Grave connection to secrets and spies
Historian DONALD STANLEY recalls the defector who joined his parents in their final resting place
THE churchyard of Holy Trinity, Penn is typical of that in many English villages except for those for whom it is their last resting place.
In recent times they have included two leading members of the suffragette movement, Dr Louisa Garrett Anderson and Dr Flora Murray, the children’s author Alison Uttley, and David Blakeley the victim of the last woman, Ruth Ellis, to be hung for murder.
Also buried there with his wife is Sir Donald Maclean, one time Leader of the Parliamentary Liberal Party, Leader of the Opposition and a Privy Counsellor.
One of their sons, also named Donald, spied for Russia.
His ashes were scattered on their grave.
Young Donald Maclean joined the Communist Party upon going to Cambridge University and together with others of the notorious Cambridge Five was recruited in the 1930s by the Russian NKVD.
When interviewed by the Civil Service Commission he succeeded in convincing it that he had become disenchanted with communism and, as instructed by his Russian controller, duly entered the Diplomatic Service.
His demeanour and social connections protected him from suspicion.
Initially he worked in London monitoring the involvement of various nations in the Spanish Civil War.
He was then transferred to the British Embassy in Paris where he was concerned with the relationship between the British Empire and Germany, and between Britain and France including their planned involvement when the USSR invaded Finland.
Whilst in Paris he met and married a likeminded American who helped him pass information to Russia.
Escaping ahead of the advancing Germans he became the Foreign Office’s expert on economic warfare before being sent to the Embassy in Washington.
There he was appointed Secretary of the Combined Policy Committee on atomic energy matters which enabled him to keep Russia informed of the development of the atom bomb.
In 1948 Maclean was appointed Head of Chancery at the Embassy in Cairo.
However the strain of living a double life led to him returning to the Foreign Office in London where he was given charge of the America Department.
Another Russian spy, Kim Philby infiltrated into the British Intelligence Service, learned that American intercepts of Russian communications had identified Maclean as working for the Russians.
Maclean fled to Moscow where he was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labour and until his death worked as an economic adviser to the Russian government.
Team: A portrait of Winston Churchill dominates a meeting at which Minister Sir John Balfour talks with second Secretary N J Henderson, Head of the Chancery W.D Allen and First Secretary Donald MacLean in 1947 Sleeper: The ashes of Donald Maclean were scattered in the churchyard in Penn
Flight: Melinda Maclean, wife of Donald, and her children at Northolt Airport in 1951
Clockwise from top right –Donald Maclean, Kim Philby, Guy Burgess and Anthony Blunt