Thomas Joseph Kendrick was one of MI6’s most senior officers and spymasters in the 20th century and yet little is known about him. During the 1930s he was placed at the heart of Europe’s espionage hub – the city of Vienna. There he crossed paths with the infamous Kim Philby and Edith Tudor-Hart, figures that would later rock the core of the British Secret Service. After Hitler’s annexed Austria in March 1938, Kendrick was swamped by a human catastrophe of unparalleled proportions. He and his staff worked in 12 hour shifts to save over 200 Austrian Jews a day, in a rescue mission which parallels Oskar Schindler. But another dangerous game was at foot. Dubbed “the elusive Englishman” by Hitler’s Secret Service, Kendrick’s real identity eluded the Abwehr for over a year until finally a double agent denounced him.
Kendrick’s arrest by the Gestapo caused panic in Whitehall and MI6 circles because it was feared that the whole the European network of British spies was at risk? After Kendrick’s sudden release from Gestapo headquarters in Vienna, he was unceremoniously thrown out of Austria and returned to Britain with a cloud of espionage charges hanging over him. He disappeared from public view but not from the ranks of the British Secret Service. He re-emerged during the Second World War, operating first from the Tower of London, and became MI6’s spymaster in chief against Nazi Germany. This is a story of betrayal, steely nerve and daring, but also honours a gentleman who bore the secrets of his nation to his grave with supreme loyalty. Out of the shadows of MI6 secrecy, his full story emerges for the very first time.
Helen Fry was raised in North Devon and went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree and Ph.D. She has written numerous books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain. Her highly acclaimed book The King’s Most Loyal Enemy Aliens: Germans who Fought for Britain in the Second World War received international media coverage. The book is now out in paperback as Churchill’s Secret Soldiers. Helen has worked closely with war veterans with whom she has built up a special rela...
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