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The Spy who Escaped: George Blake

Discussion in 'Codes, Cyphers & Spies' started by Ben Dover, Mar 24, 2016.

  1. Ben Dover

    Ben Dover Active Member

    Mar 16, 2016
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    The London borough of Croydon, GB
    Honestly, I don't know much about him, personally, but my Grandmother...
    Apparently, my grandfather was related to Michael Randle, this anti Nuclear Campaigner who, with Pat Pottie, helped George Blake escape!

    Michael Randle (second from left) with Bertrand Russell (centre) leading an anti-nuclear march in London, Feb 1961


    That's actually all I know about George Blake personally.
  2. Coder

    Coder Member

    Jan 15, 2009
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    George Blake, born 1922, was a double agent, working for both MI6 and the USSR in the Cold War. In 1960 he was convicted at the Old Bailey on five counts of espionage and sentenced to 14 years imprisonment on each count, the first three sentences to run consecutively (the other two concurrently), making a continuous term of 42 years, the longest such term ever imposed in a British court, apart from a life sentence. The sentence was subject to criticism, on humanitarian grounds, at the time.

    In Wormwood Scrubs Prison he was accompanied by Michael Randle and Pat Pottle, who, as two of the Wethersfield Six, were sentenced to 18 months imprisonment in 1962 for conspiracy to blockade the Wethersfield USAF base on 9 December 1961. They had no sympathy for Blake's politics, but shared the view that the sentence was inhumane, and gradually evolved a plan to "spring" him after their own release in 1963. The escape was eventually effected in 1966, and Blake was conveyed to Moscow, where he still resides.

    After much speculation and finger-pointing over many years over an escape for which no-one had been prosecuted, let alone convicted, Michael and Pat published their own account, The Blake Escape, which led to a prosecution at the Old Bailey, c 1990. To the chagrin of the prosecutor and the judge, the jury accepted the defendants' humanitarian motive and acquitted them of any crime.

    Pat Pottle died some years ago, a son of Blake attending his memorial meeting in London; Michael Randle continues active in nonviolent politics.

    The march mentioned in the caption to the photograph was incidental to the main event on 18 February 1961, the launch demonstration of the Committee of 100 (President, Bertrand Russell), a sit-down in Whitehall, outside the Ministry of Defence. On that occasion no-one was arrested.
    Ben Dover likes this.

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