7 August 2011. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
  2. ^ Haufler, Hervie (2014). The Spies That Never Were. United States: Open Road Media. ISBN 9781497622623.
  3. ^ "Obituary : John Moe". The Daily Telegraph. London: TMG. 7 July 2001. ISSN 0307-1235. OCLC 49632006. Retrieved 14 July 2012.

Further reading

  • "Security Service (MI5) file on "Mutt and Jeff", No. KV 2/1067" (PDF). The National Archives.
  • John Ezard (2002-11-28). "Double agents Mutt and Jeff misled Nazis". The Guardian.
  • Stephen Moyes (2002-11-28). "Churchill's Cousin Was A Russian Spy". Daily Mirror. Archived from the original on October 10, 2007.
  • Gideon Long (2002-11-27). "Nazis Were Fooled by Britain's Norwegian Spy Duo". Reuters.
  • Tommy Jonason & Simon Olsson (2011). Agent TATE: The Wartime Story of Double Agent Harry Williamson. London: Amberley Publishing. ISBN 1-4456-0481-7.

External links

  • IWM Interview with John Moe
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