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My Father The Spy: Deceptions of an MI6 Officer

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My Father The Spy This is the true story of Bill Bristow, the son of a spy, and his father Desmond Bristow. It reveals how mysterious it is having a father whose career could not be talked about and whose work during the war was never fully appreciated by the family. Bill’s Godfather Tommy Harris, (who was the case officer of Garbo, noted for his deception work against the My Father The Spy This is the true story of Bill Bristow, the son of a spy, and his father Desmond Bristow. It reveals how mysterious it is having a father whose career could not be talked about and whose work during the war was never fully appreciated by the family. Bill’s Godfather Tommy Harris, (who was the case officer of Garbo, noted for his deception work against the Germans during and following D-Day), Kim Philby, Guy Burgess and Anthony Blunt are all featured in the book as are MI6’s activities after the war. Bill notes some very personal feelings of his own and his father’s throughout the book. Bill can remember conversations about traitors who had escaped to Russia to work with the KGB; principally amongst them Kim Philby who had been a good friend of Bill’s father. Suspicion also fell on Bill’s father and, until Peter Wright had cleared his name, there was always a dim cloud of smoke there; not always from within MI6 but from friends and family. At times it seemed thrilling, yet in the book Bill reveals how disruptive this relationship was for a son. The book also reveals how open the relationship was with his father, especially when writing together. Bill realises now how fortunate he was in this respect, which is why this book contains some of the truths which evaded the pages of “A Game of Moles – The Deceptions of an MI6 Officer.” News Articles for “A Game of Moles” by Major Desmond Bristow, MI6 The Times Correspondent Michael Evans wrote on 8th October 1983: ‘A FORMER MI6 officer published his autobiography yesterday despite an official warning that he could go to jail for two years for breaching his pledge of secrecy. Desmond Bristow, 76, was given the warning by the Treasury Solicitor. During discussions with the defence ministry over his manuscript for A Game of Moles, Deceptions of an MI6 Officer, he and his publishers were ordered to leave out names of former Intelligence officers and “to drop the word agent.” He said yesterday: “I could not believe it. Are we really supposed to hide the fact the British secret intelligence service employs agents?” Journalist Nigel Nelson wrote on 14th November 1993: ‘Although John Major keeps banging on about open Government, Britain remains the most secretive society in the Western World. This is what happened. Desmond and his film maker son Bill get together to pen dad’s memoirs. A Game of Moles tells the story of Desmond’s wartime work with MI6, of his friendship with Kim Philby and a few post war escapades. All fascinating stuff for a spy freak like me, but about as harmful to the nation’s security as a Whitehall canteen menu.’


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My Father The Spy This is the true story of Bill Bristow, the son of a spy, and his father Desmond Bristow. It reveals how mysterious it is having a father whose career could not be talked about and whose work during the war was never fully appreciated by the family. Bill’s Godfather Tommy Harris, (who was the case officer of Garbo, noted for his deception work against the My Father The Spy This is the true story of Bill Bristow, the son of a spy, and his father Desmond Bristow. It reveals how mysterious it is having a father whose career could not be talked about and whose work during the war was never fully appreciated by the family. Bill’s Godfather Tommy Harris, (who was the case officer of Garbo, noted for his deception work against the Germans during and following D-Day), Kim Philby, Guy Burgess and Anthony Blunt are all featured in the book as are MI6’s activities after the war. Bill notes some very personal feelings of his own and his father’s throughout the book. Bill can remember conversations about traitors who had escaped to Russia to work with the KGB; principally amongst them Kim Philby who had been a good friend of Bill’s father. Suspicion also fell on Bill’s father and, until Peter Wright had cleared his name, there was always a dim cloud of smoke there; not always from within MI6 but from friends and family. At times it seemed thrilling, yet in the book Bill reveals how disruptive this relationship was for a son. The book also reveals how open the relationship was with his father, especially when writing together. Bill realises now how fortunate he was in this respect, which is why this book contains some of the truths which evaded the pages of “A Game of Moles – The Deceptions of an MI6 Officer.” News Articles for “A Game of Moles” by Major Desmond Bristow, MI6 The Times Correspondent Michael Evans wrote on 8th October 1983: ‘A FORMER MI6 officer published his autobiography yesterday despite an official warning that he could go to jail for two years for breaching his pledge of secrecy. Desmond Bristow, 76, was given the warning by the Treasury Solicitor. During discussions with the defence ministry over his manuscript for A Game of Moles, Deceptions of an MI6 Officer, he and his publishers were ordered to leave out names of former Intelligence officers and “to drop the word agent.” He said yesterday: “I could not believe it. Are we really supposed to hide the fact the British secret intelligence service employs agents?” Journalist Nigel Nelson wrote on 14th November 1993: ‘Although John Major keeps banging on about open Government, Britain remains the most secretive society in the Western World. This is what happened. Desmond and his film maker son Bill get together to pen dad’s memoirs. A Game of Moles tells the story of Desmond’s wartime work with MI6, of his friendship with Kim Philby and a few post war escapades. All fascinating stuff for a spy freak like me, but about as harmful to the nation’s security as a Whitehall canteen menu.’

15 review for My Father The Spy: Deceptions of an MI6 Officer

  1. 4 out of 5

    Olethros

    -Espionaje real, sin estridencias.- Género. Biografía. Lo que nos cuenta. Memorias del autor centradas más en su faceta profesional como espía que nos llevan desde su incorporación al MI-6 en una sección dedicada al contraespionaje durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial, en concreto operativa en la Península Ibérica, hasta bien avanzada la Guerra Fría, pasando por diferentes escenarios y durante las que descubriremos las impresiones y diversas afinidades del autor con personajes importantes en el esp -Espionaje real, sin estridencias.- Género. Biografía. Lo que nos cuenta. Memorias del autor centradas más en su faceta profesional como espía que nos llevan desde su incorporación al MI-6 en una sección dedicada al contraespionaje durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial, en concreto operativa en la Península Ibérica, hasta bien avanzada la Guerra Fría, pasando por diferentes escenarios y durante las que descubriremos las impresiones y diversas afinidades del autor con personajes importantes en el espionaje internacional del siglo XX. ¿Quiere saber más de este libro, sin spoilers? Visite: http://librosdeolethros.blogspot.com/...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Roger Cottrell

    First and foremost, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading Bill Bristow’s My Father the Spy, a deeply personalised account of his father, Desmond Bristow’s exploits as a young officer in MI6’s Section V during and immediately after the Second World War. Some of the territory may be familiar to readers, such as the Garbo deception involving Spanish double agent Juan Pujol that played such a decisive role in the success of the D Day landings. Author Bill Bristow’s Godfather, Tommy Harris First and foremost, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading Bill Bristow’s My Father the Spy, a deeply personalised account of his father, Desmond Bristow’s exploits as a young officer in MI6’s Section V during and immediately after the Second World War. Some of the territory may be familiar to readers, such as the Garbo deception involving Spanish double agent Juan Pujol that played such a decisive role in the success of the D Day landings. Author Bill Bristow’s Godfather, Tommy Harris (whose suspicious death in Majorca in 1964 also features in the book) became Pujol’s case officer at MI5 and it was Desmond Bristow, working with Kim Philby at Section V, who first debriefed Pujol at the Royal Victoria Patriotic School in Battersea, before “Garbo” was created by Harris, Pujol, and the so called XX Committee that ran the biggest deception operation of the Second World War. Inevitably, Desmond’s friendship with Philby and with Harris features prominently in the book, as does the shadow of suspicion that fell over both Desmond Bristow and Tommy Harris, after Philby absconded to the USSR in 1963 – and Harris died in an alleged traffic accident less than a year later. Harris was not part of the Soviet “Apostle” network at Cambridge but had known Philby in Spain and was recruited to MI5 by Anthony Blunt whom he knew through the world of art. Philby, Burgess and Maclean regularly met at parties at Harris’ house. Harris played a prominent role in making the Garbo deception a success, particularly during D Day that is still acknowledged on the official MI5 website. Others, such as Jimmy Burns and Helen Solomon, nonetheless claimed that Harris was also part of the KGB spy network. Both Burns and Solomon had personal axes to grind with Tommy Harris, however, and Bristow’s book leaves the jury out on his actual role, which it no doubt is. Jimmy Burns also accused Kim Philby of having murdered fellow journalists in Spain and these claims are clearly preposterous. The story of this book does not begin and end with Philby and the KGB network of which he was part, not even including the Garbo deception. Desmond Bristow was based in Gibraltar, for much of the war and then in North Africa, as part of Operation Torch. The book also provides insights into the vulnerability of De Gaulle and the Free French leadership, even after North Africa was liberated, and poses some interesting questions about the assassination of Admiral Darlan. A later incident in Portugal, involving the father of the actor Peter Ustinov, alludes to a possible British connection to the ill fated Operation Valkyrie assassination attempt against Hitler and it is worth noting that Desmond Bristow had already met Admiral Canaris in Spain. I came to this book with interests of my own, having seen Bill Bristow’s contribution to the BBC 4 documentary, Queers, Spies and Traitors. I freely admit that I did so with agendas and interests of my own, one of which involves the alleged link between wartime MI6 Chief Stewart Menzies and the pro appeasement Imperial Protection Group led by Kenneth Hugh De Courcey. Actually, Desmond Bristow’s personal account of Menzies role is quite favourable. Another keen area of interest, for me, is the role of Nazi war criminal Otto Skorzeny, who does feature in this book, in creation of the ODESSA and Aginter Press post-war Nazi networks, linked as they were to political assassinations, death squads and murderous regimes in South America and the so called GLADIO network in Europe. On this subject, My Father The spy is no substitute for Peter Dale Scott but compliments this more academic work in a number of ways. As a primary source account and thus a subjective, personal view, My Father the Spy is at least as important as Peter Wright’s Spycatcher, for all that the serious student of this period and subject material would have to read it critically, and alongside other more academic works. For the general reader, it’s simply a damned good read about an important period of history that is still relevant to our present situation, where our present government still refuses to publish its report into modern day Kremlin interference in UK politics. At least Philby, Burgess and Maclean believed in what they were doing. What’s Cambridge Analytica’s excuse? I also see My Father the Spy as a great basis for a TV series or similar drama.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bill Bristow

  4. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  5. 4 out of 5

    John

  6. 5 out of 5

    Terryw

  7. 5 out of 5

    David Campbell

  8. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

  9. 5 out of 5

    Obsidian

  10. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Robins

  11. 5 out of 5

    Pauline Scott

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dan Pyke

  13. 4 out of 5

    Colleen Velo

  14. 5 out of 5

    Darren Edwards

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

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