Sunday 15 December 2013
was the last day to the public of the
Secret Communications Exhibition
This chapter is dedicated to aspects of what became known as: Gladio. I would therefore prefer to use this word; like is the word 'Mafia', known everywhere, but originally only related to Sicilians.
On this very day, Mr Herman Schoemaker visited us. We felt very honoured, that he took his time explaining wide fields of related topics. He was accompanied by two fellow organisation members. In the course of conversations he explains that this is a most exceptional (rare) occasion. His two companions never have meet before. One even was a very close friend and only after decades he found out that his very friend belonged to the same institution!
Mr Schoemaker's function was: training and instructions. Training meant mainly passing on wireless operations like handling Morse signals; likely also coding and decoding.
Mr Herman Schoemaker was engaged to the Dutch O&I organisation, between about 1960 up to 1992, when the Dutch Prime Minister Lubbers decided that this 'secret army' should be abolished. I don't know whether in all countries the Gladio organisation was abolished about the same year 1992. Some indication is that in, for example Britain, this commenced at a far later date.
Gladio was originally the Italian codename for their 'Stay Behind' organisation. What we nevertheless, know, is that nearly all Western-European countries had been involved; even including Switzerland! Once there even has been a Western-European exercise about the early 1990s!
We have to apologise for the sometimes poor sound quality; originating from other ongoing discussions in the same space. Our (video) camera-microphone could not discriminate between the various signal courses. A directional microphone was not at hand.
However, the uniqueness of this event is so apparent, that this document is, nevertheless, worth to be viewed.
Down in the centre Mr Herman Schoemaker
(Photo taken by my wife Karin)
On the left-hand side is Marc, Paul just visible on the right
Herman Schoemaker got his Degree quite recently at the University Utrecht, on 7 June 2013. His thesis was about aspects of the Dutch Stay Behind organisation O&I.
He gave us permission to put this thesis on our website
Please consider also the video films which can be viewed via the YouTube links
My recordings were made live during the course of Mr Schoemaker's visit; nothing has been pre-arranged! Also the discussions engendered by circumstance.
Film 00129: The two persons on the left are Mr Schoemaker's former colleagues, who never have met in their very career until today. The one in the red trouser is his sixty year old close friend of Mr Schoemaker; until after decades, purely by coincident, Mr Schoemaker heard a well-known voice in an adjacent room! Marc is explaining how they obtained the FS-5000 'Gladio' station gear. The CW signals in the background is originating from a separate FS-5000 receiver module receiving signals just at 7,000 kHz (40 m) the sound originate just from a 'crystal earphone'.
Film 00130: Mr Schoemaker is just telling that the pool in which they looked for future agents was, for example, those engaged in the airline- or shipping business. They necessitated those capable handling (later) Morse code and having just the right skills for coping with secret operations. In his introduction he told us, that he trained, for instance, a veterinarian doctor as well as a postman or that like. Mr Schoemaker is questioning whether some of the once (Dutch O&I) missing gear once was in the hand of the Eastern-Germans?
Film 00131: Not yet available.
Film 00132: One point of interest on behalf of Marc, could you exchange messages between fellow agents? The reply was no! We knew that the 'counter station' was either in England and/or America. Our organisation did not permit communications between 'suitcase-to-suitcase'. The person in the background, explains that although, total band and directional coverage is today practiced, new techniques are keeping signals (adjusting) them underneath the noise floor hampering detection and making DFing virtually impossible. Then he explains, that during the 'starting up moment' when the signal level is not yet adjusted appropriately onto the current noise floor, remains still dangerous. Mr Schoemaker explains further - that to him the FS-5000 was the end of development; he remembers that most of his active days they used Morse signals, with all the downsides of easy to be DFed on. He also remembers, that the FS-5000 technique was to him the 'ultimate'.
Film 00133: Mr Schoemaker, in discussion with Paul, is viewing with excitement the SP-15 rig. He expresses that this gear worked very satisfactory. According to him, they selected non-technical operators only. They were not interested in so-called 'technicians'; unthinkable! He tells us with some regret: that he returned all his equipment to the Dutch authorities after his service was abolished. Mr Schoemaker confirms that the SP-15 equipment was stored in a green container, in contrast to the FS-5000 rig. He then explains that the FS-5000 equipment was kept and being moved around in an ordinary 'V&D koffertje' (a very general low budget suitcase). He continues with an astonishing story. He once had to deliver a station to an agent in Assen. He also carried his own wireless set. During the train trip homewards he did store his suitcase in the luggage-rack above his head. In the evening he was attending with his wife a concert and he thought: I forgot my suitcase in the train! He was becoming most upset and he returned instantly homewards. Luckily, his suitcase was in there still. He continues: these things can happen! Then the discussion continued about the fact that in the beginning they used only quartz crystals. For some time, we had only three or four crystals at hand. Then he confirms on Paul's request - that they later employed a (RACAL made) synthesisers instead. Then Mr Schoemaker explains, that he used also a set like the one on display (type RS-6 on his right-hand side), but not like this black coloured version but with a more beige look. He and his colleague remember that the SP-15 was the station they have operated most of their career. Important was this system work pretty well. It was easy to handle, very significant because the secret agents were 'non technical' and mistakes should be prevented for. What to think of a veterinary doctor or a postman (agent) operator?
Film 00134: Discussions about the RACAL station type DZO81. Mr Schoemaker's colleague is explaining how they prepared the RACAL suitcase set.
Film 00135: Mr Schoemaker confirms the year of the DZO81 introduction was: 1981.
Film 00136: Paul shows the RACAL FRM 4750 'Base Station' which was used in conjunction to the the DZO81 rig. Marc points - that viewing the way the set is constructed that technical problems were likely. This was countered by the statement - that they cannot remember having encountered any technical problems with this equipment. The problems they faced were of practical nature like wave propagation and atmospheric conditions.
Film 00137: Paul explains: that someone in England offered this RACAL FRM 4750 'Base Station' to Bletchley Park. For whatever reason they refused to accept his donation and Paul got a phone call with the message: when you like this set, please come over and carry it away!
Film 00138: Small intermediate discussion.
Film 00139: Mr Schoemaker tells us that this gathering is very unique! Both men have never met one another before. There existed a very strict separation between the individual O&I members. It worked perfectly, even today. Marc asked about 'Mr van der Kruk, he apparently points at late Mr Max van der Stoel. One member just tells that he and Schoemaker were 'since 60 years' close friends, but neither men did know that both were participants of the same organisation! He lived in Eindhoven and I (Herman Schoemaker) lived in Soest. Mr Schoemaker owned a shop there; above his shop he rented out a room to the O&I organisation (they had their own door-key); creating a so-called 'safe house'. Schoemaker describes himself as a totally non-technical person, which was considered being a great advantage. Agents were being trained like 'chimpanzees' what counted was - knowing how to operate the dials. Schoemaker mentions that Paul and Marc most likely were not the right individuals for this kind of 'job'. Not thinking technically but only accomplishing a task - nothing more nor less! Paul replies - my first move would have been opening the boxes and looking what is inside. Mr Schoemaker replies: one should not have thought opening modules! Marc continues - the SP-15 is so reliable that even today when power is being connected it will 'operate' instantly!
Film 00140: Small discussions.
Film 00141: Not yet available.
Film 00142: Small discussions.
Film 00144: Small discussions.
Closing this chapter
Viewing those who made this exceptional event possible. We have to apologise that Wouter isn't present, but he just was guarding the venue entrance. (Photo taken by Anton Kroes, using Karin's camera)
From left to right: Paul - my wife Karin - Marc - myself and Dick Zijlmans
Without our 'crew' we never would have managed up to 400 visitors!
By: Arthur O. Bauer