Forsyth: My journey from cub reporter to missions for MI6
Ashford-born author and journalist Frederick Forsyth has revealed his past working as an MI6 operative at the height of the Cold War.
Forsyth, famous for his espionage novels including The Day of the Jackal and The Odessa File, spoke about his time working undercover for more than 20 years in an interview with The Sunday Times.
He started out working for the Kentish Express as a 17-year-old cub reporter in 1956 before starting his National Service.
In the interview published at the weekend, he tells of his time working in the then East Germany carrying out several missions to help out MI6 throughout the 1960s and 1970s.
It comes as he releases his memoir called The Outsider.
Speaking to Sky News he said: “It doesn’t do any harm now to mention various adventures that were had way back.
“We’re talking a long time
‘i have never forgotten My sunny six weeks with the kentish express’ Forsyth, who recently celebrated his 77th birthday, was born in Ashford in 1938.
His parents were shopkeepers in North Street, just a stone’s throw away from the current offices of the Kentish Express.
His father ran a fur shop on the first floor and his mother a dress shop on the ago. It was the Cold War, it was serious and dangerous.
“I was asked to run a couple of errands, that’s all, no James Bond work, that’s rubbish.
“They would say ‘Freddie, we’ve got this little problem. ground floor. He wrote for the Kentish Express again in 2005 marking his time at the paper in a column marking the paper’s 150th birthday.
“I had already decided that after two years in the RAF, I wanted to be a journalist and foreign correspondent. In that year, the editor of the Kentish Express was a Mr Francis,” he Could you see your way clear to slipping into East Germany and pick something up?’. So the answer was ‘oh, I suppose so’.”
He also reveals many of his novels were based on his wrote. “Of course, I had not a clue what to do. So, I was simply attached to a reporter.
“I got my first taste of magistrates court, town council, cat show, Corn Exchange and involving wonderful rides to the myriad villages that made up east Kent in 1956.
“My first words ever printed experiences, which had to be vetted by MI6.
He added: “If I wanted to use stuff which I knew might be sensitive I would call.
“The reply was usually look ‘write it first and we’ll vet it’.” for the public concerned a small item of tittle-tattle, stemming from the vibrant metropolis of Peasmarsh, or was it High Halden?
“No matter, after six weeks my call-up papers arrived and I was gone.
“But I have never forgotten my sunny six weeks with the Kentish Express.”
Author Frederick Forsyth worked at the Kentish Express before starting his national service
The fur shop run by Frederick Forsyth’s parents in North Street is the first shop on the left of the picture
The bestselling author was told by MI6 “to slip into East Germany to pick something up”