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Arthur Graham Owens, later known as Arthur Graham White (14 April 1899 – 24 December 1957) was a Welsh electrical engineer who acted as a mole during World War II. He was working for MI5 while appearing to the Abwehr (the German intelligence agency) to be one of their agents. Owens was known to MI5 by the codename SNOW. He was allocated this codename as it is a partial anagram of 'Owens'. Contents 1 Recruitment by the Germans 2 Mole 3 Activities 4 Suspicion 5 Later life 6 References Recruitment by the Germans Owens ran a company that made batteries for ships. As such he was a civilian contractor for the Royal Navy and also had regular contact with the Kriegsmarine in Kiel, and his first contact with espionage occurred in 1936 when he had been briefly employed by the Secret Intelligence Service to give information on what he had seen in the German shipyards. In 1938, Nikolaus Ritter, operating as an Abwehr agent in Britain under the name 'Dr Rantzau', made contact with him. As a supporter of Welsh nationalism, Owens was a relatively easy target for turning into an enemy agent as he had little loyalty to the United Kingdom. His work also provided a cover for any foreign trips he might have to make, and he visited Germany that year where he met the Abwehr and was recruited. While Owens appreciated the payments for his espionage, his real interest was sexual as the Abwehr provided attractive women for him. His codename in the Abwehr was 'Johnny'. Mole However, on his return to Britain Owens had second thoughts about working for Germany and told the British authorities in September 1938 of his contact and that he was to receive a radio transceiver. The radio arrived via the left luggage office of Victoria Station early in 1939 and Owens turned this over. On August 11, 1939, Owens visited his Abwehr controller in Hamburg; during this visit, his wife and son went to the police to tell them he was a German agent. Despite this information the police failed to pick him up on his return on August 23. On September 4, Owens made contact with the Special Branch to volunteer his services. However, he was instead interned in Wandsworth Prison under Defence Regulation 18B as someone with hostile associations. MI5 decided that Owens, to whom they gave the codename 'SNOW', could act as a mole. On September 12, MI5 returned the transmitter to Owens in Wandsworth where it was used by a warder to contact the Germans. Owens received a reply inviting him to go to the Low Countries, then neutral, and he was let out of jail to attend. Activities In the early months of the war the Germans asked for regular weather reports from him for the use of the Luftwaffe and also to test his credibility. At a meeting with the Abwehr in Brussels, Owens was given some cash and some detonators for use in sabotage. He had taken along another double agent, also a Welsh nationalist, who was instructed to start a postage stamp business so that the Germans could communicate through microdots on stamps. From the spring of 1940 the Abwehr sent most of its British-based agents and contacts to see Owens. MI5 tried to make sure that Owens only passed on to the Germans the information that they had given him. One of the most important was supplying false names and ration book numbers for the Abwehr's agents who were parachuted into Britain. MI5 continued to be suspicious of Owens who was known to exaggerate his importance and sent a second double agent, Sam McCarthy (codenamed BISCUIT) to see him. McCarthy reported back that Owens admitted he was also double-crossing MI5, which led MI5 to believe that Owens was primarily interested in making money from both sides and that probably neither trusted him entirely. Suspicion In March 1941, Owens and another double agent, Walter Dicketts (known to MI5 as CELERY), were summoned to Lisbon to meet their Abwehr controllers. Unexpectedly Dicketts was then taken to Hamburg for three weeks of interrogation, having aroused the Germans' suspicion, but survived it. The fact that this had not happened to Owens, and that Owens had not warned Dicketts that it might happen, made MI5 suspect him further, and they assumed from then on that SNOW was helping the Germans actively. Later life MI5 used Owens' radio to inform the Germans that he was seriously ill while interning Owens in Dartmoor Prison until the end of the war. In Dartmoor Owens stayed in the hospital wing, which was termed as Camp 001 for internees. On his release, Owens emigrated to Canada where he was known as Mr Brown; there he went to the British High Commission in Ottawa to demand compensation for what he regarded as his wrongful arrest in 1941. When he threatened to publish his memoirs, a secret fund was set up to buy him off. Owens later moved to Ireland and settled in Harristown, County Dublin where he died in 1976. References 'The Guy Liddell Diaries: Vol. I: 1939-1942', ed. by Nigel West (Routledge, London, 2005) 'British Intelligence in the Second World War, Volume 4' by F.H. Hinsley and C.A.G. Simkins (HMSO, London, 1990) 'MI5: British Security Service Operations 1909-1945' by Nigel West (Bodley Head, London, 1981) 'Traitors' by Chapman Pincher (Sidgwick and Jackson, 1987) 'Snow: the double life of a world war two spy' by Nigel West and Madoc Roberts (Biteback, London 2011) Persondata Name Owens, Arthur George Alternative names White, Arthur George; SNOW; Johnny Short description Electrical engineer and espionage agent Date of birth 14 April 1899 Place of birth Alltwen, Glamorganshire Date of death 24 December 1957 Place of death Wexford