THE PORTLAND SPY RING was one of the most infamous espionage cases from the Cold War. People the world over were shocked when its exposure revealed the shadowy world of deep cover KGB 'illegals' - spies operating under false identities stolen from the dead.
The CIA's revelation to MI5 in 1960 that a KGB agent was stealing crucial secrets from the world-leading submarine research base at Portland in Dorset looked initially like a dangerous but contained lapse of security by a British man and his mistress. But the couple were tailed by MI5 'watchers' to a covert meeting with a Canadian businessman, Gordon Lonsdale. The unsuspecting Lonsdale in turn led MI5's spycatchers to an innocent-looking couple in suburban Ruislip called the Krogers.
But within weeks the CIA rang the alarm - their critical source of intelligence was to defect within hours - and MI5 was forced to act immediately. The Krogers were exposed as two of the most important Russian 'illegals' ever, whom the Americans had been hunting for years. And Lonsdale was no Canadian, but a senior KGB controller.
This astonishing but true story of MI5's spyhunt is straight from the world of John le Carré and is told here for the first time using hitherto secret MI5 and FBI files, private family archives and original interviews. Its tentacles stretch around the world - from America, to the USSR, Canada, New Zealand, Europe and the UK. DEAD DOUBLES is a gripping episode of Cold War history, and a case that fully justified the West's paranoia about infiltration and treachery.
The definitive account of the famous Portland Spies - fascinating, detailed and completely gripping -- Richard J Aldrich, author GCHQ
I read DEAD DOUBLES with admiration...fascinating and meticulous...Using all available American, British and Russian sources, Trevor Barnes has produced a remarkable book -- Harvey Klehr, co-author SPIES: THE RISE AND FALL OF THE KGB IN AMERICA
A highly readable account of a classic Cold War MI5 investigation. Assiduously researched and a real page-turner -- Nigel West, author of MI5 and THE ILLEGALS
Excellent and riveting, with a cast of characters as engaging as in any novel. Former KGB officer Vladimir Putin's modern-day Russia employs the same espionage methods now against the West. The themes of Dead Doubles
- deception, betrayal, blackmail, chemical and biological weapons, atomic secrets, international rivalry - are as topical today as in the 1960s -- John Sipher, Former Head CIA Russian Operations and CIA Station Chief in Asia and Europe
A gripping and brilliantly researched history of the rise and fall of the Portland Spy Ring, which reveals much about the operations and personnel of Russian, British and American intelligence at the height of the Cold War -- Christopher Andrew, author of DEFENCE OF THE REALM and THE SECRET WORLD
An enthralling account of one of the last great spy mysteries of the 20th Century - I loved it -- John Preston, author of A VERY ENGLISH SCANDALDead Doubles
will keep readers on the edge of their seats, turning its pages like a delicious spy novel. Its pace and wide scope of research take us into a hidden corner of Cold War England in the early 1960s -- Katherine Sibley, author of FIRST LADY FLORENCE HARDING and RED SPIES IN AMERICA
Reads like a le Carré thriller - only true. Rich in detail. A must read -- Ray Batvinis, former FBI Supervisory Special Agent of Counterintelligence and author of Hoover's Secret War Against Axis Spies
A rare combination of thrilling story and carefully documented history, the writing has a remarkable "you are there" quality that transports the reader back to the height of the Cold War -- Nicholas Reynolds, former CIA Officer and author of NYT bestseller WRITER, SAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY
An exemplary work of historical scholarship that is also highly entertaining, Dead Doubles
is the definitive history of the Portland spy ring -- John Earl Haynes, co-author of EARLY COLD WAR SPIES
Gordon Lonsdale was a classic KGB illegal resident who never gave up his true name, background, or his agents' identity after his arrest and imprisonment, before he was exchanged for Greville Wynne. Even his memoirs, ghosted by Kim Philby, didn't answer these questions. But Trevor Barnes sets the record straight in his new book based on archival MI5 records and Russian sources. It is well written, thoroughly documented, and a most valuable contribution to the intelligence literature -- Hayden B Peake, Colonel, Military Intelligence, USA, Ret.
Even better than any spy novel -- Matt Chorley ― TIMES RADIO
Fact outdoes fiction in this fascinating, revealing and gripping account of how MI5 tracked down the infamous Portland Spy ring, from the first clue to their arrest in 1961 ― CHOICE
Winston Churchill once wrote of the world of espionage that 'the actual facts of many cases were in every respect equal to the most fantastic inventions of romance and melodrama'. His words could certainly be applied to the Portland Spy Ring, memorably recounted here by Trevor Barnes. After the CIA told MI5 in 1960 someone was stealing secrets
from the submarine research base at Portland, Dorset, the information led to extraordinary revelations. Unlikely spies were living in suburban Ruislip and, under false identities stolen from the dead, a circle of deep-cover KGB agents was operating in Britain
-- Nick Rennison ― DAILY MAIL
About the Author
TREVOR BARNES studied espionage in 1920s Britain and the CIA as a history student at the University of Cambridge and as a Kennedy Scholar at Harvard. His pioneering research was published in the Historical Journal. Subsequently he worked as a BBC radio and TV senior journalist on programmes including Radio 4's Today and BBC Two's Newsnight, and has written for, among others, The Times, The Observer, The Evening Standard and The Boston Globe. He is the author of three crime novels and also researched and wrote Trial at Torun, a BBC radio play about the trial in Poland of a secret-service murder case. He lives in West London.