Bennett, Gill. Churchill's Man of Mystery: Desmond Morton and the World of Intelligence. London: Routledge, 2006.
From publisher: This study of the "life and career of Desmond Morton (1891-1971), Intelligence officer and personal adviser to Winston Churchill during World War II," is "based on full access to official records." Morton "worked for SIS/MI6 from 1919 to 1934... The fortunes of SIS in the interwar years are described here in unprecedented detail.... Morton had met Churchill on the Western Front in 1916 and supported him throughout the 'wilderness years,' moving to Downing Street as the Prime Minister's Intelligence adviser in May 1940. There he remained in a liaison role, with the intelligence Agencies and with Allied resistance authorities, until the end of the war."
Peake, Studies 51.2 (2007), comments that " [d]espite Desmond Morton's best efforts to remain a very private man, Gill Bennett has produced a fine account that he would probably have admired." See Michael Evans, "The Enigma of an Army Friend Who Was Churchills Private Spy," Times (London), 13 Nov. 2006.
Bower, Tom. The Perfect English Spy: Sir Dick White and the Secret War, 1935-90. London: Heinemann, 1995. The Perfect English Spy: The Unknown Man in Charge During the Most Tumultuous, Scandal-Ridden Era in Espionage History. New York: St. Martin's, 1995.
Clark comment: Sir Dick Goldsmith White headed the British Security Service (MI5) from 1953 to 1956 and the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) from 1956 to 1968. Surveillant 4.3 comments that, "with the cooperation of White and dozens of former MI5 and MI6 officers, Bower has written a fascinating, highly authoritative and compelling insiders' account of the successes and disasters which have befallen Britain during the last 50 years.... Highly recommended."
Davies, I&NS 12.3, is less than enthralled with Bower's final product, finding that it "is of considerably less historical value than it might ... have been." The book is "poorly written, frequently unclear, and littered with elementary inaccuracies of detail." Nevertheless, the book "does not try to be an exposé," and does "fill in much of the detail left tantalizingly untouched by the official history." In addition, Bower raises enough doubts about White's management of SIS "to warrant a serious rethinking of the traditionally flattering light cast upon White's record and achievements as Chief of the SIS."
Brown, Anthony Cave. "C": The Secret Life of Sir Stewart Graham Menzies, Spymaster to Winston Churchill. New York: Macmillan, 1987.
Clark comment: Menzies headed MI6 from 1939 to 1951. Petersen sees the book as "voluminous," with "important material on allied intelligence"; but it is "regarded as not fully reliable by many experts." Sexton refers to the book as "rather imaginative and highly colored." Chambers comments that the author "can't seem to make up his mind" about Menzies.
According to Poth, IJI&C 2.4, the author's "fascinating story" is "marred by a number of factual errors," and his "conclusions in several areas may be questionable." He is "driven in defense of his subject to a 'bizarre conclusion'... that Menzies knew all along that Philby was a KGB agent but was playing him as a double.... [T]wo of a number of reviews of the book are ... extraordinarily biased and inaccurate.... The worst appears in the New York Times Book Review for 27 December 1987 and is by Ken Follet.... The other ... appears on 3 April 1988 in The Los Angeles Times ... [and] is written by Allison Silver."
Butler, Ewan. Mason-Mac: The Life of Lt.-General Sir Noel Mason-Macfarlane. London: Macmillan, 1972.
Constantinides: This book contains "only snippets of intelligence interest."
Cockerill, A.W. Sir Percy Sillitoe. London: W.H. Allen, 1975.
Constantinides comments that Sillitoe headed MI5 from 1946 to 1950 [1953?], but this biography includes "very little" on this part of Sillitoe's career. The one chapter on MI5 "is composed of generalities." The author "observes that while other writers have ... dismissed Sir Percy's work in MI5 as insignificant, he does not accept this judgment; but he does not succeed in producing evidence to refute it."
Day, Peter. Klop: Britain's Most Ingenious Spy. London: Biteback Publishing, 2014.
Peake, Studies 58.4 (Dec. 2014), notes that "Jona von Ustinov served both MI5 and MI6 before, during, and after WW II.... [T]he multilingual Klop was admired professionally by all with whom he served.... Klop is the story of a dedicated agent who served his adopted country with distinction."
Deacon, Richard [Donald McCormick]. "C": A Biography of Sir Maurice Oldfield. London: MacDonald, 1985.
Clark comment: Sir Maurice Oldfield was Director, MI6/SIS, 1973-1978.
Deacon, Richard [Donald McCormick]. Super Spy: The Man Who Infiltrated the Kremlin and the Gestapo. London: Futura, 1990. [pb]
Surveillant 1.1: "William Otto Lucas, also known as William va Narvig.... He once told Deacon about meeting with Sidney Reilly.... Never accepted in the West, Narvig was suspected of being a double-agent by the FBI and not trusted by the British SIS. Most complete account to date."
1. "The Professional Career of A. G. Denniston." In British and American Approaches to Intelligence, ed. K.G. Robertson, 104-129. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1987.
2. Thirty Secret Years: A.G. Denniston's Work in Signals Intelligence, 1914-1944. London: Polperro Heritage, 2007.
Hamer, Cryptologia 31.4 (Oct. 2007), finds "the complete absence of an index" an irritation, the effects of which "are exacerbated by the fact that the bulk of this slim volume is comprised of virtually unedited, excerpted research material that is presented in a rather uneven order and without any consideration for the resultant lack of chronological continuity and inevitable instances of repetition." Kahn, Intelligencer 17.1 (Winter-Spring 2009), notes that this is a memoir, not a biography. The book "is not particularly well organized and it lacks an index, but is rich in valuable information."
Erskine, Ralph, and Peter Freeman. "Brigadier John Tiltman: One of Britain's Finest Cryptologists." Cryptologia 27, no. 4 (Oct. 2003): 289-318.
The authors term Tiltman "Bletchley Park's finest cryptanalyst on non-machine ciphers." He worked with GCCS/GCHQ from 1920 until his retirement in 1954, but then continued work with GCHQ until 1964. After that, he served as a researcher and consultant with NSA until 1980.
Fitzgerald, Penelope. The Knox Brothers. New York: Coward, McCann, & Geoghegan, 1977. Rev. ed. Washington, DC: Counterpoint, 2000.
According to Kruh, Cryptologia 25.2, this is the biography of the author's father (Edmund) and his three brothers. One of the brothers was Dillwyn "Dilly" Knox who played a major role as a British codebreaker in World War I (Room 40), during the interwar years (Foreign Office) and in World War II (Bletchley Park). Sexton terms this an "[o]utstanding biography of the four Knox brothers." The author views Dillwyn Knox as "one of the most important cryptanalysts of all time."
Return to UK Biographies Table of Contents