M: Maxwell Knight, MI5’s Greatest Spymaster

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A gripping 40-minute talk about two remarkable female spies and the man who ran them: an animal-loving drop-out who went on to become MI5’s greatest spymaster.

Based on Henry Hemming’s critically acclaimed M, described by Ben Macintyre in The Times as ‘fascinating’, and by Max Hastings in The Sunday Times as ‘excellent’, this talk reveals the dramatic true story of a maverick MI5 officer who recruited two women in the 1930s to penetrate the British Communist movement. Their skilful, deft work led to the exposure of a Soviet spy-ring in the Woolwich Arsenal, a legendary court case in which one of M’s spies was hailed as ‘Britain’s counter-espionage heroine’.

Rather than try to cram everything from M into a single talk, Mr Hemming will focus instead on a single thrilling episode.

The event will be chaired by Lord Evans of Weardale, RUSI Senior Associate Fellow and Director General of the British Security Service from 2007-2013.


Henry Hemming is the author of five works of non-fiction including M, or Agent M in the US, In Search of the English EccentricMisadventure in the Middle East, shortlisted for the Dolman Travel Book Award, and Churchill’s Iceman, published in the US as The Ingenious Mr Pyke, where it became a New York Times bestseller. He has written for The Sunday TimesDaily TelegraphDaily MailThe Times, The Economist, FT Magazine and The Washington Post, and has given interviews on Radio 4’s Today Programme and NBC’s Today Show and spoken at schools, festivals and companies including RDF Media, The RSA, Science Museum, Frontline Club and The School of Life.

Lord Jonathan Evans was director general of the British Security Service (MI5) from 2007-13. As head of MI5 he was one of the British Government's principal advisors on national security threats including terrorism, cyber security and espionage and was a member of the prime minister's National Security Council. He also led MI5's work to ensure the safety and security of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London. In the course of a long and varied career in MI5 Jonathan worked as both an investigator and an operational officer on a variety of national security threats, specialising in counter-terrorism. He became the director responsible for MI5's International Counter-Terrorism work on 1 September 2001, ten days before 9/11. Jonathan will shortly be joining the Board of HSBC Holdings. He has a Certificate in Company Direction from the Institute of Directors, an Honorary Doctorate from Bristol University and is a Freeman on the City of London. He writes an occasional series for the Sunday Times on classic cars.

To attend this event, please register online using the "Register Now" button above.    

This event is for U-35 Members. If you are not an U-35 RUSI Member, but would like to attend this event, please email Lieke Bos at LiekeB@rusi.org

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