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Sir Robert Anderson (1841–1918) by James Russell & Sons © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Anderson, Sir Robert (1841–1918), spymaster, detective chief, and author, was born on 29 May 1841 in Mountjoy Square, Dublin, the son of Matthew Anderson (1804–1888), crown solicitor, Dublin, and his wife, Mary. He himself described his more distant forebears as 'among the Scotch colonists who made ...

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Best, Sigismund Payne (1885–1978), intelligence officer, was born on 14 April 1885 in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, the son of Dr George Payne Best (d. 1908), then senior physician at Birmingham General Hospital, and his wife, Catherine Sophia Allinson (d. 1908). His maternal grandmother was said to have been the daughter of an Indian maharaja. He was privately educated in ...

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Bevan, John Henry (1894–1978), intelligence officer and stockbroker, was born on 5 April 1894, at 4 Lower Berkeley Street, London, the younger son of David Augustus Bevan (1856–1937), stockbroker, and his wife, the Hon. Dame Maude Elizabeth Bevan (1856–1944). Educated at Eton College...

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Boxshall, Edwin George (1897–1984), Balkan specialist and intelligence officer, was born on 4 February 1897 in Bucharest, the only son and younger child of William George Boxshall (d. 1918), a butcher's son who ran a small ironworks in Romania, and his wife, ...

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Cattley, Charles Robert (1816/17–1855), diplomatist and intelligence officer in the Crimea, was born of English parents in St Petersburg, Russia: his father, Robert Cattley, had been a merchant in Russia since 1802. The Cattleys apparently traded with Cattley firms in England, including sawmills near ...

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Christie, Malcolm Grahame (1881–1971), intelligence officer, was born on 27 January 1881 at Richmond Hill Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, the son of John Alexander Christie, a bank manager from London, and his wife, Annabelle Findley. He was educated at Malvern College and at the ...

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Clarke, William Francis (1883–1961), intelligence officer, was born on 22 May 1883 at 37 Russell Square, London, the son of the celebrated Edwardian advocate and solicitor-general Sir Edward George Clarke (1841–1931) and his wife, Kathleen Mathilda Bryant (d. 1944). He was the youngest of three children and the only child of his father's second marriage. Educated at ...

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Richard Lewis Clutterbuck (1917–1998) by Frank Herrmann, 1981 © News International Newspapers Ltd

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Clutterbuck, Richard Lewis (1917–1998), army officer and counter-insurgency and anti-terrorism expert, was born on 22 November 1917, 'fourteen days after the Communist Revolution in Russia' (Clutterbuck, 3), at 30 West Park, Eltham, London, the son of Major Lewis St John Rawlinson Clutterbuck...

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Cowell, Gervase [Gerry] (1926–2000), intelligence officer, was born on 4 August 1926 at 44 Clarendon Crescent, Sale, Manchester, the second son and youngest of the three children of Frederick Arthur Cowell (1885–1969), precision engineer, and his wife, Alice Mary, née Raffo (1894–1987). He attended ...

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Alexander Wallace Fielding (1918–1991) by unknown photographer [left, with resistance fighters in Crete] © reserved; News International Syndication; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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Fielding, Alexander Wallace [Xan] (1918–1991), intelligence officer and author, was born Alexander Percival Feilman Wallace on 26 November 1918 at Ootacamund, in southern India. His father, Alexander James Wallace—variously described by his son as a major in the Sikhs and as a barrister—and his Irish mother, ...

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Foley, Francis Edward [Frank] (1884–1958), intelligence officer, was born on 24 November 1884 at 7 Walrow Terrace, Highbridge, Somerset, the third of six children of Andrew Wood Foley (c.1850–1932), engineer, and his wife, Isabella Turnbull. Foley's father was of Irish descent; his mother was a Scottish Catholic. ...

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Hall, Sir (William) Reginald (1870–1943), naval officer and intelligence officer, was born at The Close, Salisbury, on 28 June 1870, the second child and elder son of Lieutenant William Henry Hall RN of Ross, Herefordshire, and his wife, Caroline Elizabeth, daughter of the ...

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Sir (William) Reginald Hall (1870–1943) by Walter Stoneman, 1917 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Hambro, Sir Charles Jocelyn (1897–1963), merchant banker and intelligence officer, was born on 3 October 1897 at 70 Prince's Gate, London, into a banking family of Danish origin, which had settled in Dorset and the City in the first half of the nineteenth century. He was the elder son of ...

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Sir Stephen Lewis Edmonstone Hastings (1921–2005) by Bassano, 1948 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Hastings, Sir Stephen Lewis Edmonstone (1921–2005), politician, was born on 4 May 1921, at 13 Washington House, Basil Street, Knightsbridge, London, the only son of Major Lewis Aloysius Macdonald Hastings (1880–1966) and his wife, Meriel Eda St John (1888–1971), daughter of Neil Edmonstone...

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Hillgarth, Alan Hugh (1899–1978), intelligence officer and author, was born on 7 June 1899 at 121 Harley Street, London, the second son and third of five children of Willmott Henderson Hillgarth Evans, a general surgeon with a special interest in dermatology, and his wife, ...