F. J. Rutland

Given NameF. J.
CountryUnited Kingdom


ww2dbaseF. J. Rutland entered the Royal Navy in 1902, and then transferred to the newly created Royal Air Force in 1918. During WW1, he participated in the Battle of Jutland as a seaplane pilot of seaplane carrier HMS Engadine and earned the name "Rutland of Jutland". He received several awards for his service during the war, including the Albert Medal 1st Class and the Distinguished Service Cross twice.

ww2dbaseIn 1922, Rutland served aboard the carrier HMS Eagle. During the same year, he was approached by the Japanese Navy covertly. The Japanese asked him to provide advice to the Japanese Navy's fledgling carrier program, and Rutland accepted the offer without informing his superiors. In British counter-intelligence agency MI5 began learning of this relationship in Dec 1922 but did not yet act upon the information. In the summer of 1923, he resigned from the RAF, and it was accepted by the Air Ministry in Oct with input from MI5. He moved to France after resignation, and then in the summer of 1924 moved to Kamakura, Japan and became an employee of Mitsubishi Shipbuilder at Yokosuka, Japan.

ww2dbaseIn Nov 1932, Lieutenant Commander Takasu approached Rutland to recruit him as an intelligence agent, which Rutland accepted; Rutland offered himself to collect intelligence in the United Kingdom, but was rejected, and the Japanese Navy sent him to the United States instead. He was given a reward of £2,000 and additional funding for activities in the United States. At this point, MI5 was still tracking the movement and other activities of Rutland. His job in the United States was to create a foundation for future Japanese intelligence efforts. To achieve that goal, he was to create dummy companies for the purpose of receiving agents and providing them cover professions, to create connections in the United States, and to establish means of communications with Japan; he was instructed only to provide intelligence on the United States only after a war had broken out between the two countries. In Aug 1933, he moved to the United States, traveled by train from the east coast to the west coast, and then visited Japan to meet with Japanese intelligence officers. In Feb 1934, he returned to the United States with the false name of Manley Rutland and found the stock trading firm Rutland Edwards and Company in Los Angeles, California, United States and the manufacturing firm Security Aircraft Company (later renamed Japan Aircraft Company) in Santa Monica, California (on the site of the Douglas Aircraft Company). Through the two dummy companies, he received Japanese Navy intelligence agents under the guise of employment. He lived as a single British billionaire in a mansion in Beverly Hills, mingling with executives and other influential people in country clubs and parties. By this time, the American internal intelligence agency Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) started to keep a file on him for suspicious activities. He frequented ports on the west coast of the United States and photographed battleships on film under the cover of his hobby with 16-millimeter filming. He often visited a photography shop, creating the appearance to purchase films but in actuality using the shop to smuggle films of warships to Japan. Around 1935, Rutland was assigned the code name Shinkawa (New River). Also in 1935, he found the Marston Barrs import firm in London for the purpose of receiving contacts and funds from Japan, and that firm was immediately found by MI5, and all correspondences from Marston Barrs were opened by British security services, copied, and then re-sealed and placed back into the mailing process. In May 1935, he sent a personal opinion to Japan noting that many Americans consider war with Japan in the future was inevitable, thus any war plans by Japan should be put off for a few years because the United States was seemingly ready; given he was the only foreign spy in the Japanese Navy, although regarded only as a personal opinion, it was considered seriously in the Japanese Navy intelligence leadership. In Dec 1937, he visited Shanghai, China and made contact with the Japanese Army. In Aug 1938, he visited Japan and received £4,000 and received information about a new code possibly to be used in the future should war begin. In 1939, he purchased several mines in Colorado and Arizona in the United States. He also visited locations near the US-Mexico border, possibly attempting to start building intelligence networks in Mexico and creating safe havens for spies on the west coast of Mexico.

ww2dbaseIn Jun 1941, a Japanese spy by the name of Tachibana was arrested by the FBI, and Rutland felt he was in danger. He asked the US authorities for protection, which was rejected. British intelligence agency MI6 suggested that arresting Rutland, which was MI5's intention at this time, might create a scandal due to his status as an ex-RAF officer. As a result, MI5 suggested protection to Rutland, which he agreed readily, and was repatriated back to Britain in Oct 1941. He never admitted to being a Japanese agent; when questioned, he created a story which had him playing the role of a spy work for the Americans, infiltrating the Japanese Navy under the guise of an advisor for the Japanese carrier program. He also offered to become a spy for MI5. His cover stories did not hold based on what MI5 had already known about him, but MI5 did not pursue any action against Rutland until the Pacific War began. He was charged as a Japanese collaborator and imprisoned at Brixton Prison in London until early 1944.

ww2dbaseRutland committed suicide a few years after the war.

ww2dbaseSource: Japanese Intelligence in World War II.

Last Major Revision: Aug 2009

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