The British put espionage on a professional basis.

The British put espionage on a professional basis.British intelligence has made, of course, the most significant contribution to the popularization and glorification of the espionage craft, and according to the number of "legends" of espionage, probably no one can compare with it. It was during the First World Intelligence began to be considered the lot of gentlemen, heroes and intellectuals, which she owes primarily to people like Lawrence of Arabia or the writer Somerset Maugham, who later devoted a spy story cycle to his spy experience.


Despite the fact that Britain had a century of experience in intelligence activities, it was in the years preceding the First World War and some subsequent ones that the formation of its special services began in the form in which they exist to this day. However, British intelligence officers did not manage to record any outstanding victories, except for the creation of “legends”, during the First World War.

They achieved successes mostly either on the periphery or in such a boring and “unheroic” sphere as radio interception and decoding of radio messages and radio communications.

Officially, British intelligence was founded as a Secret Service Bureau. 26 August 1909 ode met at Scotland Yard between Sir Edward Henry, commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Major General Ewart, Lt. Col. Makdonohemom and Colonel Edmonds from the Ministry of War, with Captain Temple, representing Intelligence Navy, which ended with an agreement on how to establish The Secret Service Bureau with a unit of the Navy (led by Mansfield G. Smith Cumming) and the military department, which will be led by Captain Vernon G. Kell from the South Staffordshire Regiment. A copy of the meeting minutes in the 1 / 3 KV, and other correspondence in the FO 1093 and WO 106 / 6292 series, as well as a notice that Kell accepts this post, and a copy of his biography are contained in the 1 / 5 KV.

As indicated in a number of sources, Kell’s father was from Great Britain, and his mother was from Poland. He did intelligence work during the "Boxer Rebellion" and wrote the chronology of the Russo-Japanese War. He spoke French, German, Russian, Italian, and Chinese.

Cumming's professionalism is still a big mystery, although he was an expert in mechanics and technology, drove a car well, was a founding member of the Royal Aeroclub and became a pilot in 1913 year.

For several reasons, including personal contradictions, the Bureau quickly began to be divided into intelligence and counterintelligence. Kell was engaged in counterintelligence, and Smith Cumming (commonly known as Cumming or "C") - foreign intelligence. Melvidd and Dale Long were agents of Kell and engaged in suspicious foreigners in the UK. Kell established contact with the police chief, vital to his work, and slowly began to pick up personnel. His first clerk, Mr. Westmacott, was recruited in March 1910, and a year later his daughter began working with him. By the end of 1911, he hired three more officers and another detective. Cumming worked alone until Thomas Leykok was appointed his assistant in 1912.

Kell and Cumming never worked together, although it was understood that they would work together. Cumming lived in an apartment in Whitehall Court, used it to meet agents, and gradually it became his headquarters.

In 1919, the so-called Room 40 was merged with Military Intelligence, and for cover it was called the Government Codes and Ciphers School (GC&CS) under the direction of the Director of Naval Intelligence. The school had a legitimate public role: training military personnel and creating ciphers for the military and departments. Many of Room 40's employees have joined the Government School of Codes and Ciphers.

Under this cover, the Government School of Codes and Ciphers was engaged in intercepting and breaking ciphers, often with remarkable success. The first Russian codes were particularly vulnerable. Japanese Navy codes were cracked, as were many foreign diplomatic codes.

As a result of one significant mistake, the British could read Soviet ciphers introduced in the late 1920-s. The government school of codes and ciphers succeeded more in breaking the cipher of the Comintern. The material circulated under the code name "MASK" and appears in the reports KV 2 and Russian and British Communists.

In 1922, the Government School of Codes and Ciphers was attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and when Admiral Sinclair became the head of the SIS, he also became the director of the Government School of Codes and Ciphers. Both organizations worked in buildings on Broadway. The government school of codes and ciphers functioned effectively as part of the secret service, but because of its obvious role, there are different staffing schedules available in the FO 366 series and in future releases in the HW and FO 1093 series. This means that you can make a good picture of who they were and what they did, how the interception and decryption of radio and telegraph messages worked.


By the beginning of World War I, the British Empire occupied a dominant position on the planet: its territory, being three times the size of the French colonial empire and 10 times Germanic, occupied about a quarter of world land, and royal subjects - about 440 million people - were about the same a quarter of the population of the planet. Entering the war, which the American writer Kurt Vonnegut later called "the first unsuccessful attempt by mankind to commit suicide", Britain already had a developed network of agents on all continents and in all countries without exception. And although the creation of the actual Royal Security Service (Security Service), whose functions included intelligence and counterintelligence, dates only to the 1909 year, espionage was widely used in the interests of British monarchs in the Middle Ages.

Already during the reign of Henry VIII (XV – XVI centuries) in England there was a certain gradation of intelligence officers who worked directly under the leadership of the king. At that time, spies were already classified according to their specialization as residents, informants, killers and others. Nevertheless, the founder of British intelligence is considered to be the Minister of Queen Elizabeth I, a member of the Privy Council, Francis Walsingham, who by the end of the 16th century had an extensive intelligence network throughout Europe.

With the help of Walsingham and dozens of his spies, England, in the reign of Elizabeth, defeated Catholic Spain, finally breaking with papal Rome and establishing itself as the leading European power. The minister of Elizabeth is also considered the first organizer of the perusal service - intercepting postal correspondence and decrypting coded correspondence. John Thurlow, the head of the secret service under Oliver Cromwell, continued the work of Walsingham. For many years he successfully fought against the attempts to restore the Stuart monarchy and prevented dozens of attempts on the life of the Lord Protector.

“As a world power, Great Britain has long had to maintain extensive intelligence,” wrote in his book “Secret Forces. International espionage and the fight against it during the world war and now "the head of German intelligence in 1913 – 1919, Walter Nicolai, - she recognized her value and appreciated in the struggle for world domination."

By the end of the 19th century, specialized intelligence units were established in the British War Department and in the Admiralty. One of the ideologists of intelligence at that time was the hero of the Anglo-Boer War, the founder of the scout movement, Sir Robert Baden-Powell, who wrote several books on this subject, including the well-known Scouting for Boys. Baden-Powell in many ways broke the British tradition of considering intelligence and espionage to be a dirty and unsuitable business for a real gentleman, especially an officer.

In the first decade of the 20th century, the intelligence department of the military department of Britain, according to Nikolai, recalled, had the largest espionage bureau in Brussels under the command of Captain Randmarth von Var-Stard. This bureau had offices in Holland, mainly in Amsterdam, where most of the negotiations with the spies took place. In recruiting new agents, according to Nikolai, the British intelligence went so far that they tried to persuade even German officers to espionage overseas: “It was an extremely clever game of England, aimed at concealing its global espionage and distracting suspicion of Germany”.

“Agents of all major states, including England, traveled to different countries in search of information,” described Englishman James Morton in the book “Spies of the First World War” in Europe at the junction of the 19th and 20th centuries. - The British spied for the French, and later for the Germans, the Italians for the French, the French for the Italians and Germans, the Russians for the Germans and all others, if necessary. The Germans spied on everyone. Despite all his beautiful words and well-intentioned thoughts, politicians throughout Europe knew perfectly well the development of the political situation and were quite ready to use spies if necessary. ”

The cover for this bureau, on the basis of which MI5 (Security Service) and MI6 (Secret Intelligence Service) subsequently appeared, was a detective agency that was owned and operated by Edward Drew, a former Scotland Yard employee. The co-founders of the bureau were the captain of the South Staffordshire Regiment Vernon Kell and the captain of the Royal fleet George Mansfield Smith Cumming.


The main task of the new British intelligence service on the eve of the First World War was the fight against German spies - the actual espionage fever around agents of Berlin and became the basis for the birth of the bureau. As it turned out later, concerns about the scale of the activities of German agents in Britain were greatly exaggerated. So, 4 August 1914, the day Britain announced the war on Germany, the Ministry of the Interior said that the authorities had arrested the entire 21 German spy, despite the fact that by that time over 50 thousands of Kaiser nationals were living in Foggy Albion. But it was during the war years that the structure of MI5 and MI6 was formed, which later repeatedly demonstrated their effectiveness.

According to English publicist Phillip Knightley, who published the book “Spies of the 20th Century” in 1987, MI5 has grown from one room and two personnel in 1909 to 14 people in 1914 and to 700 by the end of the war in 1918. In many ways, this was facilitated by the organizational gift of Kell and Smith-Cumming.

Another area of ​​British intelligence activity in the prewar period was the study of the possibility of landing troops on the German or Danish coast. Captain Navy Bernard Trench and hydrograph Lieutenant Commander Vivian Brandon from the Admiralty, who were engaged in observations of the Kiel harbor, as well as lawyer-volunteers from the City of London Bertram Stewart named Martin - So, in 1910 and 1911 years Germans British agents were arrested interested in the state of affairs of the German fleet. All of them were released before the outbreak of war.

As in the pre-war years, the primary task of the British intelligence services was the capture of enemy, primarily German, spies in the kingdom. Between 1914 and 1918, 30 German agents were arrested in the UK in the UK, although in the first two weeks of the war, at the height of spying, Scotland Yard only in London received more 400 signals about the detection of enemy agents. 12 of them were shot, one committed suicide, the rest received various prison sentences.

The most famous German spy caught in the UK was Karl Hans Lodi. Subsequently, after the Nazis came to power, a squadron destroyer who fought with Soviet and British ships during the Second World War was even named in his honor.

The first mission of Lodi during the war years was related to the collection of data on the base of the British fleet located near Edinburgh. Lodi disguised as American Charles A. Inglis (the passport was stolen from a US citizen in Berlin), who was waiting for a steamer across the Atlantic, organized surveillance of British ships. He sent the collected information to a German resident in Stockholm, Adolf Burkhard. Based on the data obtained in Berlin decided to attack the base in Scotland with the help of submarines. 5 September 1914, the submarine U-20, sank the British cruiser Pathfinder and fired at the artillery cellars of the port of St Ebbs Head.

After that, Lodi's telegrams were intercepted by British counterintelligence. In late October, Lodi was arrested, and on November 2 the court sentenced him to death. The sentence was carried out the next day, and Lodi refused to plead guilty, stating that, being an officer in the German fleet, he only fought with the enemy on his own territory.

The rest of the German spies caught on the territory of the British metropolis, as Phillip Knightley writes, had little in common with real intelligence. For the most part these were adventurers, criminals, or vagrants. According to Vernon Kell, at the beginning of the First World War in Britain, there were six types of foreign agents:

- traveling (traveling) agent, working under the cover of a traveling salesman, traveler, yachtsman or journalist;

- a stationary agent, including waiters, photographers, foreign language teachers, hairdressers and pub owners;

- agents-treasurers who financed other agents;

- inspectors or principal residents;

- commercial agents;

- and finally the British traitors.


At the same time, due to the severe punishment for espionage, the cost of maintaining one agent in England for Germans was 3 times higher than, for example, in France. The average salary of a German agent in Britain at the beginning of World War I was from 10 to 25 pounds sterling per month, a year later it grew to 100 pounds, and in 1918 a year to 180 pounds. “As a rule, despite the fact that one of these spies could be potentially dangerous, their value for Germany was almost zero,” says Knightley. At the same time, as the former British intelligence officer Ferdinand Tohay writes in his book The Secret Corps, by the beginning of the war, Britain was spending thousands of pounds sterling on 50 secret service, and Germany more times in 12.


The British secret service penetrated deep into various structures in many countries around the world, and did not leave Russia aside. British intelligence officers carried out regular work to create a wide agent network and recruited agents in various circles of Russian society. Naturally, circles close to Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, other members of the imperial family, as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (for example, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Empire, Sazonov SD) were of the greatest interest to the British secret service. the Ministry, the General Staff of the army, the commanders of military districts and the highest officers of the army and navy of the country. The most valuable agents were acquired among the explicit and permanent supporters of Britain, among the employees of the Russian embassy in London, among former graduates of British universities (for example, F. Yusupov - a graduate of Oxford University), various colleges and trading companies and representatives of large-scale industry who maintained constant contact with England .

British agents worked to study and control the overall domestic political situation, including controlling the growth of the revolutionary sentiments of the masses in major Russian cities, as well as creating a revolutionary situation in Russia, with the task of not allowing Russia to withdraw from the war and make a separate peace with warring party.

Each of the countries entering the war has set itself specific tasks and changes in its territorial possessions at the expense of the enemy’s territory. Thus, one of the aggressive tasks of Russia in Europe was the acquisition of a pouring zone. Our allies, the British, proceeded from the fact that if the Entente were victorious, Russia would have Turkish straits. But during the 200 years, England blocked all our attempts to enter the expanse of the Mediterranean through the narrow traffic jam of the Bosporus and the Dardanelles. The British believed that it was impossible to give the straits to the Russians. But if a revolution happens in Russia or it loses the war, then the straits will not be given back.

England before entering the First World War was considered the largest maritime power and during the war sought to get rid of all competitors in each maritime theater of war. As one example of the vigorous activity of the British intelligence to undermine the combat power of its potential competitors, the death of the Emperor Maria, one of the largest battleships of the Imperial Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol on October 7, can be considered. After the ship was destroyed during the war itself and immediately after it ended, and it grew into a civil war in Russia, it was not possible to conduct a comprehensive investigation of the ship’s death. Only in Soviet times about the death of the ship were formulated two versions. One of these versions was highlighted in the Soviet feature film "Dirk". In the film, the cause of the death of the most powerful battleship was simple human greed. But life is not a movie. To whom was the death of the most powerful battleship on the Black Sea profitable? Given the war with Germany, the sabotage and death of the battleship was beneficial to Germany. This is unconditional. However, over time, information came up that seriously washed the German mark on the death of the battleship.

To understand a bit of the background of that time, we need to remember about the failed attempt by the British to seize the Black Sea straits in the 1915 year. The Dardanelles operation failed. In the meantime, the Russian Black Sea Fleet gained momentum and was a dozen times superior to what the Turks and Germans could oppose. The appearance of the strongest battleship finally approved Russia on the Black Sea.

In 1915, the Black Sea Fleet strengthened its superiority over the enemy and almost completely controlled the sea. Three brigades of battleships were formed, destroyer forces were active, submarine forces and naval forces were increasing their combat power aviation. Conditions were created for the Bosphorus operation. The mistress of the seas of Great Britain, which for centuries did not allow Russia to enter the Mediterranean Sea, jealously looked at Russia's preparations. England could not allow Russia to “beat the shield on the gates” of Constantinople (then Constantinople, or Istanbul) once again.


The night before the death of the giant, the commander Voronov was on duty at the main armory ship tower. His responsibilities included inspecting and measuring the temperature of the artillery cellar. This morning, captain of the 2nd rank Gorodysky also carried combat duty on the ship. At dawn, Gorodysky ordered Commander Voronov to measure the temperature in the cellar of the main tower. Voronov went down to the cellar and no one else saw him. And after a while the first explosion thundered. Voronov’s body was never found among the bodies of the dead. The commission had suspicions about him, but there was no evidence, and he was reported missing.

But recently there was new information. English writer Robert Merid, who for a considerable time was engaged in the mysterious death of the battleship, launched his own investigation. From it you can learn very interesting and shameful information for the "ally" of the Russian Empire. Robert Merid dug up history Lieutenant Maritime British Intelligence John Heaviland. A British naval intelligence lieutenant was serving in Russia from 1914 to 1916 a year, a week after the explosion, he left Russia and arrived in England as a lieutenant colonel. After the end of the war, he retired and left the country. After some time, he appeared in Canada, bought an estate, began to equip it, lived the ordinary life of a rich gentleman. And in 1929, he died under strange circumstances: a fire broke out in a hotel where he spent the night, everyone was saved, including a woman with a small child and a paralyzed old man in a wheelchair, and the combat officer could not escape from 2.

This begs the question: to whom did the colonel interfere in the deep periphery of world processes, being retired? Photo archives research has led to unexpected results - the lieutenant colonel of English intelligence, John Haviland and the battleship of the “Empress Maria” battleship Ravens, the same person. The same Ravens, disappeared 7 October 1916, at the time of the explosion of the battleship "Empress Maria".

So the version of the explosion, voiced in literature and cinema, is not so far from the truth. Here are just the motives that motivated the destruction of the battleship, different and not immediately visible. It is also interesting that some Russian immigrants, including the former electrician of the “Empress Maria” battleship Ivan Nazarin, attempted on John Heviland shortly before his death. Maybe they also went out on his trail and tried to somehow avenge their ship !?

The greatest resonance in the Russian Empire, in the world and in the life of the Russian monarchy was the deliberate murder of Gregory Rasputin. In this case, we will once again be able to see how it was important for British intelligence to destroy Rasputin and thereby force Russia to continue the war on the Eastern Front of the First World War. Huge books have been written about the murder of this man, and feature films have been made; there is a mass of newsreels and short films. This terrorist act should be viewed as a deliberate act of British intelligence and the British government as a whole against the royal family and the possible likelihood of Russia leaving the war on the Eastern Front of the First World War.

In anticipation of the collapse of Germany and the world following this redistribution, Russia, as a participant and winner in the war, would have to receive the dividends it had agreed on beforehand. Do not think that the strengthening of Russia is very happy with the "allies." The events of 1917 in Russia strongly resemble the scenario of modern color revolutions.
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  1. +1
    October 1 2016
    It turns out that the Englishwoman is not only crap, but also sniffs and steals everything!
    1. 0
      October 1 2016
      Learn student!
  2. +3
    October 1 2016
    Read the book “Five Centuries of Secret War”, Chernyak Yefim. There is a lot of interesting written!
    1. +7
      March 17 2017
      Can I download online?
  3. +2
    October 1 2016
    England could not allow Russia once again to “nail the shield onto the gates” of Constantinople (then Constantinople, or Istanbul)
    ... That would not be ashamed of unfulfilled promises .. before Nicholas II .. there was an agreement on the transfer of the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus to Russia .. arranged a coup in February 1917 ..
  4. PKK
    October 1 2016
    Let's not forget that British intelligence in 1917, worked actively in St. Petersburg and not only, in the collapse of Russia, brought Lenin to power.
    1. 0
      October 9 2016
      A. I. Denikin in his "Sketches of Russian Troubles" asserts that Lenin and K. are German agents of influence. ”So SiS and German intelligence acted together?
  5. 0
    October 1 2016
    The role of intelligence is difficult to overestimate or underestimate. She is great. And what England did in her own interests ... One can still recall how Paul (killed by an apoplexy blow of God’s will .. like his father) was killed and a sharp turn towards England.
    And such success as the participation of the Republic of Ingushetia in a disadvantageous war, and even relatives on both thrones .. And a little something was wrong in 1905 against the Republic of Ingushetia.
    What can I say, the interests of England ...
  6. avt
    October 1 2016
    Quote: PKK
    Let's not forget that British intelligence in 1917, worked actively in St. Petersburg and not only, in the collapse of Russia, brought Lenin to power.

    Rather Trotsky. They financed it through the uncle of the banker Abram Zhivotovsky, and Lenin did the Gesheft and Gelfeft more with Gelfand / Parvus. But in fact, both of them came up - the revolutionaries have their own morality and their ideals, and whoever has the means to take to implement them is deep in the phallus.
    1. +2
      October 1 2016
      Quote: avt
      Lenin more with Gelfand / Parvus gesheft did and tables at the Germans.

      There are no historically determined documents on this topic -NO. Gossip is many. Facts-NO.
      Why duplicate gossip?
      After the split of the Russian workers' party, a polemic relationship arose between Parvus and Lenin. Opponents of the Bolshevik leader used Parvus and his sharp pen for their attacks. Potresov writes in a letter to Axelrod: "Set Parvus on Lenin in order to destroy him." In his “Answer to Lenin: How We Differ from Each Other”, Parvus accuses Lenin of wanting to “patronize the proletariat with a party charter, instead of making the masses think and act independently.”
      Trotsky was between the fronts of the Mensheviks and Bolsheviks. Naturally, after that he rushed closer to the theorist, who remained for him the only standard. About how he then accepted Parvus, he later wrote in his autobiographical notes:

      “Parvus was an outstanding personality among Marxists, perfectly mastered the Marxist methodology, possessed insight, was aware of the most important events taking place on the world stage; all this, together with boldness of thinking and a masculine style, made him an outstanding publicist. His works clarified the issues of the social revolution to me and brought the proletariat’s seizure of power closer from the astronomical ultimate goal to the practical task of our time. ”

      When Parvus wrote these lines, he had already found a worthy replacement for Lenin in his intellectual and editorial environment: Leo Trotsky, nee Lev Davidovich Bronstein. The revolutionary was 12 years younger than Parvus, well-read and distinguished by an even more aggressive temperament and sharp tongue than him. Like Parvus, he was misled in 1904 by the congress of the RSDLP, which scandal was reflected in the pages of the Iskra, and came from London to Parvus in Munich. However, a pale intelligent young man with rimless glasses and luxurious hair, only twenty-five years old, had even more similarities with his master than revolutionary goals and their theoretical basis. They were also united by a certain similarity in biographies. Leo Trotsky (Lev Davidovich Bronstein) was born in 1879 in the family of a wealthy Jewish landowner in the Kherson province in southern Ukraine. Already at the age of nine, he came to Odessa, where he lived with his relative, a liberal Jewish publisher.
      And this, let’s say the reference from that era to this, is how the heirs of Trotsky work
      1. avt
        October 1 2016
        Quote: The Bloodthirster
        There are no historically determined documents on this topic -NO. Gossip is many. Facts-NO.

        Yes, there is nothing, and there was not, neither Krasin, nor Gelfand / Parvus himself, and he then bought himself an island in Germany for savings and royalties from
        Quote: The Bloodthirster
        “Parvus was an outstanding personality among Marxists, perfectly mastered the Marxist methodology, possessed insight, was aware of the most important events taking place on the world stage; all this, together with boldness of thinking and a masculine style, made him an outstanding publicist. His works clarified the issues of the social revolution to me and brought the proletariat’s seizure of power closer from the astronomical ultimate goal to the practical task of our time. ”

        However, Vova did not write to him "about the fact that the revolution must be done with clean hands" when asked to introduce him to the Council of People's Commissars, and in general they did not know each other wassat And of course, with Parvus’s money, not uncle’s
        Quote: The Bloodthirster
        pale intelligent young man with rimless glasses and luxurious hair,

        Trotsky really ignited in America. bully What can you say here? Well, just like in the song - "This faith, I - I cut me on a dark night ..." bully
        1. +1
          October 1 2016
          Quote: avt
          Trotsky really ignited in America. What can you say here? Well, just like in the song - "This faith, I - I cut me on a dark night ..."

          Yes. And it’s understandable why he lived so widely. His relatives in the person of SCIFS did not help much.
          Quote: avt
          However, Vova did not write to him "about the fact that the revolution must be done with clean hands" when asked to introduce him to the Council of People's Commissars, but in general they did not know each other.

          This is about nothing. So a turbulent torrent of emptiness, not based on anything other than your fallacies.
          Quote: avt
          Yes, there is nothing, and there was not, neither Krasin, nor Gelfand / Parvus himself, and he then bought himself an island in Germany for savings and royalties from

          Krasin was so what?
          Parvus was already rich, learn history.
          The Germans gave Parvus a complete favor. He received a German passport, followed by 2 million marks "to support Russian revolutionary propaganda." [260] This was just the beginning ...

          In May 1915, in Zurich, Parvus met with Lenin, who listened attentively to his proposals without giving him a definite answer. [261] GM Katkov, not without reason, asserts that "the collusion did not happen." [262] Although the content of the conversation with Lenin remained a mystery, Parvus nevertheless informed the Germans that "he did not come to an agreement with Lenin and decided to carry out his plan of revolution in Russia on his own." [263] Katkov correctly notes that Lenin's defeatism was fundamentally different from Parvus's plan for the destruction of Russia. [264]

          Lenin probably sensed who he was dealing with now in the person of Parvus. Therefore, later on he treated the "merchant of the revolution" coldly and with hostility, kept him at a distance. It is known that after the overthrow of the Provisional Government, Parvus, through Radek, asked Lenin to allow him to return to Russia. Lenin responded by saying: "The cause of the revolution must not be tarnished with dirty hands." [265]

          Lenin finally and forever parted with Parvus during the First World War. In his article “At the last line,” he wrote: “Parvus, who had shown himself to be an adventurer already in the Russian revolution, has now sunk to… the last line in his magazine Die Glocke (The Bell). He defends the German opportunists with an incredibly arrogant and self-satisfied He burned everything he worshiped, he “forgot” about the struggle between the revolutionary and opportunist trends and their history in international social democracy.

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