British Agents

British Agents

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  • Jack Agazarian
  • Gilbert Norman
  • Vera Atkins
  • Harry Peulevé
  • Nicholas Bodington
  • Eliane Plewman
  • Maurice Buckmaster
  • Harry Rée
  • Francis Cammaerts
  • Lilian Rolfe
  • Peter Churchill
  • Diana Rowden
  • M.R.D. Foot
  • Odette Sansom
  • Victor Gerson
  • George Starr
  • Christine Granville
  • Brian Stonehouse
  • Colin Gubbins
  • William Stephenson
  • Virginia Hall
  • Francis Suttill
  • Noor Inayat Khan
  • Violette Szabo
  • Patrick Howarth
  • Michael Trotobas
  • Cecily Lefort
  • Edward Yeo-Thomas
  • Vera Leigh
  • Nancy Wake
  • Leo Marks
  • Pearl Witherington

The secret persuaders

"British Security Coordination". The phrase is bland, almost defiantly ordinary, depicting perhaps some sub-committee of a minor department in a lowly Whitehall ministry. In fact BSC, as it was generally known, represented one of the largest covert operations in British spying history a covert operation, moreover, that was run not in Occupied France, nor in the Soviet Union during the cold war, but in the US, our putative ally, during 1940 and 1941, before Pearl Harbor and the US's eventual participation in the war in Europe against Nazi Germany.

When Winston Churchill became prime minister in May 1940, he realised immediately - if he had not realised before - that he had to achieve one thing in order to ensure that Britain was not defeated by Hitler's Germany: he had to enlist the US as Britain's ally. With the US alongside Britain, Hitler would be defeated - eventually. Without the US (Russia was neutral at the time), the future looked unbearably bleak. Roosevelt, as president, was predisposed to help - after a fashion and for cash on delivery - but the situation in America was overwhelmingly isolationist. One easily forgets this, in the era of our much-vaunted, so-called "special relationship", but at the nadir of Britain's fortunes, polls in the US still showed that 80% of Americans were against joining the war in Europe. Anglophobia was widespread and the US Congress was violently opposed to any form of intervention.

After the fall of France in June 1940, Britain's position became even weaker - it was assumed that British capitulation was simply a matter of time why join the side of a doomed loser, ran the argument in the US. Roosevelt's hands were therefore firmly tied. Much as he might have liked to help Britain (and this, I feel, is a moot point: just how enthusiastic was FDR himself?) he dared not risk alienating Congress - and he had a presidential election looming that he did not want to lose. To go to the country on a "Join the war in Europe" ticket would have been electoral suicide. He had to be very pragmatic indeed - and there was no greater pragmatist than FDR.

All the same, Churchill's task, as he himself saw it, was clear: somehow, in some way, the great mass of the population of the US had to be persuaded that it was in their interests to join the war in Europe, that to sit on the sidelines was in some way un-American. And so British Security Coordination came into being.

BSC was set up by a Canadian entrepreneur called William Stephenson, working on behalf of the British Secret Intelligence Services (SIS). An office was opened in the Rockefeller Centre in Manhattan with the discreet compliance of Roosevelt and J Edgar Hoover of the FBI. But nobody on the American side of the fence knew what BSC's full agenda was nor, indeed, what would be the massive scale of its operations. What eventually occurred as 1940 became 1941 was that BSC became a huge secret agency of nationwide news manipulation and black propaganda. Pro-British and anti-German stories were planted in American newspapers and broadcast on American radio stations, and simultaneously a campaign of harassment and denigration was set in motion against those organisations perceived to be pro-Nazi or virulently isolationist (such as the notoriously anti-British America First Committee - it had more than a million paid-up members).

Stephenson called his methods "political warfare", but the remarkable fact about BSC was that no one had ever tried to achieve such a level of "spin", as we would call it today, on such a vast and pervasive scale in another country. The aim was to change the minds of an entire population: to make the people of America think that joining the war in Europe was a "good thing" and thereby free Roosevelt to act without fear of censure from Congress or at the polls in an election.

BSC's media reach was extensive: it included such eminent American columnists as Walter Winchell and Drew Pearson, and influenced coverage in newspapers such as the Herald Tribune, the New York Post and the Baltimore Sun. BSC effectively ran its own radio station, WRUL, and a press agency, the Overseas News Agency (ONA), feeding stories to the media as they required from foreign datelines to disguise their provenance. WRUL would broadcast a story from ONA and it thus became a US "source" suitable for further dissemination, even though it had arrived there via BSC agents. It would then be legitimately picked up by other radio stations and newspapers, and relayed to listeners and readers as fact. The story would spread exponentially and nobody suspected this was all emanating from three floors of the Rockefeller Centre. BSC took enormous pains to ensure its propaganda was circulated and consumed as bona fide news reporting. To this degree its operations were 100% successful: they were never rumbled.

Nobody really knows how many people ended up working for BSC - as agents or sub-agents or sub-sub-agents - although I have seen the figure mentioned of up to 3,000. Certainly at the height of its operations in late 1941 there were many hundreds of agents and many hundreds of fellow travellers (enough finally to stir the suspicions of Hoover, for one). Three thousand British agents spreading propaganda and mayhem in a staunchly anti-war America. It almost defies belief. Try to imagine a CIA office in Oxford Street with 3,000 US operatives working in a similar way. The idea would be incredible - but it was happening in America in 1940 and 1941, and the organisation grew and grew.

From a novelist's point of view, to discover such a forgotten corner of 20th-century history is a wonderful and unique gift. I had long wanted to write a novel about a spy, a woman spy in fact, but to have her spying in America - rather than in Russia or Germany or Occupied France - seemed an irresistible bonus. The more I investigated BSC's activities, the more intrigued I became. Some of BSC's schemes verged on the absurd some were highly sophisticated media manipulation.

BSC invented a game called "Vik", described as "a fascinating new pastime for lovers of democracy". Printed booklets described up to 500 ways of harassing and annoying Nazi sympathisers. Players of Vik were encouraged to ring up their targets at all hours of the night and hang up. Dead rats could be put in water tanks, air could be let out of the subject's car tyres, anonymous deliveries could be made to his house and so on. In the summer of 1941, BSC sent a sham Hungarian astrologer to the US called Louis de Wohl. At a press conference De Wohl said he had been studying Hitler's astrological chart and could see nothing but disaster ahead for the German dictator. De Wohl became a minor celebrity and went on tour through the US, issuing similar dire prognostications about Hitler and his allies. De Wohl's wholly bogus predictions were widely published.

However, one of BSC's most successful operations originated in South America and illustrates the clandestine ability it had to influence even the most powerful. The aim was to suggest that Hitler's ambitions extended across the Atlantic. In October 1941, a map was stolen from a German courier's bag in Buenos Aires. The map purported to show a South America divided into five new states - Gaus, each with their own Gauleiter - one of which, Neuspanien, included Panama and "America's lifeline" the Panama Canal. In addition, the map detailed Lufthansa routes from Europe to and across South America, extending into Panama and Mexico. The inference was obvious: watch out, America, Hitler will be at your southern border soon. The map was taken as entirely credible and Roosevelt even cited it in a powerful pro-war, anti-Nazi speech on October 27 1941: "This map makes clear the Nazi design," Roosevelt declaimed, "not only against South America but against the United States as well."

The news of the map caused a tremendous stir: as a piece of anti-Nazi propaganda it could not be bettered. But was the South America map genuine? My own hunch is that it was a British forgery (BSC had a superb document forging facility across the border in Canada). The story of its provenance is just too pat to be wholly believable. Allegedly, only two of these maps were made one was in Hitler's keeping, the other with the German ambassador in Buenos Aires. So how come a German courier, who was involved in a car crash in Buenos Aires, happened to have a copy on him? Conveniently, this courier was being followed by a British agent who in the confusion of the incident somehow managed to snaffle the map from his bag and it duly made its way to Washington.

The story of the South America map and the other BSC schemes was written up (in an extensive document of some hundreds of pages) after the war for private circulation by three former members of BSC (one of them Roald Dahl, interestingly enough). This secret history was a form of present for William Stephenson and a selected few others it was available only in typescript and only 10 typescripts ever existed. Churchill had one, Stephenson had one and others were given to a few high officials in the SIS but they were regarded as top secret.

When Stephenson's highly colourful and vividly inaccurate biography was written (A Man Called Intrepid, 1976), the BSC typescript was drawn on by its author, but very selectively - in order to spare American blushes. The story of BSC seemed to be one of those wartime secrets that was never to be wholly revealed, like Bletchley Park and the Enigma machine decryptions. But the Enigma story was eventually made public and has been written about endlessly since the mid-1970s, fostering films, TV plays and novels in the wake of the revelations. But somehow BSC and the role of British agents in the US before Pearl Harbor has remained almost wholly undisclosed - one wonders why.

In 1998 the BSC typescript (one of only two remaining) was eventually published. To say it fell stillborn from the press would be an understatement. Yet here is a book of some 500 pages, written just after the war by former BSC agents, telling the whole story of Britain's US infiltration in great detail, recounting all the dirty tricks and the copious and widespread news manipulation that went on. I think it's fair to say that historians of the British Secret Services know about BSC and its operations, yet in the wider world it still remains virtually unheard of.

The reason is the story of BSC and its operations before Pearl Harbor is deeply embarrassing and remains so to this day. The document is explicit and condescending about American gullibility: "The simple truth is the United States is inhabited by people of many conflicting races, interests and creeds. These people, though fully conscious of their wealth and power in the aggregate, are still unsure of themselves individually, still basically on the defensive." BSC set out to manipulate "these people" and was very successful at so doing - hardly the kind of attitude countries involved in a "special relationship" should display. But that relationship is a Churchillian myth, invented and fostered by him after the war, and has been bought into wholesale by every subsequent British prime minister (with the possible exception of Harold Wilson).

As the secret history of the BSC unequivocally shows, sovereign states act exclusively to serve their own interests. A commentator in the Washington Post who read the BSC history remarked, "Like many intelligence operations, this one involved exquisite moral ambiguity. The British used ruthless methods to achieve their goals by today's peacetime standards, some of the activities may seem outrageous. Yet they were done in the cause of Britain's war against the Nazis - and by pushing America towards intervention, the British spies helped win the war." Would BSC's activities eventually have encouraged the US to join the war in Europe? It remains one of the great "what ifs" of historical speculation. The tide of US public opinion seemed to be turning towards the end of 1941 - though isolationist sentiments remained very strong - and BSC's propaganda and relentless news manipulation deserved much of the credit for that change but, in the event, matters were taken out of BSC's hands. On the morning of Sunday, December 7 1941 the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor - the "day of infamy" had dawned and the question of American neutrality was gone for ever.

· William Boyd's novel, Restless, is published by Bloomsbury on September 4, priced £17.99.

Agents were Outstanding People

These and other similarly exacting tasks were not for ordinary people. Secret agents were an élite group capable of fulfilling some of the most stringent criteria ever required for service in times of war.

The SOE and its American equivalent, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), were looking for individuals of unusual enterprise and toughness. Nerves, presence of mind, and alertness had to be of the highest order, for basically what was asked of agents was to set aside civilized instincts and even their own natural urge for survival.

Krystyna Skarbek (Christine Granville)

Agents would have to cheat, lie, kill silently, perform acts of sabotage, use guns and explosives, keep their secrets when under torture, and face the very likely chance of an early, violent death.

Amy Thorpe, an American who worked for both the SOE and the OSS, aptly described an agent’s life when she wrote: ‘Life is but a stage on which to play. One’s role is to pretend and always to hide one’s true feelings.’

SOE group in demolition class, Milton Hall, circa 1944.


In modern society, it is easy to forget where many of our freedoms come from. It is also dangerous to turn a blind eye to history. Civilizations, military commanders, and leaders of nations have ignored history with devastating results.

Because the 4th Amendment is so vitally important to America, it deserves a look into the history behind its inception into the Constitution. The 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution was added as part of the Bill of Rights on December 15, 1791. It deals with protecting people from the searching of their homes and private property without properly executed search warrants. The 4th Amendment specifically provides:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The Founders believed that freedom from government intrusion into one’s home was a natural right (one granted from God) and fundamental to liberty. The idea that citizens should be protected from unreasonable searches and seizures goes back far into English history. In 1604, Sir Edward Coke first identified this right. He said that “The house of every one is to him as his castle and fortress, as well for his defence against injury and violence as for his repose.”

During the Colonial era, the King of England looked at the American colonies as simply a financial investment. Britain passed numerous revenue collection bills aimed at generating as much money from the colonists as possible. Obviously, the colonists resented this act by the King and began smuggling operations in order to circumvent the custom taxes imposed by the British Crown.

In response, King George began the use of the conveniently worded “writs of assistance.” These were legal search warrants that were extremely broad and general in scope. British agents could obtain a writ of assistance to search any property they believed might contain contraband goods. They could actually enter someone’s property or home with no notice and without any reason. Agents could interrogate anyone about their use of customed goods and force cooperation of any person. These types of searches and seizures became an egregious affront to the people of the colonies.

These actions by the British Crown would be one the precipitating factors leading to the American Revolution and the eventual forming of our Constitution.

When the 4th Amendment became part of the Constitution, it was originally only applied to the federal government. Later, it was applied to the states through the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.

Of course, there are many common sense exceptions to the 4th Amendment right to have a properly executed search warrant issued before a search or seizure of private property can be conducted. They are too numerous to list in this column. However, two common examples are (1) a police officer may conduct a pat down search of someone if he or she has observed someone engaging in behavior that would give the officer reasonable, articulable suspicion that a crime has or is being committed and (2) if a police officer sees someone committing a crime, or believes that he or she has probable cause to suspect someone has committed a crime, the officer may arrest the suspect without a warrant.

Looking back at the reasoning behind liberties in cultures helps to preserve freedoms. It is only when we become disinterested or even indifferent to our Founders that we take a dangerous path toward civilizational decline. We cannot forget why Americans enjoy legal rights like the 4th Amendment.

History of the Travel Agent Industry

The travel agent industry has been quite varied, and has changed considerably over the years. It’s very interesting to see how travel agencies have evolved over the years - with the very first modern travel agency appearing in the 19th century. This may seem to be a long time ago, but it actually isn’t. Most people forget the travel agent industry is still relatively new and modern, despite starting back in the 1900’s.

The industry keeps moving forward and has never looked back, while evolving, expanding and showcasing more than many other industries.

Thomas Cook, a Founding Father

There may be a string of agencies called Thomas Cook but it’s because the man, Cook, was the first to create a travel agency. This was a huge development and milestone for travel and Cook, who was also the first man to establish a package tour holiday. From the 19th century, Thomas Cook agencies have been popular and more and more agencies have been popping up all across the globe.

Not only was Thomas Cook one of the biggest travel agencies in the world, they were also the first British one too. However, he did offer affordable packages from a variety of holidays, from local British holidays through to more modern continental holidays.

Advancing Through Time

It was more so during the 1920’s when the travel agent industry become vastly popular. The reason why, was simply because aviation become available to the public and that really helped boost travelling. Of course, for the most part in the beginning, travel agents were largely used by middle and upper class consumers who did have a lot of money to spend on vacations. Most of the lower class families couldn’t afford to travel through a travel agent.

A Dip in History

When the outbreak of World War Two began, it ensured the industry would take a big hit. Of course, during this time, most people weren’t thinking about taking a holiday, even locally and as a result, and as anticipated, the industry took a big dive. However, after the war tourism did see a huge upturn as more and more people just needed to escape from the post war blues. It did lead to more affordable prices and the start of package holidays becoming popular especially when more travel agencies were starting to grow and become noticed.

Once this happened, most travel agents were catering for working class families, on the lookout for cheap but good quality holidays. Most of the British consumers were searching for sunny beaches and hot destinations and this become a vastly popular and profitable industry in the UK.

The Canadian Travel Agent Industry Beginning

The Canadian industry started off very small with only one or two minor agents offering holiday packages. However, it quickly grew especially towards the turn of the century. After war time, the industry grew more so than ever before both at home and internationally. And the Canadian government saw a huge increase in the amount of foreign visitors looking for a great getaway.

The industry has been growing steadily, and just recently it has experienced a massive explosion of growth, while the numbers continue to increase year over year. Of course, with the CITC, the Canadian Institute of Travel Counsellors being set up, it has allowed more independent travel agents to form.

It was back in 1963 when the CITC group was born and ultimately helped travel agent professionals get trained and jump into the travel industry. Thousands of recruiters looked to CITC to help them get a foot into the industry as well as establish themselves as agents. However, the Canadian travel agent industry has a very strict rule for anyone looking to get into the industry. Anyone looking to become an agent must be educated by going through a training program before becoming certified.

Remember, the industry is constantly changing and agents must be competent which is why CITC has played a huge role in the industry. There are over three thousand members of CITC and everyone who is registered with them is a certified travel agent professional. In fact, CITC is an industry first, and not just within Canada but globally.

Changing All the Time

Overall, the travel agent industry has come a long way since the 19th century. It had its ups, downs, and challenges like every other industry. And while it has stood the test of time and continues to grow, it has equally become one of the most competitive industries the market has known. But as businesses grow, so does the need for travel, and as an over-worked population of stressed individuals grows, so does the need to vacation. This endless cycle alone should help the travel industry stay a marketable one.

Michael Collins and the Bloody Sunday massacre

On the morning of November 21, 1920, at precisely 9 a.m., agents of Michael Collins’ Squad—AKA, “The Twelve Apostles”—spread throughout Dublin City and went to work. When they were finished, 14 British Secret Service agents were dead and the legend of “Bloody Sunday” was written—in British blood—in the annals of Irish history.

But just how did Bloody Sunday come about? The answer and the origins go back to early 1917 when Collins returned to Dublin from the Frongoch prison camp in Wales and was appointed head of the National Aid and Volunteers Dependance Fund by Kathleen Clarke, the widow of 1916 martyr Tom Clarke. In this position (the office was at #10 Exchequer Street and the building is still there), Collins gave out grants to the indigent survivors of the Easter Rising. He was also the point man to many in the movement—the man with the money—whether they were located in Dublin City or scattered throughout the countryside. This allowed Collins to keep his hand on the pulse of revolutionary Ireland as few men could.

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One of the colorful details of Collins’ life was his sojourn into the Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) station in Great Brunswick (now Pearse) Street. There he found, among other things, a telephone log of people who called the police during Easter week. He was surprised to note that a lot of the people in the log were supposed to be “friends” of the movement.

Since 1798 the Irish have been having uprisings and all of them have ended in failure. Every movement had been scuttled by the British using 1) superior intelligence and 2) informers. In the years between 1917 and 1919, Collins addressed these two points of British success and thought how he might counter them. Collins’ greatest teacher? Ironically, it was the British themselves.

His first act was to set up his own intelligence office at #3 Crow Street, a small alley in Temple Bar running off Dame Street, only two blocks from Dublin Castle. There, under the disguise of the “Irish Products Company” Collins’ intelligence officers, under the command of Liam Tobin, went to work. There they went through newspapers, paying special attention to the social columns, learning who was in town and what their business was. These agents also made contact with people who worked in the railroad, ferry, taxi and hotel industries, keeping an eye on travelers from either rural Ireland or England. It became a superb way to keep track of enemy agents.

Collins also was able to burrow his way into the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) with the help of RIC men Ned Broy, Dave Neligan, Joseph Kavanagh and James McNamara. As these “G-men”—so-called because they belonged to the intelligence or “G-Division” of the DMP—typed up their reports, they threw in an extra carbon which was promptly delivered to Collins’ intelligence shop in Crow Street.

Read More: 100 years ago today, Michael Collins' The Squad was born

De Valera Leaves for America—and the “Squad” is Born

By 1919 Collins had a pretty good idea of what the British were doing and how he wanted to combat them. In May of that year, Eamon de Valera left Ireland for twenty months in America, ostensibly to make Ireland’s case to the world and raise funds. It was an odd decision on de Valera’s part in the middle of a revolution considering he had just been elected Príomh-Aire, First Minister or Prime Minister, of the Dáil. (When Dev checked into the Waldorf-Astoria in New York he signed the ledger as “President” of the Irish Republic, thus making up a new august, albeit fraudulent, title for himself.)

De Valera’s departure left a vacuum in Dublin which was immediately occupied by Collins. Collins’ portfolio included being a TD in the Dáil, the Minister for Finance, Commandant General of the IRA, head of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), and most importantly, Director of Intelligence of the IRA. (He also shamelessly poached Cathal Brugha’s portfolio as Minister for Defence.) He was a compartmental genius and with so many hats to wear he had to be.

In September of 1919, Collins decided to establish a “Squad”—also known as an Active Service Unit (ASU)—to combat the British. This Squad—soon known as “The Twelve Apostles”—was under the direct command of Collins (and in his absence Richard Mulcahy, Chief of the Staff of the IRA, and Richard McKee, commander of all the Dublin IRA brigades). Collins's plan was simple—he would warn aggressive G-men to get out or there would be consequences. If they ignored the warning they would be roughed up and if they still remained obdurate they would be shot. Collins's belief was that the brains of intelligence agents—and the knowledge they contained—was impossible to replace. Important information and details would be lost forever, handicapping British intelligence.

Many took the hint and got out. One did not. Detective Sergeant Patrick Smyth had been playing with the rebels since 1916. In fact, his persistence had put Collins’ friend (and future biographer) Piaras Beaslaí behind bars.

Collins sent the Squad to Drumcondra to shoot Smyth. Smyth started running away and the Squad shot him from afar. It took three weeks for Smyth to finally die. Immediately, Collins changed the game. From then on there would be only “head” shots. He also decreed that the Squad should use the heaviest caliber weapons they could find, preferably .45s.

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None of the shootings were random and the Squad had strict orders not to shoot ordinary policemen. Often, these coppers were friendly to the cause and actually helped the rebels. (It was not unusual for a DMP to salute Collins as he crossed O’Connell Street or, as Dan Breen related in his autobiography, supply bullets for the cause.) A member of the Squad could only shoot in his own self-defense. Collins also instituted that the Squad would work in teams, a shooting team (of two or four) and a backup team of an equal number, who made sure there was no civilian interference and insured that the shooting team would escape.

Early in 1920, there were two spectacular shootings. The first was of a British agent (ironically) named “Jameson.” Jameson arrived in Dublin and immediately sought out Collins to sell him badly needed guns. Now the British had been searching manically for Collins and were impressed that Jameson had been able to contact him so easily. He reported to his British handlers in Dublin Castle that Collins was even wearing a mustache! This was relayed to the G-men searching for Collins. Unfortunately for the British one of the G-men worked for Collins and the mustache quickly came off. Soon thereafter Collins got his guns off Jameson—and sent the Squad after Jameson. He was taken to Grangegorman and told his fate. His final words were “God bless the King. I would love to die for him.” The Squad granted his wish.

One of the most spectacular shootings was that of Alan Bell, a man who had been playing with Fenians since the time of the Land League. He was sent to Dublin in 1920 to unearth funds from Collins’ National Loan. When £18,000 was confiscated from a Dublin bank, Collins decided it was time for Mr. Bell to cease breathing. He was pulled off a tram on his way to work at Dublin Castle and shot dead in April 1920. Thereafter the British had trouble getting bank examiners to come to Dublin to look at the books

London was alarmed and the Secretary of State for War, one Winston Churchill, signed off and soon the Auxiliaries and the Black and Tans would hit Irish soil. Churchill also put a £5,000 (sometimes embellished to £10,000) bounty on the head of the man responsible for the death of Bell—that man, of course, being Michael Collins. The Mick Collins legend was growing.

A Black October Leads into Bloody Sunday

By October 1920 the war reached a fever pitch as two intelligence services went after each other in the streets of Dublin. On October 14, the British found Tipperary IRA fugitive, Seán Treacy, at the Republican Outfitters at 94 Talbot Street (the building is marked today by a plaque). A raging gun battle took place in the middle of the street and Treacy was killed.

Elsewhere, Treacy’s great friend and fellow Tipperary man, Dan Breen, was badly shot up and surreptitiously smuggled into the Mater Hospital where the medical staff not only saved his life but kept him hidden from the British as well.

On October 25, Terence MacSwiney, the republican Lord Mayor of Cork starved himself to death in Brixton Prison in England after a fast of 74 days. His body was returned to Cork City on Halloween as the British frantically searched for Collins at MacSwiney’s funeral.

But Collins was not in Cork, he was in Dublin trying to figure out a way of breaking Kevin Barry out of Mountjoy Gaol. Barry was an 18-year-old medical student and part-time IRA volunteer. On September 20 he was involved in an ambush at Church and North King Streets in Dublin. He did not realize that his comrades had withdrawn and was captured by the British. During the ambush, a young British soldier was killed and Barry was condemned to death by rope. The clueless British picked November 1, All Saints Day, a Holy Day of Obligation to Dublin’s immense Catholic population, to hang Barry—and another legend was born.

I have speculated before that Collins was bi-polar, capable of tremendous highs and lows. I believe in this period he was depressed by the loss of so many friends, the near-death of Breen, and the feeling that the British were closing in on him and his men. I think that this feeling of impending doom forced Collins to take drastic steps to stop the British who were importing intelligence agents from all over the empire, particularly the Middle East. These agents were nicknamed “The Cairo Gang” either because they came from Egypt or they hung out at the Cairo Café at the top of Grafton Street. The picture was ominous—kill or be killed. I believe this snapped Collins out of his depressive state and started the planning for Bloody Sunday.

By sheer luck, a young maid named Rosie had come across a list of names of British intelligence agents and—after much persuading—turned them over to Collins.

On Wednesday, November 17, 1920, Collins sent the following memo to Dick McKee, head of the Dublin brigades: “Have established addresses of the particular ones. Arrangements should now be made about the matter. Lt. G is aware of things. He suggests the 21st, a most suitable date and day I think. M.”

It was going to be a big job, a job too big for the Squad to handle by itself. So members of the Dublin Brigade were called in to supplement the Squad. One of these volunteers was Seán Lemass—a future Taoiseach of Ireland—who would do his handiwork in Baggot Street. That morning many of the IRA men first went to mass at St. Andrew’s in Westland Row, or John Cardinal Newman’s University Church in St. Stephen’s Green before spreading out into what is now the posh Dublin 4 postal code to do their duty.

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The fourteen executions panicked the British. Intelligence agents and their families jammed the entrance to Dublin Castle to escape what they thought were more imminent executions. The Black and Tans opened fire at a Dublin v Tipperary football match in Croke Park where another fourteen were killed, including a footballer, Michael Hogan.

Michael Collins throwing in the ball to start a hurling match at Croke Park, Dublin in 1921. (Getty Images)

Back at Dublin Castle, McKee and Peadar Clancy, brigadier and vice-brigadier of the Dublin Brigades, captured the night before with the help of tout Shankers Ryan, were murdered along with a Gaelic Leaguer up from the country by the name of Conor Clune.

It was at this time the world saw Michael Collins as his most fearless. The next morning, with everyone in Dublin looking for him, he kept a promise and attended a wedding reception. He then personally dressed the bodies of McKee and Clancy in the Mortuary Chapel of the Pro-Cathedral, before attending the funeral mass. At the mass he pinned a personal note on McKee’s coffin: “In memory of two good friends—Dick and Peadar—and two of Ireland’s best soldiers.” It was signed Mícheál Ó Coileáin.

For all intent purposes, the war was over. Michael Collins knew it and so did Prime Minister David Lloyd George, but atrocities would go on for another seven months until King George V brokered a truce in July 1921.

Dev Returns, General Collins Goes to London

The most immediate reaction to the slaughter—the dirty work now over—was the return of Eamon de Valera to Ireland at Christmas 1920. He immediately began to minimize Collins with the help of Cathal Brugha and Austin Stack. It was another dark period in the life of the Big Fellow. That would come to an end when de Valera abdicated going to London in the fall of 1921 to work out a Treaty with the British. De Valera knew it was an impossible lose-lose situation for him—so who better to send than Michael Collins?

At the time of Bloody Sunday, Collins had less than two years to live, but he was adamant in what his men had done on that fateful day: “My one intention was the destruction of the undesirables who continued to make miserable the lives of ordinary decent citizens. I have proof enough to assure myself of the atrocities which this gang of spies and informers have committed. If I had a second motive it was no more than a feeling such as I would have for a dangerous reptile. By their destruction, the very air is made sweeter. For myself, my conscience is clear. There is no crime in detecting in wartime the spy and the informer. They have destroyed without trial. I have paid them back in their own coin.”

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Do the ends justify the means?

Just twelve months and 16 days after Bloody Sunday, on December 6, 1921, Collins signed the Treaty which, after 700 years of occupation, returned Ireland to nationhood.

Without this terrible day in Irish history—perhaps the most important day in Irish history—there is a great possibility that the Union Jack might still be flying over the GPO in O’Connell Street. Young Irelander Thomas Davis only dreamed of “A Nation Once Again,” but Michael Collins, a revolutionary genius not afraid to use the ruthless brutality that the British had applied to Ireland over seven centuries, made it happen.

* Dermot McEvoy is the author of The 13th Apostle: A Novel of Michael Collins and the Irish Uprising and Our Lady of Greenwich Village, both now available in paperback, Kindle and Audio from Skyhorse Publishing. He may be reached at [email protected] Follow him at Follow The 13th Apostle on Facebook here.

* Originally published in 2015, updated in November 2020.

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‘James Bond’ dies in Moscow: How a British agent tried to overthrow the Bolsheviks

"Bolshevism was baptized in blood. Its leaders were criminals and murderers,&rdquo Sidney Reilly once said . He was an agent of Britain&rsquos Secret Service Bureau who was allegedly Ian Fleming&rsquos inspiration for James Bond. Reilly had deep Russian roots, and dedicated his life to defeating the regime that came to power in 1917 &ndash but he ultimately failed.

The spy hated communism. This is one of only a few things we know about his life. To start with, it&rsquos not known where he was born or how he became a British citizen.

The man with many names

Reilly told different people different stories about his past. He claimed to be an Irish pastor, or a descendant of a noble Russian family &ndash depending on who he was talking to. However, nowadays most historians agree that he was born in 1873 into a Jewish family in Odessa, or somewhere in western Ukraine.

His real family name was Rosenblum, while his first remains a mystery &ndash different sources call him Semyon, Sigmund, or Georgi. In 1896, Mr. Rosenblum made it to London where he married a woman of Irish origin and changed his identity to Sidney Reilly.

Double/triple agent

Reilly&rsquos biographers still debate if he was a British spy before the October Revolution. He recalled that he started his career in the British Special Services in the 1890s, but historian Andrew Cook, the author of Ace of Spies: The True Story of Sydney Reilly , suggests that he was lying and in reality lived as a con artist only set on making his own fortune.

As historians mention , Reilly was not trustworthy &ndash he reported ly spied for both the British and Japanese during the Russian-Japanese War (1904-1905). While living in Russia in 1906, he became involved in Russian revolutionary circles, while at the same time working for Britain and Tsarist intelligence.

While greasing all palms possible, Reilly never forgot to keep his bank account topped up as he adored his affluent lifestyle, womanizing, and gambling. &ldquoWe consider him untrustworthy and unsuitable for the work suggested,&rdquo one of the Secret Service Bureau&rsquos agents reported at the beginning of the WWI.

Mission to Russia

However, the agent won the trust of both Winston Churchill and Mansfield Cumming (the first head of MI6&rsquos predecessor organization). British leaders found him charismatic, bold, and extremely good at his job. So in 1917 Reilly was appointed to Russia, the country he had always been interested in.

Living there incognito, he managed to recruit some important double agents. What&rsquos more, Reilly somehow got himself a Cheka (Bolsheviks&rsquo special service) certificate so he had access to Kremlin. With that, he decided the best option to defeat the Bolsheviks was to decapitate their party by killing its main leaders: Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky.

Plot and consequences

Revolutionary Petrograd (former name of St. Petersburg) in 1918.

Russian Look/Global Look Press

Along with other British agents Reilly planned a coup. The Latvian regiments who had been guarding the most important party leaders were expected to turn their arms against the Bolsheviks. Their leader Eduard Berzin promised to do so and was paid 1.2 million rubles ($ 38,700 in 1918) by the Brits.

The thing was, Berzin had no intention of screwing over the Bolsheviks &ndash he acted as a provocateur, in accordance with Cheka orders. After Berzin pulled a solid sum of money from the Brits the authorities &ldquouncovered&rdquo the diplomats&rsquo conspiracy and took the embassy by storm. Reilly fled to Europe.

His last visit

The tireless agent continued his attempts to undermine the Soviets. He spent several months of 1918 in the south of Russia where the White Army forces (anti-Bolsheviks) were concentrated, trying to convince London to help the Whites economically and militarily. But these efforts were in vain. The Whites lost and few years later the Bolsheviks would smoke Reilly out again.

In September 1925 he crossed the Soviet-Finnish border to meet connections from the anti-communist &ldquoTrust&rdquo organization. In fact, the whole organization was a fake, created by OGPU (Cheka&rsquos successor) in order to trap the USSR&rsquos enemies from abroad.

Reilly, despite his experience and cunningness, fell into the trap along with the others. He was executed in a forest near Moscow in November 1925.

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The True Story Behind ‘The Courier’

In November 1960, Greville Wynne, a 41-year-old British businessman, sat down for a lunch that would change his life. His dining companion, Dickie Franks, revealed himself to be an officer of the British Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6, and asked Wynne for his help. An industrial sales consultant who regularly traveled through Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union representing British electrical and steel companies, Wynne was told it would be helpful if on his next trip, he could arrange for a meeting with a state committee in Moscow dedicated to developing opportunities with foreigners in science and technology, and report back on his conversations. Despite having no previous experience in intelligence work, Wynne was being recruited to serve as an MI6 agent.

Wynne agreed, and during his visit to Moscow the following month he wound up connecting with Oleg Penkovsky, a lieutenant colonel in the GRU (the Soviet Union’s foreign-intelligence agency) who was eager to leak high-level military information to Western powers. Penkovsky felt stunted in his career with GRU and expected that by helping the West for a year or two, he and his family could be relocated and build a better life, and that he would personally be showered with recognition and honor. Wynne went along, slightly concerned about whether Penkovsky was on the level and concerned about putting himself into a dangerous situation, kicking off what would be one of the most productive clandestine operations in Cold War history. Penkovsky’s information, and Wynne’s help in delivering it to British and American intelligence officers, would produce mountains of material, play a role in the Cuban Missile Crisis, and land both men in prison.

These events serve as the inspiration for The Courier, the new film starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Wynne and Georgian actor Merab Ninidze as Penkovsky, out in theaters on March 19. The film’s screenwriter, Tom O’Connor, found Wynne’s story of a nobody suddenly becoming a somebody compelling. “He just was an ordinary man who got thrust into this just extraordinary, life-altering situation that was going to define his existence forever,” says O’Connor. “The burden of that is hard to imagine.”

But as he began researching Wynne’s story, he learned that this ordinary man could also tell some extraordinary lies. In the late 1960s, after he had been imprisoned for his spycraft and could no longer assist MI6 nor the CIA, the amateur spy authored a pair of books: The Man From Moscow: The Story of Wynne and Penkovsky and The Man From Odessa, that were riddled with falsehoods.

“[Wynne], bless him, for all his wonderful work, was a menace and a fabricator,” says Nigel West, who has written numerous books on British and American intelligence organizations, including two books specifically about fabricators in the intelligence arena. “He just couldn’t tell the truth. It was pathological with him.”

While its standard for Hollywood films to take liberties with the facts, insert composite characters, devise imagined conversations, and smooth-out timelines to ensure a brisk pace, it’s less common for a based-on-a-true-story movie to have to be more truthful than the source material.

O’Connor makes clear that The Courier is “not a documentary,” even as he explains that he took pains to stick to the facts as much as they could be ascertained—drawing on works such as Jerrold L. Shecter and Peter S. Deriabin’s The Spy Who Saved the World: How a Soviet Colonel Changed the Course of the Cold War and other accounts that could be trusted more than Wynne’s own inventions.

“There’s a fair amount of source material from all different kinds of authors, so by reading everybody—not just Wynne’s books, but other historians, and the official history put out by the American side and the Soviet side — I was able to try and work out what made the most sense and what seemed liked disinformation,” says O’Connor.

Even though Wynne wasn’t exactly a reliable narrator for what he did during his time as a secret agent, the materials he smuggled from behind the Iron Curtain were the real thing. After the initial meeting in December 1960, Penkovsky provided Wynne with film of Soviet military documents and later promised more information if an arrangement with British or American intelligence could be made. Wynne dutifully passed the images to his contacts with British intelligence, who established their legitimacy. Thus began their fruitful relationship, one that involved Wynne hosting Penkovsky in London, who was visiting under the pretense of cultivate new opportunities in the West. On this trip, Penkovsky submitted to hours of interviews with British and American intelligence officials about the Soviet Union’s military and political developments.

“Penkovsky’s dynamism and enthusiasm, his wide-ranging and passionate denunciations of the Soviet system and its leaders illustrated with anecdotes, fascinated and captivated the American and British teams,” write Schecter and Deriabin. “Never before had there been a Soviet spy like him.”

Wynne also enthusiastically embraced his role, enjoying the part of a daring secret agent where he could apply his salesman skills to a higher-stakes game. During their visits, Penkovsky and Wynne would get out on the town, visiting restaurants, nightclubs and shops under the cover of talking business, with each man proudly showing the other around his home country. They made an odd contrast—the short, energetic, and thinly mustachioed Wynne alongside the military bearing of Penkovsky—but there seemed to be genuine affection between the two, and this friendship is a central focus of The Courier.

“These guys were in the foxhole together—they each had a secret that only the other man knew,” says O’Connor. “They were alone in the world with this incredible burden except for the other man.”

But the chummy interactions between the agents and Penkovsky’s prolific, even reckless, acquisition of materials grew increasingly perilous—and finally caught the KGB’s attention. After a meeting in Paris in September 1961, Penkovsky’s next trips were mysteriously cancelled at the last minute. When Wynne visited Moscow in July 1962, his hotel room and luggage were searched, and he was tailed during his travels.

On October 29 of that year, just hours after the Soviets stood down during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Wynne went to Soviet-occupied Budapest with a traveling exhibition of British industrial goods, against the advice of his MI6 handlers. Wynne would later relate that as he walked down the steps of an exhibition pavilion, four men suddenly appeared as a car pulled up and Wynne was pushed inside. He was flown to Moscow, imprisoned, and tried alongside Penkovsky, who it would later be learned had been arrested the week before Wynne entered Hungary.

“They had to go through a show trial, basically, so on the stand Wynne accused MI6 of using him as a dupe—he may have just been saying whatever he could say because he worried they might execute him,” says Jeremy Duns, an author of several spy novels set during the Cold War as well as the history book Codename: Hero: The True Story of Oleg Penkovsky and the Cold War’s Most Dangerous Operation.

For his treason, Penkovsky was sentenced to death and executed by firing squad days after the trial ended (though Wynne would later claim he died of suicide). Wynne, despite claiming ignorance of what materials he was smuggling to the West, was sentenced to eight years in prison. After months of negotiations, the British government was eventually able to arrange a trade of Wynne for the Soviet spy Gordon Lonsdale, who’d been arrested the year before and was serving a 25-year sentence in England.

In all, Penkovsky had provided Western intelligence with about 140 hours of interviews and 111 exposed rolls of film, contributing to some 10,000 pages of intelligence reports. The operation was “the most productive classic clandestine operation ever conducted by the CIA or MI6 against the Soviet target,” as Schecter and Deriabin put it, and key to its success was the mustachioed courier with no prior intelligence experience.

“Penkovsky gave a huge amount of details about what missiles the Soviets had, how old they were, how there were queues for food—it was an extremely vivid portrait of the country and the people within intelligence,” says Duns. “He was senior enough that you could sit down with the agents for hours and explain the entire context of how Soviet intelligence worked.”

Among the materials Penkovsky provided to Wynne were four photocopies of plans for construction sites of missile-launching installations in Cuba. This gave American officials a clearer picture of what the Soviets were doing in the region, bringing in medium-range ballistic missiles. It also helped Americans to understand how limited the Soviets’ capabilities actually were in the area, so as tensions grew during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy “knew how much rope he could give [Soviet Premier Nikita] Khrushchev,” as Duns puts it.

Upon release from prison, Wynne’s old life was in tatters—he’d lost much of his business and the time spent in the Soviet prison seemed to have caused long-term damage. Seeking ways to parlay the notoriety he received, he became what Duns calls a “rent-a-spokesperson for all kinds of espionage stuff,” making appearances in the media about anything related to spycraft, whether or not it was anything he had experience with. This led to the publication of his dubious memoirs. At the time, they were largely accepted at face value and sold well. The BBC produced a TV movie based on them. But over time, intelligence experts and those involved in the case, though reluctant to share sensitive information, cast doubt on much of what Wynne laid out in his books.

Wynne’s fabrications range from small to huge. In one of his biggest whoppers, Wynne explains that he and Penkovsky took a trip together in a private military jet from the U.K. to Washington, D.C. The two then visited the White House where President John F. Kennedy personally thanked them for their service—then the two returned to the U.K. just 18 hours later. Not only was this account widely denied shortly after publication by members of the CIA and Kennedy’s staff, but it would have been against the way espionage is run—keeping heads of state a safe distance from the details of intelligence work. To top it off, it would have been physically impossible at the time.

“In 1961, jet travel did not allow someone to fly from the U.K. to the U.S. and back again in 24 hours,” says West.

Why did Wynne make up so much, when the truths of his 18 months as a spy are already filled with astounding details? Among the explanations are a desire for money or fame, a ruinous case of alcoholism, or perhaps even psychological scars left by his time in Soviet prison or the shame he felt for publicly turning against British intelligence during the trial. West maintains that it’s the result of something all too typical in the intelligence community—what he calls “post-usefulness syndrome.”

“Imagine that I recruit you and I tell you that whatever you report to me, within an hour, it will be on the president’s desk. You, in your own mind, have developed this sense of self-importance,” says West. “Then after your service, when you haven’t even told your family or friends about this, you’re told, ‘thank you very much, indeed. Don’t call us, we’ll call you in a couple years.’ When Greville got out of prison, he was not prepared, as people obviously are not in those circumstances, to be ignored.”

When it came to writing the screenplay, O’Connor laments that the true story of Wynne’s experiences may never be known. Even the official accounts put out by American and Russian authorities regarding the Penkovsky affair include disinformation and spin that he, or any historian, has to navigate through.

The Courier (2021)

MI6 took a liking to the engineer-turned-businessman Greville Wynne (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) due to the fact that he often traveled to Eastern Europe on business trips. They recruited him in November 1960. Under the guise of a sales trip, he made his first contact with high-ranking Soviet intelligence colonel Oleg Penkovsky in Moscow.

The Courier true story reveals that Wynne met Penkovsky eight months after the Soviet double agent had first tried to get in touch with the CIA by handing a bulky envelope of documents to two wary American students in Moscow. Officials in London had also been aware of Penkovsky since he had approached two British businessmen and gave them his business card in hopes it would reach MI6. British spy Greville Wynne became one of Penkovsky's couriers, delivering information back to MI6 and the CIA.

What type of business did Greville Wynne operate?

Why did Oleg Penkovsky want to become a spy for the West?

In 1961 and 1962, at the height of the Cold War, disgruntled colonel Oleg Penkovsky (portrayed by Merab Ninidze) became the highest-ranking Soviet military official to spy for the United Kingdom up until that time. Penkovsky's career in the Soviet military had been hindered by the fact that his father had died fighting as an officer for the White Army against the Bolsheviks (Red Army) during the Russian Civil War (1917 &ndash 1923) and Penkovsky didn't denounce this legacy. The loosely allied forces that made up the White Army favored capitalism and social democracy, which stood in contrast to the communist ideologies of the Red Army. The Courier fact-check reveals that, like his father, Penkovsky had become disillusioned with the Soviet system.

Are MI6 agent Dickie Franks and CIA agent Emily Donovan based on real people?

While Angus Wright's character, MI6 agent Dickie Franks, was indeed a real person who worked for Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, according to his 2008 obituary in The Independent, he had nothing to do with the recruitment of civilian Greville Wynne and the claim that he did is based on incorrect reports in the press. For example, his obituaries in The Guardian, The Telegraph and The Times all claim that he did recruit the businessman Greville Wynne, which according to The Independent is false.

As for Rachel Brosnahan's character, CIA operative Emily Donovan, she is not based on a real person. During an interview at Sundance, Brosnahan told The Davis Clipper's Tom Haraldsen, "Emily is a combination of several true-life figures who worked with Benedict's character (Greville Wynne) to help the CIA penetrate the Soviet nuclear program."

What did Oleg Penkovsky want in exchange for sharing Soviet secrets with Great Britain and the United States?

In researching The Courier true story, we discovered that in exchange for sharing restricted information, Soviet intelligence officer Oleg Penkovsky requested citizenship and military rank in either the U.S.A. or Great Britain.

Did Greville Wynne have an affair?

In The Courier movie, Wynne's wife Sheila (Jessie Buckley) becomes suspicious of his trips to the Soviet Union, suspecting that he is having an affair. The film mentions a previous affair, which is part of the reason Sheila is suspicious this time. It seems likely that Wynne did have an affair in the years prior to becoming a spy for MI6, though we found little evidence to verify this. In real life, Wynne's wife Sheila divorced him after he was released from the Moscow prison and returned to Britain. Like in the movie, they had one son together, Andrew. Wynne married his second wife, Herma van Buren, in 1970. She had worked as his secretary and interpreter, speaking eight languages. They separated several years prior to Wynne's death in 1990.

Why was the movie originally called "Ironbark"?

The Courier premiered at Sundance in January 2020 under its original title, Ironbark. In the movie, the title refers to Oleg Penkovsky's codename. However, in real life, IRONBARK was the codename for the documents that Soviet double agent Oleg Penkovsky had been passing to the CIA. Penkovsky's real-life codename was HERO.

Did British spy Greville Wynne help to prevent the Cuban Missile Crisis?

Yes. The true story behind The Courier confirms that some of the intelligence Wynne received from his Russian contact, Soviet military intelligence colonel Oleg Penkovsky, informed the United Kingdom about the Soviet emplacement of missiles in Cuba. This intelligence gave both the United Kingdom and the United States the knowledge necessary to manage the quickly evolving military friction with the Soviet Union. The U.S. was then able to use U-2 spy planes to take photographs and identify the missile sites (see image below). Oleg Penkovsky also provided documents that revealed that the Soviet Union was ill-equipped to fight a war in the area.

In addition, Colonel Penkovsky provided Wynne with the names and photographs of roughly 300 East bloc intelligence agents, as well as information about Soviet weapons production and military manpower. -The New York Times

When were British spy Greville Wynne and Soviet double agent Oleg Penkovsky captured?

Like in The Courier movie, a fact-check confirms that KGB surveillance resulted in Greville Wynne and Oleg Penkovsky both being arrested in October 1962, the same month the Cuban Missile Crisis was unfolding. An NSA employee-turned-Soviet Spy named Jack Dunlap revealed Penkovsky's treasonous activities to the KGB, despite the KGB having already known about the betrayal. Penkovsky was arrested first, and after his interrogation, Wynne was apprehended. Both Wynne and Penkovsky were convicted of espionage.

How long had the KGB known that Oleg Penkovsky was engaging in espionage?

The Courier true story reveals that top KGB officials knew that Penkovsky was a double agent for more than a year, but they wanted to protect their source, a valuable mole in the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). The KGB waited to arrest Penkovsky so that they could build up a case against him that didn't expose their moles who had provided information about him.

Was Oleg Penkovsky executed by the Soviet Union for espionage?

The almost universally accepted version of events is that Oleg Penkovsky was executed in 1963 for providing top-secret information to the United Kingdom. This version is supported by Alexander Zagvozdin, who was the KGB's chief interrogator during the investigation. He claims that Penkovsky had been questioned probably 100 times before being shot and cremated. In Greville Wynne's 1981 book The Man from Odessa, Wynne claims that Penkovsky committed suicide in a Soviet labor camp. However, that claim seems unlikely to be true. Wynne himself had earlier stated that Penkovsky had been shot, including during his appearance on the game show To Tell the Truth.

What was Greville Wynne's punishment?

After being arrested by the KGB in 1962 and convicted of spying on May 11, 1963, Wynne was sentenced to eight years in Moscow's Lubyanka prison, where he was held in brutal conditions and subjected to severe beatings and psychological pressure. In declining health, he was released roughly two years later in April 1964 in exchange for Soviet spy Konon Molody, who had called himself Gordon Lonsdale while operating in Britain. -The New York Times

What did Greville Wynne do after he was released from the Soviet prison?

Wynne returned to his life as a businessman. He and his wife Sheila divorced not long after his release. He later appeared as himself on the May 23, 1967 episode of the American game show To Tell the Truth. He also wrote two books about his experiences as a British spy, The Man from Moscow (1967) and The Man from Odessa (1981). However, life wasn't always easy for Wynne after his imprisonment. He battled depression and alcoholism. He passed away from throat cancer in London in 1990 at age 70.

Have any other movies or TV shows been made about Greville Wynne?

Yes. David Calder played Wynne in the 1985 BBC serial Wynne and Penkovsky. In 2007, Peter Lindford portrayed Wynne in episode one of the BBC docudrama Nuclear Secrets, titled "The Spy from Moscow."

Watch an interview with British spy Greville Wynne upon his release from the Soviet prison. Also, see Wynne in his appearance on the American game show To Tell the Truth.

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