Baroness Daphne Park (1921-2010) was described by the Guardian as Britain’s ‘Queen of Spies’ and was widely acknowledged as being one of Britain’s leading Cold War Intelligence officers. She was the first member of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), other than a retiring Chief, to be elevated to the House of Lords having previously been appointed CMG and OBE.
Park lived an extraordinary life. In 1933, the eleven year old was plucked from mud-hut poverty in the heart of Africa to live with her grand-aunts in London and be brought up – in equally poverty stricken circumstances – in England. Seven years later she had won two scholarships to Oxford University and another to live and study in France for three months just as Hitler’s armies were massing on its borders. In 1943 with Oxford behind her she signed up as a nursing auxiliary with FANY, yet within 18 months she was briefing Special Forces troops on the eve of them being parachuted into battle behind German lines. She continued to distinguish herself after joining the post-War Secret Intelligence Service. In Moscow she played a key role in assisting the American CIA to acquire the secrets of Stalin’s anti-aircraft missile defence system ringing the city. In Africa she “wrote the book” for SIS on how to handle operations in the continent after serving in the newly independent Congo and later in Lusaka. And on it went, for 31 years in total, rising to Controller/Western Hemisphere; the highest rank achieved by a woman officer up to that time. But it wasn’t all work; the book will reveal details of a number of her love affairs, one of which was to scar her emotionally for the rest of her adult life.
In writing this book Paddy Hayes has gained the cooperation of former SIS colleagues of Park, of friends, academics, writers and diplomats. In fact he had the opportunity during her lifetime to speak personally with Park about her time in SIS and to ask her for her observations about the murder of Patrice Lumumba and other pertinent issues.
Daphne Park; Queen of Spies by Paddy Hayes will be the first biography of a major British Cold War intelligence figure since Tom Bower’s book on Dick White in 1997 (The Perfect English Spy).
Paddy Hayes is an entrepreneur with 41 years trading experience under his belt. In that period he started three businesses. The first was a business intelligence provider, the second a marketing communications agency and the third, which he continues to run, is an international research practice. During this time he has also been a close observer of the clandestine operations of secret intelligence services. His work took him behind the Iron Curtain to Moscow and to East Berlin and to many of the cities with almost legendary associations with espionage; Vienna, Shanghai, Bangkok...
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