Author(s): Barbara Jeffery
History | No Category
Monty Newton and Rodolphe Lemoine must be two of the most outrageous conmen in history. When the Rajah Sir Hari Singh came to London in 1919, his first time in Europe, between visits to the King and Queen and the Prince of Wales he was introduced by his aide de camp to Mrs Maud (Maudie) Robinson. They became lovers, went to Paris for Christmas where they were discovered in bed together. The Mayfair Mob has set the whole thing up and Sir Hari paid up to avoid citatiion in a divorce case. What happened next was sensational - a court case that gripped the world for eight days in 1924. The British government imposed the greatest secrecy on the case and kept files closed for a hundred years rather than the usual thirty. Monty was saved by the intervention of his partner in crime Lemoine, a German working for French intelligence, who - in 1931! - bought the working manuals of the new German Enigma encoding machine from a clerk, so that - in 1932! - a young Polish mathematician could crack the code. That's six years before Alan Turing even thought of studying cryptology. Barbara Jeffery's research at the India Office Library and the National Archives has unearthed an extraordinary story: one document was opened specially for her and she had to read it in a locked room.