Professor N J Coulson (1928 -1986)

Noel James Coulson, Professor of Oriental Laws at the University of London (1967 – 1986) served as a Parachute Regiment intelligence officer in Cyprus and the Suez Canal. He was appointed to a lectureship in Islamic Law at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in 1954. One of his stratagems to sift practicing Muslims from non-practicing ones was to organise parties during Ramadan.

Professor Glyn Daniel (1914 – 1986)

Glyn Daniel was among the first recruits to the central photographic interpretation unit of the RAF. In due course he was put in charge of his branch of intelligence for India and South East Asia. Returning to Cambridge in 194 he was appointed assistant lecturer in the Faculty of Archaeology and Anthropology. He served as Disney Professor of Archaeology at Cambridge from 1974 to 1981.

Robert Maxwell (1923 – 1991)

Ludwik Hoch’s – Maxwell’s name at birth – contact with the intelligence world possibly dates to the end of World War II, when he secured a job with the Allied forces in the internment camp in Iserlohn, interrogating prominent Nazis. These included Hermann Giskes, Hitler’s counter-espionage chief in the Netherlands and northern France. In the process Maxwell acquired valuable information on Britain’s SOE, including details that would have incriminated the organisation in acts of criminal inhumanity – sending agents to certain death in France in order to provide misleading information to the Germans on D-Day plans.

Maxwell’s venture in the publishing world, in particular the exchange of published scientific information with Russia, was bankrolled by British Intelligence: Dickie Franks, head of MI6’s DP4 section, in charge of British travellers behind the Iron Curtain, approached Maxwell for cooperation. Work on the KGB archives also indicates that the Soviets regarded him as a British agent. However, Oleg Gorievsky, the KGB defector and MI6 double agent who headed the KGB station in London, believed that Maxwell was a double agent!

Towards the end of his life, Maxwell was closely involved with the entire Israeli establishment. He was a major financial investor in Israel and an architect of the settlement of Russian Jews in Israel in the late 1980s. He was found dead from drowning by his yacht moored off Spain, and his burial on the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem, was close to a state funeral. The President of Israel, Chaim Herzog, delivered the grave-side oration.

However a very recent biography asserts that Maxwell was killed by Mossad “because he was threatening to expose his knowledge of Israeli secrets unless he received Israeli help in propping up his failing businesses”.

(Sources: The Guardian 22 January 1996 ‘Bankrolled by MI6’, G2, page 2; The Enemy Within by Seumas Milne, Verso, 1994; The Secret Life of Robert Maxwell – Foreign Body by Russell Davies, London: Bloomsbury 1995; Robert Maxwell: Israel’s Superspy, by Gordon Thomas and Martin Dillon, pub. Carrol & Graf, 2002)

Lord Rothschild (1910 – 1990)

When in 1971 Prime Minister Heath set up the Central Policy Review Staff, he selected Lord Rothschild, eminent biologist and former MI5 agent as its head. It was Rothschild to whom a Mrs Flora Solomon – a leading Zionist and a senior executive at Marks & Spencer – confided in Tel Aviv in 1962 that she believed Kim Philby to be a Soviet spy. When Rothschild returned to the UK, he relayed this to Sir Dick White, then Director General of MI6. At one stage in the 1960s, Rothschild was suspected to be the ‘fifth man’ in the infamous Cambridge spy ring that included Philby, Blunt and Burgess. Mrs Thatcher however refused to clear him of involvement in a House of Commons session in December 1986. MI5 agent Peter Wright of ‘Spycatcher’ fame claimed that in the early 1980s he had given details of his work to track down Soviet spies to the author Chapman Pincher on the advice of Lord Rothschild. Wright also claimed that Lord Rothschild said he would arrange Swiss banking facilities to pay him half the royalties from Pincher’s book.

(Sources: The Times 5 December 1986; The Guardian 27 November 1986)

Woodrow Wyatt (1918 – 1997)

Woodrow Wyatt, military intelligence officer in India in World War II, first entered Parliament in 1959 as a Labour MP, and in May 1951, when the Labour Party was in turmoil on what stand to take on the Korean war, served as under secretary at the War Office for a short period. However he was not a Harold Wilson supporter, and when Labour came back to power in 1964, Watt emerged as a parliamentary rebel. Out of Parliament in 1970, he resumed a career in journalism, and became an admirer and confidante of the Tory leader Margaret Thatcher. In 1987 he received a life peerage on her recommendation, but chose to sit as a cross-bench peer. According to Sir Alfred Sherman, another of Mrs Thatcher’s confidants, notes that one person “particularly insistent” on Wyatt’s entry to politics in 1945 “was his former girl-friend, ‘Taazi’ Shah Nawaz”

(The Guardian 9 December 1997)