It’s not a combination you would usually put together, but Elizabeth Bedlington, a British ballet dancer who performed in neutral Spain during the First World War, was also a spy for the Germans. She is said to have delivered secret documents to the German authorities whilst performing across Spain under the name La Titanesca. Born in London, she became a traitor to the Allies after being recruited by her Austro-Hungarian husband Gunter Hopf.
Bedlington reportedly stole documents from the UK ambassador to Spain and handed them over to the Germans in 1917. Later ‘outed’ as a mule, she evaded arrest and lived out the rest of her days in Spain. She has been compared to Mata Hari, a Dutch courtesan who was executed by French troops for feeding information to the Germans.
Her story is being told for the first time in a book by García Sanz, in España en la Gran Guerra (Spain in the Great War), which is released next week and tells the stories of numerous female spies working for the Germans.