A British ballet dancer who performed in Spain during WWI was a spy who gave classified information to the Germans, a new book says.
Elizabeth Bedlington is alleged to have delivered secret documents to German forces as she travelled across Spain performing under the name La Titanesca.
Spanish historian Fernando García Sanz tells in his new book how Bedlington turned traitor after being recruited by her Austro-Hungarian husband Gunter Hopf.
Allied forces identified Bedlington as a ‘mule’ but she managed to escape arrest, and remained in Spain until her death, according to a report in the Times newspaper.
The new book says that the Italian secret service identified her as a spy and she was barred from travelling to the country.
Bedlington, who was originally from London, is described as a Mata Hari-type figure, referring to the Dutch courtesan who was executed by French troops for spying for the Germans.
Bedlington reportedly stole documents from the UK Ambassador to Spain before handing them over to the Germans in 1917.
Referring to Spain’s role in the war, García Sanz, described the country as a spying ground for both sides.
He told Spanish daily El País: ‘Mata Hari was no-one compared to other female spies who were so good that even to this day they haven’t been identified’.
García Sanz’s book, entitled España en la Gran Guerra (Spain in the Great War), is due out next week and tells of numerous female spies working for the Germans.
They include Pilar Millán Astray, the sister of the founder of Spain’s military Legion, who went on to become a famous Spanish novelist.