Cats and dog suspected of spying on WWI trenches by British intelligence officers

'Two (2) cats and a dog are under suspicion, as they have been in the habit of crossing our trenches at night; steps are being taken to trap them if possible'

British intelligence officers in the First World War suspected two cats and a dog of spying for the Germans, in official army documents published by the National Archives today.

The three animals were observed repeatedly crossing British trenches, leading suspicious officers to believe the animals may have been planted by the Germans in order to relay messages across enemy lines.

The incident was recorded in an intelligence briefing from July 1915.

The report, prepared by officers from the 36th brigade of the 12th Division who were stationed in trenches on the Western Front states: “Two (2) cats and a dog are under suspicion, as they have been in the habit of crossing our trenches at night; steps are being taken to trap them if possible.”

Sadly, the document does not state whether the animals were ever detained on suspicion of spying.

David Langrish, records specialist for the National Archives said: “The case of the dog and two cats, shows the level of suspicion amongst military units at this time.

“Every detail was of potential importance for the planning of further operations, and so every possible suspicion would have been reported.”

The same report also detailed how British soldiers erected a board for their opponents to see, mocking them with news of the surrender of German South West Africa (Nambia) written across it.

The document said: “The enemy attempted to knock it down with rifle fire, and having failed, used very lurid language.”

The “lurid language” could have been in relation to another incident recorded in the report where Germans sent a brown paper kites into British lines with a series of abusive messages written on them.

According to The Telegraph, they included: “Englishmen, how badly you shoot!… You Englishmen – we have wine, sausage, and meat – your Englishmen are hungry and thirsty… You stupid soldiers!”

The second batch of WWI diaries has been published by The National Archives in Kew, London, to mark this year's centenary of the start of WWI.

The diaries include examples of simple but effective tactics such as using ‘dummy soldiers’ operated by strings, alongside the use of advanced technologies such as the first (German) flamethrowers and the first (British) gas attacks.

The first batch was released in January. Nearly 4,000 unit war diaries have been published today, covering all four years of the war.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Angel Di Maria is shown the red card
tech
Sport
Roger Federer after his win over Tomas Berdych
sport
Life and Style
News in briefs: big pants in 'Bridget Jones's Diary'
fashionBig knickers are back
Sport
James Milner is set to sign for Liverpool this week despite rival interest from Arsenal
sportReds baulk at Benteke £32.5m release clause
News
The controversial Motor Neurone Disease Association poster, featuring sufferer Michael Smith, has drawn a series of angry complaints
newsThis one has been criticised for its 'threatening tone'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Inside Sales - OTE to £45,000

£25000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are a leading supplier of bu...

Recruitment Genius: Installation Engineer - Driveway

£28000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This innovative, fast growing f...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Project Manager - Technical

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is looking for a Jun...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral