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how espionage worked in the field

John le Carre.

I’m reading Tinker Tailor Soldier Soldier Spy for the third time, the first was over forty years ago and it’s taken me this long to say I can follow the story with any confidence.

But you’ll never know until you read it, and until you read it you will never know the subtle intricacies of movement and recognition used by Russian and English field agents during the cold war.

Both sides had rules, and one of these was the Rule of Action in the Case of Premature Disengagement. The Americans called the manoeuvre the Dump and Run.

~~

Two men had arranged to meet at a certain place at a certain time; if one of them failed to show there was a fallback meeting routine in say one hours time and somewhere else. As arranged.

If fallback 2 didn’t work then fallback 3 was used using the same time and remote rules. As arranged.

Unsafe times you see, watchers all around, skilled watchers, trained in their art.

One train ticket. One bus ticket. Both for the same day. Found on a body.

A recognition system was necessary in the initial stages of the meeting as neither man knew each other, they just shared a purpose. One man might be bareheaded and wearing an unseasonal pullover under his coat. That sort of thing.

Then the more intimate exchange, the real bona-fides: half a raggedly torn postcard say, one piece each, a missing page from a book, that sort of thing.

One slip of paper torn from a book. Found on the body.

Then there is the procedure that’s used when everything goes pear-shaped and all thought of the meeting has to be abandoned. And everything you have brought to it has to be immediately discarded because with one man seen to be fatally compromised the enemy must be very close indeed.

A man was seen standing above the steps, looking down at the body on the beach for about five minutes.

A book with a tear that matched the slip was found in the back footwell of a car parked nearby.

~~

For the Dude.

Spies may also need to hot-wire cars from time to time.

Continued here:

https://tomsbytwo.com/2017/10/09/half-a-dozen-square-shaped-envelopes/

55 Comments Post a comment
  1. Or even an out of place vertical line on a book cover?

    September 15, 2017
    • Have you read the Karla series, GC, all three books?

      September 15, 2017
  2. No, not as yet but the vertical line is on GFs book, back page. No one seems to have noticed it and I have often wondered why 🙂 Read Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, video’s not bad either.

    September 15, 2017
    • Required reading, GC, all of them, and not for the ill-attentioned.

      September 15, 2017
  3. ellen #

    It is unfair to fault GF for not responding. There is a reason this crime hasn’t been solved. Look at how the Magnoson crime was a warning. Jessica had a small child.
    Le Carre doesn’t give away his secrets either. His books have been written with a governmental filter applied.

    September 16, 2017
    • His books are fiction, Ellen, what you are saying makes no sense. Have you read the Karla series?

      September 16, 2017
  4. There is no way that I would criticise GF, he is an old-school copper with more street smarts than anyone else I know. A good bloke through and through and smart as a whip. Those that do criticise have a few cogs slipping in my view.

    September 16, 2017
    • GF’s investigative engine was missing the gears the intelligence community were using, SAPOL didn’t stand a chance, still don’t, neither do we we.

      September 16, 2017
  5. Deception is a state of mind and the mind of the State.

    September 16, 2017
  6. Ellen #

    George Smiley was based on Maurice Oldfield. LeCarre is a non de plume of an actual spy.. You write the book you can get away with. I would read more of his books but for his politically correct censorship. All the government wants you to know is censored.

    September 17, 2017
  7. The Smiley character was based on one of Le Carre’s colleagues, his name was John Bingham and he too was an intelligence agent. There is a book written about him, I have it.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/10678879/Spy-who-inspired-George-Smiley-accused-John-le-Carre-of-giving-comfort-to-Britains-enemies.html

    September 17, 2017
    • Misca #

      Someone reported Joyce Denbigh-Russell as a “Nazi Supporter”. It was someone she stayed with in Adelaide just before she married. It’s interesting. Someone somewhere in all of the SM discussions brought her up. Her pal Allison Verco was at her wedding. Someone else has suggested that Jess was at Ada Francis’s wedding. Could it all be true?

      September 17, 2017
  8. Misca #

    Sometimes fact disguises itself in fiction. Sometimes fact disguises itself in fiction.

    September 17, 2017
    • Misca #

      Sometimes fiction disguises itself in fact.

      September 17, 2017
  9. Misca #

    Pete – Did you delete the “spy like horse” business? I can’t find it!? I think it’s I’mportant. : (

    September 17, 2017
  10. Misca #

    Horrie Pile

    September 17, 2017
  11. Misca #

    I am beyond patience with the friggin spellcheck!

    September 17, 2017
  12. Clive #

    Misca, Australian Women’s Weekly 27 Jan 1940, Page 33; The Advertiser 10 June 1940 Page 6; Sydney Morning Herald 9 Aug 1940 Page 3, same paper 15 Aug 1940 Page 17.

    September 17, 2017
  13. Misca #

    Clive – Yes. I have all of those. And many more. I do believe that she and Allison are somehow connected. The connection is there somewhere. We just haven’t found it yet.

    September 17, 2017
  14. Misca #

    Alison Verco was in Adelaide sometime between March 14-20, 1940. It’s likely that Joy was with her as they were living together in Sydney. It would be interesting to find out who the “informer” is in her file as they state that she stayed with them. Possibly a Verco family member?

    September 18, 2017
    • Informer, file? Give.

      September 18, 2017
      • Misca #

        NAA – Barcode 5426846.

        September 19, 2017
  15. Clive #

    Apparently, Alison Verco lived in Molesworth St, North Adelaide (family home?) and vacated in Victor Harbor in March 1940.

    September 18, 2017
    • Misca #

      Yes and I suspect that Joyce (Joy) vacationed with her.

      September 18, 2017
  16. Clive #

    Mrs Arnold Bean stayed with an Evelyn Scarfe at Pier St, Glenelg before flying to Singapore on 30 November 1948

    September 18, 2017
    • Where was Mr Bean? Anyone getting out of town on that date and with those connections has to be worth a little attention.

      This from Cipher M (with comments by the freak show)

      http://ciphermysteries.com/2016/03/26/margaret-alison-bean-alison-verco

      September 18, 2017
    • Misca #

      Yes he did. He was already married to Alison. She died in 1949 and he later married her good friend Helena May Lynch (who was previously married to Linden James Wood (d.1952).

      September 18, 2017
  17. Misca #

    I can’t remember now and I’ll have to go back but John Bain Lyons (who found SM) is related to this whole crew. I posted about this either here or on cipher.

    September 18, 2017
  18. Clive #

    In February 1948, Mrs M.A. Bean stayed with a Mrs H.P. McLachlan in Partridge St, Glenelg. I wonder if it was 105 Partridge St? AS this was the house on Partridge St, that Jessie & Prosper moved into after moving out of their Moseley St address.

    September 18, 2017
    • Misca #

      Clive –

      “MRS. Arnold Bean, formerly Alison Verco, has left hospital, and is living for the next few weeks in the home of her sister, Mrs. Alec McLachlan, at Pennington terace, North Adelaide.”

      http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/55908618?searchTerm=alison%20verco&searchLimits=

      September 19, 2017
      • Misca #

        13 November 1948:

        http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/55897726?searchTerm=Alison%20Verco&searchLimits=

        Mrs. Linden Wood is Helen Lynch and she later marries Mr. Arnold Bean.

        September 19, 2017
        • Misca #

          “Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Bean, Mrs. McLachlan’s brother – in – law and sister, from Kua.a Lumpur. who have been staying at the Pennington terrace house, will go to Glenelg to stay with Mrs.H. P. McLachlan for a fortnight.

          The Partridge address is Alexander’s father’s address. Hugh Patterson.

          September 19, 2017
          • Misca #

            Hugh passed away in 1939. His last address was 38 Partridge Street but perhaps they had several properties?

            September 19, 2017
            • Misca #

              I don’t think so. I think the Beans stayed at 38 Partridge.

              September 19, 2017
  19. Misca #

    Mrs. M. A. Bean is Alison Verco. Mrs. H.P. McLachlan is her sister Helen Agnes who married Alexander Patterson McLachlan.

    September 18, 2017
  20. ellen #

    Misca: Could you connect the dots a bit? So does this mean that a friend of Jessica’s, Alison (who appears to be somewhat hoity toity and married to someone connected to mining interests} died suddenly around the same time as the Magnoson baby and the coroner’s decision came down…..and in Malay Singapore, George Marshall’s old stomping ground? I am trying to make sense of all the genealogic posts.

    September 19, 2017
    • Misca #

      I’m not sure how to connect those dots for you Ellen. Alison was born into a well-connected respectable family, she married a fellow who most definitely had connections to the mining industry and she died on July 5, 1949. I believe that she died in Australia but I could be wrong. I have never attempted to connect her death date to Clive Magnuson’s death in June.

      Do you think that there is a connection?

      September 19, 2017
  21. Misca #

    Clive – Evelyn Scarfe was living at 26 Sth Esplanade, New Glenelg in 1941. Still scoping around for later address if there is one.

    September 19, 2017
  22. Misca #

    Clive – Evelyn Scarfe’s mother was John Bain Lyon’s (“Jack”) cousin.

    September 19, 2017
    • Misca #

      He supposedly ran home to ring police. His home was not close. Perhaps he ran over to his cousins house.

      September 19, 2017
  23. Misca #

    Hey John Sanders – Maybe if you make an effort to be polite Pete would let you back? There’s so much to discuss!

    September 19, 2017
  24. Misca #

    Are you guys all sleeping? Here’s an interesting link (with scroll down to comments included). Joanne Priest. A k-zillion articles on trove and basically nothing on her family? Very weird. Her grandfather was a Rev. James Jefferis.

    September 19, 2017
    • Not sleeping, gathering data, spreadsheet work – looking at the connections. Carry on, and Sanders, get on with the job.

      September 19, 2017
  25. Misca #

    Ooops. Here’s the link:

    http://michellepotter.org/articles/the-listeners-a-ballet-by-joanna-priest

    I wonder if Michelle Potter knows that Joanne had a deaf daughter?

    September 19, 2017
  26. Clive #

    Apparently, Margaret Alison Bean died 5 July 1949 (Adelaide?) was buried at Victor Harbor, SA cemetery.

    September 19, 2017
  27. Misca #

    Gordon – As usual, I cannot post on your site. Here:

    The Wooroora Producer is chock full of Harkness family names in the period between 1936-37. Most relate to a James or a John or a “J” who was an avid cricket player. Unfortunately, none of those initials really relate to Jessica’s “known” family. It wouldn’t surprise me if one of the daughters of a family was a nurse. Also – look above the noted listing and there is an “A Harkness” mentioned. Sounds like a prominent Harkness family in that area.

    September 19, 2017
  28. It’s interesting in that it wasn’t picked up and noted before, just one of those things I guess. I am sorry you’re not able to post comments on the blog and I have no idea why. I thought we had it sorted before and others seem to comment OK. Could be a location thing, will try again and get some more input.

    September 20, 2017
  29. ellen #

    So by 1950 Sister J is doing home health nursing (with or without a diploma?), while her hubby hustles used cars. Meanwhile, she has two toddlers at her feet. (Brings to mind the Beatles tune Lady Madonna) It doesn’t seem she would travel in the same social circles as Allison and Joyce. Was there a fall from grace for our heroine?

    September 21, 2017
  30. Misca #

    Could be Jessie Read Harkness (1901-1985). Electoral rolls show her as living in Balaklava, Wakefield in 1941. Father John Harkness, mother Susan Hay Read. Lots of siblings. She was a nurse. Interesting thing though, the two family groups may well be related as they both originate from Sanquhar, Dumfriesshire. Also there’s a distant intermingle with a name that frequently appears on Prosper’s side. I’ll take another look when I get a chance.

    September 21, 2017
  31. Misca #

    Ellen – Maybe. I have thought along similar lines. It’s possible.

    September 21, 2017
  32. Clive #

    See “News” 13 June 1931, Page 2 Nursing Midwifery Exam results for May 1931

    September 21, 2017
  33. Clive, I’m swinging the J2 comments to the latest thread, ta.

    September 21, 2017

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