Chocolates no one would refuse…
The finest Swiss chocolates don’t need advertising. However, the box of chocolates a certain Meynell brought back to Britain with him is certainly worth a mention. Not because of their delicious taste but because of what was inside: instead of the usual crème and liquor, one would find diamonds and pearls worth a fortune.
A newly-declassified top secret MI5 file on Francis Meynell reveals how in 1920 he smuggled gems looted from the Romanovs (worth £40,000 at the time) to England, hidden in hollowed-out chocolate creams. The pearls and diamonds were given to Meynell by Lenin’s Soviet regime to fund the revolutionary communist newspaper Daily Herald, of which Meynell was a director at the time. The secret file describes Meynell as an “ardent Sinn Feiner and an extreme socialist… his greatest coup came just as the Soviet Union began funding communist parties around the world.”
Meynell’s own account of how the jewels were smuggled is also included in the file. According to his testimony, “I … bought a box of chocolate creams. Into the bottom of many of those I pushed a pearl or a diamond and re-covered them with their silver paper…”
And there is potentially even more excitement on the Romanov riches front: deep-sea apparatuses found remnants of Russian Civil War train wagons in the Lake Baikal, approximately at the same place where the wagons with Kolchak gold were presumed to be. The contents of the wagons are still unknown, so it is impossible to verify as of now whether they contain the gold or not: the depth of the lake and the large perimeter the debris are scattered across make research works extremely difficult.
The gold in question is approximately the 35 tons of gold from Russian Gold Reserve that vanished during the Civil War. Although most of the Gold Reserve Admiral Kolchak was in charge of can be accounted for, 35 tons of gold vanished during transportation: it was long assumed the train that carried the gold crashed into Lake Baikal. The latest finding seems to support the theory, although of course it will be impossible to say anything with certainty until the wagons are opened and the debris examined.
To learn more of Romanov Jewels, visit this thread.Filed under Russian Royals
Tagged England, Jewellery, Russian Civil War, USSR.