Key figures in Daphne Park's Career...
Lt Col Frank Spooner, Park’s commanding officer while she was posted to Milton Hall in Peterborough to train the Jedburgh teams in codes preparatory to them being parachuted into France ahead of D Day. The two clashed leading to both being transferred out…he to a face-saving senior appointment, she demoted.
Three men who opened doors when all appeared closed……
(1) Leo Marks, The head of codes in the Special Operations Executive (SOE) in World War II. Park applied to join but failed because she failed the exam at the end of her course when she concentrated on writing as essay on the purpose of military codes instead of completing the (very basic) aptitude test. Fortunately for her an examiner sent her essay to Marks more to amuse him rather than anything else. He was intrigued by the personality behind the essay and invited her in to meet him. He recruited her there and then.
(2) Lt Col Ian Garrow DSO Helped form the PAT escape line, a means for repatriating soldiers from the Occupied Territories (France, Belgium and Holland) in World War II. He was captured and interned by the Germans but escaped and eventually made it to England. After the war he was instrumental in securing entry to Field Intelligence Agency Technical (FIAT) for Park after she was turned down by SIS on her initial attempt.
(3) George Kennedy-Young CMG, OBE, Was head-of-station in Vienna in 1947 when Park was posted there as part of the FIAT operation. Park identified a potential Soviet defector. She arranged for Young to organise the defector’s escape to Britain (and for Young to take the credit for it). In return he sponsored her entry into SIS which she joined in August 1948. The general view of Young was that he was exceptionally gifted, energetic and intelligent but also mad and like King George III was “getting madder by the day”. He reached the rank of Deputy-Chief of SIS (at least a rung too high) but was then quietly eased out.
Kim Philby, The great betrayer, excluding bonhomie… Park was fortunate in avoiding meeting him, he could have scuppered her SovBloc career before it even started.
Picture right: Philby's other face...
Picture right: Philby's other face...
George Blake, The other ‘great betrayer’… between Blake and Philby, SIS’s counter-Soviet operations were betrayed for close on 21 years. When Blake’s treachery was discovered SIS head office dispatched two telegrams to every overseas station. The first stated ‘THE FOLLOWING NAME IS A TRAITOR’, the second, ‘GEORGE BLAKE’. Blake’s damage to the morale of SIS was as least as harmful as his effect on its counter-Soviet operations.
Park’s Chiefs in SIS...
Sir Stewart Menzies, The wartime chief of SIS (1939-52) and Park’s first C. He was the wiliest of Whitehall warriors. His handling of the wartime ULTRA secrets probably saved SIS from radical overhaul after the war. Menzies had two secretaries, one of whom (Evelyn Jones) he made his mistress on the promise ‘to marry’ when he was ‘free’. When his wife died he did not fulfil his promise, marrying into money instead. Miss Jones attempted suicide but was revived. The incident was a cause of great alarm in Whitehall; if the Chief of SIS could conceal a mistress what else might he be concealing?
Sir John Sinclair, Park’s second ‘C’ in SIS (1952-56). Rigid and unimaginative he was a poor choice. Sir William HAYTER a senior foreign office official with strong links to the intelligence services once remarked “a Service headed up by Sinclair would be wonderfully organised but would never find anything out.”
Sir Dick White, Park’s boss from 1956 to 1968, he once remarked to a subordinate in SIS that “all our secretaries need are good legs and good breeding”, but he saw through Philby. White remains the only person (to date) to head up both SIS and MI5. He could be timid on occasion (Park once describing him as a ‘coward’) but he was a reforming figure, dragging SIS into the 20th century, very often against its will.
Sir John Ogilvy Rennie, The surprise choice to follow Dick White as Chief of SIS in 1968. Rennie was a Foreign Office appointee who had never served in SIS. His appointment was a sign that the reforms introduced by White required an outsider to ensure they were implemented fully. He resigned early from the post (1973) when his son and daughter-in-law were arrested over the alleged importation of large quantities of illegal drugs. Maurice Oldfield, passed over for the job, was appointed to the reinstated post of Deputy-Chief to run the Service on a day-to-day basis.
Sir Maurice Oldfield, The internal favourite to succeed Dick White as Chief but (as stated) was passed over in favour of Rennie. He succeeded Rennie in 1973 and was a popular choice being the first SIS career officer to be appointed to the top job in the Service. His time as C was seen as a success, its (known) highlight being the recruitment of the key KGB source, Oleg GORDIEVSKY. Following his retirement in 1978 Oldfield was asked by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to take on the responsibility of Director of Intelligence in Northern Ireland. While he was in post his homosexual leanings were discovered and he was forced to resign “for misleading the Service’s positive vetters”.
Sir Arthur Temple ‘Dickie’ Franks, Park’s final Chief being appointed on the retirement of Oldfield in 1978. Franks was another SIS career officer having served in the Special Operations Executive (SOE) during the Second World War. Franks was the officer who handled Greville WYNNE, the Unofficial Assistant who was the main external point of contact for the GRU officer Oleg PENKOVSKY who spied for SIS and for the CIA in the early 1960s.
Larry Devlin, The CIA’s Chief of Station (COS) in Leopoldville during the time of Congolese independence and the overthrow/assasination of the country’s first prime minister, Patrice Lumumba. Both Park and Devlin were intricitly involved in the plotting that led to Lumumba’s downfall. They remained lifelong friends.
Patrice Lumumba, The first prime minister of an independent Congo, was executed on the 17th January 1961. Both the CIA and SIS were complicit in his killing.
Daphne Park, Pictured in mid-career, probably while she was posted to Lusaka during the time of Rhodesian UDI.
Dr Kenneth Kaunda, Was the first president of an independent Zambia, his election to that post was facilitated by Park as SIS head-of-station in Lusaka. She also helped abort a coup attempt directed against him. As a consequence the two became very close leading to unfounded gossip by Foreign Office mandarins that the two were “lovers”.
Ho Chi Minh, Was the leader of North Vietnam from its establishment until his death in 1969. Park arrived en post in Hanoi just months after he had passed away. Any hopes that the US had that his death would lead to aless compromising attitude on the part of the North Vietnamese were soon dashed. Park was one of America’s few direct sources in the ‘enemy’ capital for the duration of her posting (1969-70).