Pre-World War II

Included here:

1. British Memoir Literature Generally

2. Pre-WWI

3. World War I

4. Between the Wars

1. British Memoir Literature Generally

Denniston, Robin. "Three Kinds of Hero: Publishing the Memoirs of Secret Intelligence People." Intelligence and National Security 7, no. 2 (Apr. 1992): 112-125.

Naylor, John F. "British Memoirs and Official Secrecy: From Crossman to Thatcher." In Political Memoir: Essays on the Politics of Memory, ed. George Egerton. Newbury Park, Ilford, Essex: Frank Cass, 1994.

2. Pre-WWI

Baden-Powell, Robert.

1. "Adventures as a Spy." Everybody's 32 (Feb. 1915): 184-192. [Calder]

2. My Adventures as a Spy. London: 1915. Mineola, NY: Dover, 2011. [pb]

3. World War I

Mackenzie, Compton.

Clark comment: The following volumes are the memories of Compton Mackenzie, literary light and World War I spymaster/political agent.

For Ferris, I&NS 4.2, Mackenzie's "autobiographies are infinitely better history than are most memoirs.... They are one of best extant accounts both of British intelligence during the First World War and of covert action in general." Constantinides advises that Mackenzie's volumes be read in conjunction with Lawson's Tales of Aegean Intrigue and Thomson's The Allied Secret Service in Greece. Even then, doubt can still remain as to whether any or all represent an accurate picture.

1. Gallipoli Memories. London: Cassell, 1929. Frederick, MD: University Press of America, 1987.

2. First Athenian Memories. London: Cassell, 1931.

Constantinides says that this book covers Mackenzie's activities as head of the British secret service counterespionage section in Athens from 1915 to early 1916. He describes British intelligence operations as "disorganized, confused, uncoordinated, and marked by conflicts."

3. Greek Memories. London: Chatto & Windus, 1939.

It is in this volume of his memoirs that Mackenzie moves into what Constantinides calls "the action phase of his career.... He frankly recounts the operations of his organization not only against the Germans in Greece ... but also those in Greece who were considered enemies of the Entente.... This is the story of an intelligence officer of great vigor and talent, who helped create an organization within a foreign ... state that acted as a security service."

4. Aegean Memories. London: Chatto & Windus, 1940.

Constantinides: Mackenzie gives "facts and details on the infighting within the British government and its intelligence organizations and the jockeying for intelligence supremacy in Greece in World War I. He has some extreme examples of lack of coordination, misdirection in intelligence work, rivalries, and even insubordination."

5. My Life and Time: Octave Five, 1915-1923. London: Chatto, 1966.

See also, Linklater, Compton Mackenzie, A Life (1987).


4. Between the Wars

Benton, Peggie. Baltic Countdown. London: Centaur, 1984.

Lockhart, Robert Bruce. Memoirs of a British Agent. 2d ed. London: 1934. British Agent. New York: Putnam's, 1933. 2d ed. Garden City, NY: Garden City Publishing, 1936.

Whitwell, John [Pseud. for Leslie Nicholson]. British Agent. London: Kimber, 1966. London: Frank Cass, 1997.

Clark comment: This is Nicholson's memoir of service with MI6/SIS from 1929 to 1945. He headed the SIS station in Prague 1930-1934, and in Riga until the Soviet occupation in August 1940. Nicholson's wartime service included the handling of Middle East and Balkan operations.

Constantinides suggests that Nicholson "has relatively little to tell,... but there are some good lessons on poor practices by intelligence services, including his own." On the other hand, Wark, I&NS 11.4/625, calls British Agent "the best memoir available of the British secret service during the 1930s." (Wark wrote an introduction to the 1997 edition.) For Salmon, I&NS 13.4, Nicholson tells his story in a manner that is "readable, entertaining and genuinely informative.... Nicholson provides much colourful material and many good anecdotes, but he is particularly informative on the banal detail of everyday life as a spy."

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