What did noted authors Graham Greene, Arthur Ransome, Somerset Maugham, Compton Mackenzie, Malcom Muggeridge and philosopher A.J. 'Freddie' Ayer all have in common?
They all worked for Britain's MI6 during WWII.
From The Guardian:
They are among the many exotic characters who agreed to spy for Britain, mainly during wartime, who appear in a the first authorised history of MI6. The book even reveals that the intelligence agency's deputy chief, Claude Dansey, was seduced by "Robbie" Ross, said to have been Oscar Wilde's first lover.
It describes the antics of Ecclesiastic, mistress of a German Abwehr military intelligence officer in Lisbon run by "Klop" Ustinov, Peter Ustinov's father. It also tells the story of how a Dutch MI6 agent, Peter Tazelaar, was put ashore on a beach near the casino at Schevening, The Hague, in evening dress, smelling of alcohol and wearing a specially designed rubber oversuit to keep him dry while landing.
Greene, Mackenzie, Muggeridge and others who have written about their secret work make it clear they were reluctant spies approached by MI6 because of their access and knowledge of exotic parts of the world.
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