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Henry VII marries Elizabeth of York

Uniting the Houses of Lancaster and York

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Secret agent Kim Philby disappears

On 23 January 1963 Harold Adrian Russell ‘Kim’ Philby disappeared. He defected under the cover of night to the Soviet Union aboard a Soviet freighter for fear of being abducted in Lebanon where he was working as a reporter. Philby was revealed to be a member of the notorious spy ring now known as the Cambridge Five. He had been recruited by undercover Soviet agent Arnold Deutsch while studying at the University of Cambridge in the 1930s, and worked as a double agent from World War II through the 1950s. The five had all acted as senior officers in the formation of SOE from early in the war. Philby was based at St Ermin’s Hotel on Caxton Street in London. Known as the ‘House of Spies’ one of his first missions was to help create ‘Section D’, or, as some called it, the ‘Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.’

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Quote of the week

“The objectives of SOE were out of line with the principles of MI6, which felt it needed to lure the enemy into a tranquil state of mind while it probed its secrets – on the other hand, SOE simply wanted to blow things up.”

Peter Matthews in 'House of Spies'

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