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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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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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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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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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Hollis, Sir Roger Henry (1905–1973), intelligence officer, was born at Wells, Somerset, on 2 December 1905, the third of the four sons (there were no daughters) of the Revd George Arthur Hollis (1868–1944), vice-principal of Wells Theological College and later bishop-suffragan of Taunton...

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Jones, Reginald Victor (1911–1997), physicist and intelligence scientist, was born in Herne Hill, London, on 29 September 1911, the son of Harold Victor Jones (1880–1953), a sergeant of the Grenadier Guards, and his wife, Alice Margaret, née May (1890–1979).

Jones was educated at ...

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Kaye, Sir Cecil (1868–1935), intelligence officer in India, was born on 27 May 1868, at Rosevale, Madron, near Penzance, Cornwall, the son of William Kaye, an officer of the Bengal civil service, and his wife, Jane Margaret, née Beckett. He entered Winchester School...

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Thomas Edward Lawrence [Lawrence of Arabia] (1888–1935) by Augustus John, 1919 © courtesy the Artist's Estate / Bridgeman Art Library; photograph Tate, London

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Lawrence, Thomas Edward [known as Lawrence of Arabia] (1888–1935), intelligence officer and author, was born on 16 August 1888 at Woodlands, Tremadoc, Caernarvonshire, the second of the five sons of Thomas Robert Tighe Chapman (1846–1919), an Anglo-Irish landowner, and his mistress, Sarah Junner (1861–1959)...

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Lockhart, John Macgregor Bruce (1914–1995), intelligence officer, was born in Rugby on 9 May 1914, the oldest of four sons of John Harold Bruce Lockhart (1889–1956), a master at Rugby School, and subsequently headmaster of Sedbergh School, and his wife, Mona (1894–1980), one of two daughters of ...

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John Macgregor Bruce Lockhart (1914–1995) by unknown photographer © reserved / News International Newspapers Ltd