signalling—of which I have given my own personal experience in the previous chapter—my correspondents send me many examples.
The same code-signal as a prefix—the letters "S.M."—are being seen at points as far distant as Herne Bay and Alnwick, on both the Yorkshire and Fifeshire coasts, above Sidmouth and at Ilfracombe. Dozens of reports of night-signalling lie before me—not mere statements of fancied lights, but facts vouched for by three and four reliable witnesses. Yet, in face of it all, the authorities pooh-pooh it, and in some counties we have been treated to the ludicrous spectacle of the civil and military authorities falling at loggerheads over it!
Belgian refugees writing to me have, in more than one instance, reported highly interesting facts. In one case an ex-detective of the Antwerp police, now a refugee in England, has identified a well-known German spy who was in Antwerp before the Germans entered there, and who came to England in the guise of a refugee! This individual is now in an important town in Essex, while my informant is living in the same town. Surely such a case is one for searching inquiry, and the more so because the suspect poses as an engineer, and is in the employ of a firm of engineers who do not suspect the truth. But before whom is my friend, the Belgian ex-detective, to place his information?
True, he might perhaps lay the information before the Chief Constable of the County of Essex, but in his letter to me he asks, and quite naturally, is it worth while? If the Intelligence Department of the War Office—that Department so belauded in the House of Commons by Mr. McKenna on March 3rd—refuses to investigate the case of signalling in Surrey, cited in the last chapter, and vouched for by