Grave con­nec­tion to secrets and spies

His­to­rian DON­ALD STAN­LEY re­calls the de­fec­tor who joined his par­ents in their fi­nal rest­ing place

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NOSTALGIA -

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

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