Hugh Bertie Campbell Pollard, 6th January 1888

hugh pollard

An experienced journalist with service at the Daily Express. He was educated at boarding school in London and by 1907 he was listed as a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He served as an Lieutenant and Captain  during WW1 in 2nd Batt. County of London Enlistment Battalion (Intelligence Corps), and in 1920 was appointed as press officer on the Staff of the Chief of Police in Ireland.

1888 Jan 6 born Marylebone

1897 - 1903 Educated at Westminster School from 1897-1903.

1891 census pollard

1891 Census in his grandparents house in Highdown House, Pirton, Herts.

1901 census has him as a boarder at St Peters Collegiate Church, London, England. This is given as a boarding house for Westminster School.

1911 I cannot find him in the census

pollard medal card

1912 May 9 (County of London) Cyclist Battalion, The London Regiment. Hugh Bertie Campbell Pollard to be Second Lieutenant.

1914 Nov 6. Lieutenant

1916 Jun 1. Captain

1917 to Nov 1918 He was a Staff Officer in the Intelligence Section of the War Office MI7 B(1). He was a writer attached to M.I.7b at Adastral House. The unit was apparently disbanded in Nov 1918 "work accomplished". The records indicate that he joined M.I.7b at Adelphi Court between autumn 1916 and Oct 1917. C J C Street is also in M.I.7b at the same time. M.I.7 b. Duties: Policy connected with publicity & propaganda. Channel of communication between War Office & other department in connection with these subjects.
Address Adastral House, Tel City 800, A full write up of MI7b work

1918 Apr 21. Captain Dawson left M.I. 7 (b) (1) on 21st April, 1918, to organize the Propaganda Department of the Royal Air Force. His place was taken by Major C.J.C. Street, who continued in charge until the subdivision was demobi1ized on 23rd November, 1918

1918 to 1919 After the war, he was made Director of Publicity at the Ministry of Labour

1920 - 1922. He then served at the Irish Office in London and was transferred to Dublin in 1920 at the height of the War of Independence. Hugh Pollard is said to have hated the Irish with a passion. “The Irish problem is a problem of the Irish race, and it is rooted in the racial characteristics of the people themselves” wrote Pollard in 1922. The Irish he thought were “racially disposed to crime”, have “two psychical and fundamental abnormalities… moral insensibility and want of foresight” which “are the basic characteristic of criminal psychology”. In his 1922 book, The Secret Societies of Ireland: Their Rise and Progress, Pollard wrote on the IRA: "...there is nothing fine about a group of moral decadents leading a superstitious minority into an epidemic of murder and violent crime; yet this is what has happened of recent years in Ireland, it is what has happened time and time again in the past, and it will happen again in the future; for the Irish problem is a problem of the Irish race, and it is rooted in the racial characteristics of the people themselves."

One of his jobs would be to contribute to the publication “Weekly Summary” which was an official organ issued to police to encourage them in their fight against the IRA – first publication was 13th August 1920 and circulated to all police. He produced the Weekly Summary, together with the Section secretary, Captain William Darling. The crudeness of this paper and its obvious intent at deceiving the journalists for whom it was produced 'resulted in much negative publicity for the Crown forces and the Irish Administration'.

His title was Press Officer with Police Authority Information Section. On May 15th 1920, General Tudor was appointed Police Advisor to the Viceroy of Ireland with advisory powers over all police forces in Ireland. His support staff included Hugh Pollard.

He was also directly involved in two particularly bungled attempts at 'black propaganda'. One was the attempt to produce and distribute a fake version of the Irish Bulletin, the gazette of the Irish Republicans. The fraud was quickly exposed and the reliability of information emanating from Crown sources in Ireland severely damaged. A second incident involved the bizarre attempt to fake a military engagement in County Kerry (reported as the 'Battle of Tralee').The press-release included photographs of the purported scene of the battle. These were republished in a number of Irish and English papers before the actual location was identified as Vico Road in Dalkey, a quiet seaside Dublin suburb.The entire event had been staged by Pollard and Captain Garro-Jones, a colleague of Major Cecil Street, and was without foundation. In December 1920 in the House of Commons, the Government was forced to admit that the photographs and a contemporary, (though unreleased) newsreel were fake.Following the Anglo-Irish Treaty, Pollard recorded his interpretation of the history of Irish nationalist organisations in Secret Societies of Ireland, Their Rise and Progress, which included an apparent defence of sectarian violence and a repetition of some blatant misinformation. One such was the allegation that the Lord Mayor of Cork, Tomás Mac Curtain had been assassinated by the Irish Republican Brotherhood, rather than Crown forces.

dum dum bullets

This would seem to be the page on Dum Dum bullets from the papers of General Strickland 1920-1921.

1920 Oct 28. Another of his contributions was “The Irish Gunmen”. It dealt with the use of Dum Dum bullets. Photographs of the bullets were made available to the Press. Pollard wrote that one of the worst features of crime in Ireland was the use by the IRA of expanding or Dum Dum bullets in cold blood assassination attacks on the police. He wrote that the use of such ammunition by the IRA murder gangs was contrary to the laws of war. He argued that combatants using such ammunition should be shot out of hand while in Ireland anyone so caught is jailed.  A letter published in the Irish Independent pointed out that such bullets were first manufactured under British control at Dum Dum near Calcutta, that Britain was the only power at the second conference of the Hague to object to the probibition of the bullets, and that the British army had used them against the Boers, the Germans and the Irish.

1920 Nov, the Dublin Castle Press Office put out a story which was carried in the press that “American Gunmen” were aiding the IRA.

1921 Jan. Dublin castle announced that the British would destroy homes in the vicinity of IRA outrages which are known occupied by sympathizers.

1936 Jul 11 At 07.15 on the morning Pollard left Croydon airport, London, in a de Havilland Dragon Rapide aircraft, piloted by his friend Cecil Bebb, and two female companions.

The flight log records that the aircraft was bound for the Canary Islands. The purpose of the flight was to collect General Franco from the Canaries and fly him to Tetuán in Morocco, at that time a Spanish colony, where the Spanish African Army was garrisoned. The Madrid government recognized that Franco was a danger to the Spanish Republic, and had sent him to the Canaries in order to keep him away from political intrigue. Had a Spanish plane flown to the islands, the authorities would likely have been alerted, but the British aircraft attracted little or no attention. Pollard, Bebb and Franco arrived in Tetuan on July 19 and the General quickly set about organising Spanish Moroccan troops to participate in the coming coup.

It is possible that British security services may have been complicit in the flight, which was planned over lunch at Simpsons-in-the-Strand, where Douglas Jerrold, the extreme right-wing Editor of the Catholic English Review (and also a British intelligence officer), met with the journalist Luis Bolín, London correspondent of the ABC Newspaper and later Franco's senior press advisor. Jerrold then persuaded Pollard to join the enterprise, and Pollard in turn recruited Cecil Bebb as pilot, plus his daughter Diana, and a friend, as "cover"

However it is not clear how much the British government knew or indeed cared about the activities of the secret services in aiding Franco, if they were in fact responsible. Britain remained officially neutral throughout the duration of the Spanish Civil War.

Pollard's personal SOE file has recently been released, revealing him to have been an experienced British intelligence officer. He was also a skilled linguist and an expert in firearms, and had a good deal of personal experience of wars and revolutions, such as those in Mexico and Morocco. Pollard listed his hobbies in Who's Who as ‘hunting and shooting’. He was a much-published expert on firearms, having written the ‘small arms’ section in the official War Office textbook. His history of the battle of Ypres is still in print today. Douglas Jerrold said of him that he "looked and behaved like a German Crown Prince and had a habit of letting off revolvers in any office he happened to visit".

1939 Dec. West Sussex police raided the Kent flat of Mrs Dacre-Fox, an 'active and industrious' fascist whom MI5 suspected of being the route through which money from Nazi Germany reached Sir Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists. During the search of her premises they discovered Pollard's name, and that of his daughter, in her address book. This evidence was enough to link Pollard to Mosley, MI5 were about to arrest Pollard, when they learnt that he was in fact a member of MI6.

1940 Jan 31. MI6 appointed Pollard head of its semi-autonomous 'Section D' in Madrid on 31 January 1940. Section D was officially a sub-division of MI6 with a remit to engage in clandestine sabotage across Europe: in office parlance 'D' stood for 'Destruction.

1940 Mar 1. Lieutenant. Capt. Hugh Bertie Campbell Pollard (43998), late Regular Army Reserve of Officers (Gen. List), to be Lt. (without pay-and allces.).

During May 1940 Section D had what is described in the Special Operations Executive (SOE) in-house history as, 'one small flirtation' with the idea of backing the monarchist (not republican) opposition in Spain as part of the British government's overarching strategy to keep the country out of the war. The plan was soon abandoned, however, once it was realized that it had absolutely no chance of success.

1940 Oct 21. Section D officially disbanded. Pollard was known as a 'dyed-in-the-wool' Franco supporter, and thus unlikely do anything to undermine the position of a man he so greatly admired. His superiors considered that whilst there were 'certain jobs' at which Pollard could 'do well' these skills were overshadowed by his reputation for being at best 'most indiscreet' and, when combined with money and drink, 'definitely unreliable.' His further involvement in the plan was therefore deemed 'fatal'. This appears to have been the start of Pollard's fall from grace. Before the year was out the question of his return and dismissal was tabled as a matter for 'urgent consideration. The same month Section D dispensed with Pollard's services, Winston Churchill ordered the formation of the Special Operations Executive (SOE), a clandestine organization that would 'set Europe ablaze' through covert action.

1942 Jun 25 . General List; Temporary Captain Intelligence Corps.

1966 Pollard died in Midhurst, Sussex in 1966. Mass was March 21

obituary HBC Pollard

British Intelligence at Dublin Castle