04 December 2011

Besieged By Spies

On this day in 1931:

Foreign Agents Spying On Giant British Ship
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Every Effort Made to Secure Secrets of Construction of 73,000 Ton Liner Now Being Built at Clydebank. Stranger's Camera Plate Destroyed. Guarded Like a Fort.
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GLASGOW (By mail) -- Foreign spies have invaded Glasgow during the past six months trying to discover the secrets of the design of the great new 73,000-ton liner which is being built for the Cunard Company to establish Britain's mercantile marine supremacy.

The future Queen Mary in 1931.

In spite of all kinds of devices they have failed.

Very shortly official details of the great ship will be published, but only because it is too late for foreign rivals to copy these secrets before the most wonderful ship the world has ever known is put into commission.

Many people must have wondered why the builders -- Messrs. John Brown and Co. -- have preserved so deep a secrecy.

Why They Failed.

Here is a masterpiece of British industry of which any Briton might well be proud. She has been guarded as strictly as a new British warship at a naval dockyard.

The truth is that the moment the giant keel was laid spies besieged the Clyde. They hoped to convey sufficient information to their principals abroad to enable them to forestall the new liner.

They have failed because of the vigilance of the builders and the honest pride and loyalty of the British workmen engaged on this immense undertaking.

When the full story is known, it will make as thrilling a tale as [illegible] narratives of war espionage.

One of the big secrets of the vessel lies in the construction of the bows, a development of [illegible] known as the bulbous pattern.

They give her greater speed and greater stability so that it is believe sea-sickness will be eliminated.

But the giant boat is a [illegible] secrets which would be worth a fortune to rival shipyards.

Sworn to Secrecy

All sorts of subterfuges have been employed by strangers to [illegible] her. Foreign agents disguised as workmen have tried to [illegible] the yard. In every case they have been detected and thrown out.

In one case a stranger [illegible] gain admittance, and was caught in the act of taking photographs. But he was discovered in time, and the plates in [illegible] were destroyed.

Sentries have been on duty night and day at the shipyard. [Illegible] sentry post is connected by phone. No fort has been so closely guarded. All the workers have been sworn to secrecy.

Even directors of the Cunard Company and of John Brown and Co., though well known to [illegible] have not been admitted without showing special passes.

(Source: Ottawa Citizen)

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