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Alexander, (Conel) Hugh O'Donel (1909–1974), chess player and cryptanalyst  

Harry Golombek

revised by Ralph Erskine

Alexander, (Conel) Hugh O'Donel (1909–1974), chess player and cryptanalyst, was born in Cork on 19 April 1909, the eldest of four children of Conel William Long Alexander (1879–1920), professor of engineering at University College, Cork, and his wife, Hilda Barbara Bennett (1881–1964), of ...

Article

Alkin, Elizabeth [nicknamed Parliament Joan] (c. 1600–1655?), nurse and spy  

Maureen Bell

Alkin, Elizabeth [nicknamed Parliament Joan] (c. 1600–1655?), nurse and spy, was the wife of Francis Alkin, who was hanged as a spy in Oxford by royalist forces during the civil war. Alkin's activities are known largely from her surviving petitions for payment and relief (many of them undated or misattributed in ...

Article

Allbeury, Theodore Edward Le Bouthillier [Ted] (1917–2005), intelligence officer and novelist  

Alex May

Allbeury, Theodore Edward Le Bouthillier [Ted] (1917–2005), intelligence officer and novelist, was born on 24 October 1917 at 478 Manchester Road, Stockport, Lancashire, the son of Theodore Allbeury, cotton goods buyer, and his wife, Florence, née Bailey. He had one sister. His father died when ...

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Cover Anderson, Sir Robert (1841–1918)

Anderson, Sir Robert (1841–1918)  

Maker: James Russell & Sons

In 

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

Article

Anderson, Sir Robert (1841–1918), spymaster, detective chief, and author  

Bernard Porter

Anderson, Sir Robert (1841–1918), spymaster, detective chief, and author, was born on 29 May 1841 in Mountjoy Square, Dublin, the third son of Matthew Anderson (1804–1888), crown solicitor, Dublin, and his wife, Mary née Lee. The second son, Sir Samuel Lee Anderson (...

Article

André, John (1750–1780), army officer and spy  

Richard Garnett

revised by Troy O. Bickham

André, John (1750–1780), army officer and spy, was born in London on 2 May 1750, the eldest son of Anthony André (1717–1769), a Genevese merchant settled in the city, and Marie Louise Girardot (1721?–1813). He had at least one brother and sister. He was educated at home and possibly at ...

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Cover André, John (1750–1780)

André, John (1750–1780)  

Maker: John Keyse Sherwin

In 

John André (1750–1780) by John Keyse Sherwin, 1781 (after self-portrait, 1780) © National Portrait Gallery, London

Article

Armorer, Sir Nicholas (c. 1620–1686), royalist army officer, conspirator, and courtier  

Geoffrey Smith

Armorer, Sir Nicholas (c. 1620–1686), royalist army officer, conspirator, and courtier, was born at Belford, Northumberland, a younger son of Thomas Armorer (d. 1642), of Belford, and his wife, Margaret, daughter of Robert Clavering of Callaly in the same county. Like his brother ...

Article

Atkins [formerly Rosenberg], Vera May (1908–2000), intelligence officer  

M. R. D. Foot

Atkins [formerly Rosenberg], Vera May (1908–2000), intelligence officer, was born in Galatz, Romania, on 15 June 1908, the only daughter and second of the three children of Max Rosenberg (d. 1932), businessman, and his wife, Hilda, née Atkins (d. 1945)...

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Cover Atkins, Vera May (1908–2000)

Atkins, Vera May (1908–2000)  

Maker: unknown photographer

In 

Vera May Atkins (1908–2000) by unknown photographer © reserved

Article

Bacon, Anthony (1558–1601), spy  

Alan Stewart

Bacon, Anthony (1558–1601), spy, was the fourth of five sons of Sir Nicholas Bacon (1510–1579), administrator, of Gorhambury, Hertfordshire, and the first with his second wife, Anne, née Cooke (c.1528–1610) [see Bacon, Anne], daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke of ...

Article

Bagot, Milicent Jessie Eleanor (1907–2006), intelligence officer  

Nigel West

Bagot, Milicent Jessie Eleanor (1907–2006), intelligence officer, was born on 28 March 1907 at 68 York Mansions, Battersea, London, the younger daughter and second of three children of Cecil Villiers Bagot (1865–1940), a London solicitor, and his wife, Ethel (d. 1944), younger daughter of ...

Article

Baillie [Bailly], Charles (c. 1541–1625), conspirator and informer  

Peter Holmes

Baillie [Bailly], Charles (c. 1541–1625), conspirator and informer, was probably born in the Low Countries of Scottish descent. He was a good linguist, and from about 1564 found employment in the household of Mary, queen of Scots. By 1571 he was in the service of ...

Article

Ball, Sir (George) Joseph (1885–1961), intelligence officer and political administrator  

Robert Blake

revised

Ball, Sir (George) Joseph (1885–1961), intelligence officer and political administrator, was born at 24 Inkerman Street, Luton, Bedfordshire, on 21 September 1885, the son of George Ball, bookstall clerk, of Salisbury, and his wife, Sarah Ann Headey. He was educated at King's College School, Strand...

Article

Bamforth [née Ince], Rosemary Margaret Warren (1924–2018), codebreaker and pathologist  

Anne Pimlott Baker

Bamforth [née Ince], Rosemary Margaret Warren (1924–2018), codebreaker and pathologist, was born on 19 October 1924 at 31 Kersland Street, Hillhead, Glasgow, the younger child of Douglas Edward Ince (1890–1966), farmer and businessman, and his wife, Isobel Margaret, née...

Article

Bampfield, Joseph (1622–1685), army officer and spy  

Alan Marshall

Bampfield, Joseph (1622–1685), army officer and spy, was probably born in Devon, one of a family long established in the west country, but his parentage and early life are obscure. There is no validity for the earl of Clarendon's later statement that he was an Irishman, although he may have been educated at ...

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Cover Bancroft, Edward (1744–1821)

Bancroft, Edward (1744–1821)  

Maker: Nathan Branwhite

Edward Bancroft (1744–1821) by Nathan Branwhite, pubd 1801 (after Samuel Medley, 1800) [Institutors of the Medical Society of London; standing, far left] © Copyright The British Museum

Article

Bancroft, Edward (1744–1821), chemist and spy  

Anthony S. Travis

Bancroft, Edward (1744–1821), chemist and spy, was born at Westfield, Massachusetts, on 9 January 1744. His tutor was Silas Deane, later a member of the American congress. After a brief apprenticeship to a physician in Connecticut, Bancroft went to sea at the age of eighteen. In 1763 he was in ...

Article

Barry, Sir (Philip) Stuart Milner- (1906–1995), code-breaker and chess player  

Ralph Erskine

Barry, Sir (Philip) Stuart Milner- (1906–1995), code-breaker and chess player, was born on 20 September 1906 in Hendon, London, the second youngest of six children (five sons and one daughter) of Edward Leopold Milner-Barry, a schoolteacher (later professor of modern languages at the ...