Was reading about a Scottish aviator who was suspected about being a japanese spy during the war. The article talked about him being awarded the 3rd Order of the Rising Sun; 2nd Order of the Sacred Treasure and a Special Medal of the Imperial Aero Society of Japan in the inter-war years. Any info on the Aero Scociety medals out there?
Churchill protected Scottish peer suspected of spying for Japan. Second World War: Government papers show prominent aristocrat was believed to be leaking naval secrets to Tokyo. What follows is a minor abbreviation of the paper’s article.
A senior Scottish Lord was suspected of being part of a Japanese spy ring in London during WW2, according to recently released documents at the Public Record Office at Kew,U.K. Lord Sempill, a naval commander at the Admiralty, was accused of passing sensitive information to the Japanese Embassy in the lead-up to the attack on Pearl Harbor. The documents show that British security services suspected at least five British citizens in London of providing information to the Japanese. "What this shows for the first time is the existence of a highly organized Japanese spy operation in Britain," says Dr Richard Aldrich, a historian from Nottingham University. At one point the Attorney-General secretly considered prosecuting Lord Sempill. However, when the Admiralty confronted Sempill and wanted him to resign, Winston Churchill interceded and only required Sempill to be "moved". Educated at Eton, William Forbes-Sempill was apprenticed to Rolls-Royce in 1910. He became a distinguished aviator, joining the Royal Flying Corps at the beginning of the First World War. He later transferred to the Royal Naval Air Service where he rose to the rank of Commander, and he was awarded the Air Force Cross.
Although he retired from the services in 1919, his engineering knowledge led to a life-long involvement with aviation. His first contact with the Japanese came in 1921 when he headed an official British mission to organize the Imperial Japanese Naval Air Service. During his visit Sempill became a confirmed Japanophile, striking up close and long-standing relationships with the Japanese military. The Japanese were very impressed and awarded him the 3rd Order of the Rising Sun; 2nd Order of the Sacred Treasure and a Special Medal of the Imperial Aero Society of Japan in the inter-war years. A photo of Captain Sempill and Admiral Togo Heihachiro in 1921 speaks to an early association with a member of the Japanese Armed Forces (Figure 5).
Commander Forbes-Sempill succeeded his father in 1934 and became the 19th Baron Sempill, inheriting Craigievar Castle, Aberdeenshire. When the Second World War broke out, he rejoined the Royal Naval Air Service. He was assigned to the Admiralty and worked in the Department of Air Material. There he had access to sensitive information about the latest aircraft. Suspicions about Sempill were aroused in June 1940 when MI5 intercepted messages from Mitsubishi to London and the Yamagata Naval Air Force headquarters in Japan. These referred to payments being made to Sempill. When Sempill was suspected "of disclosure of secret information about Fleet Air Arm aircraft,"the matter was discreetly referred to the Attorney-General and Director of Public Prosecutions. "The Attorney General advised against prosecution, but Sempill was strictly cautioned," said the file. Lord Sempill denied the allegations and said he had not received payments from an "improper quarters." He told the Admiralty Board that the money had stopped on the outbreak of war.
MI5 tapped Sempill's phones and found Sempill had kept up his contacts with the Japanese. A year later he again came to the attention of the security services and was suspected of passing information about the Battle of the Atlantic - the continuing efforts to get merchant convoys to and from the US. At the time Britain was not at war with Japan, but it was considered only a matter of time before war was declared.