Another spy unmasked

Karl-Gustav Ernst was at the centre of the German spy ring in London at the start of the war. He was a London hairdresser, born in Britain but of German ancestry. Unluckily for him, MI5 had been aware of his covert role passing information, and he and his confederates were rounded up and arrested early in the war.

16 November 1914
Girls to Cookham to see wounded…. Sir George & Mme de la Bistrale came to luncheon. Then Mrs Puxley & Florrie Stainton came, & the Riches for tea. Went over hospital. May Innes to dine. Percival [Innes] told he to go guard Lord Roberts at Wellington Chapel 4 a.m. tomorrow!

Heavy fighting round Ypres. Germans can’t break through. One spy Ernst (hairdresser) to have 7 years!

An on dit of Kitchener when the P. of Wales went to him to beg him to let him go with his regiment. K said “Well, sir, if you were wounded that does not matter, & if you were killed that would not matter, but it would put us in such a hole if you were taken prisoner!” So he refused. Now he has gone out on Sir J. French’s staff.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8)