Another memorable woman: Julia Pirie, life long communist

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Another memorable woman: Julia Pirie, life long communist

Postby re-rose rose » Mon Jun 27, 2016 8:13 pm

MI5 employee Julia Pirie was so successful at infiltrating the communist party that they paid her pension to the end of her days:

In Pirie's obituary, The Telegraph writes that she was "a small, dumpy woman with the appearance of a confirmed and rather matronly spinster", whose "unassuming demeanour masked a sharp intellect and the powers of observation essential for the task of a secret agent."[2] She worked her way into the inner circles of the party, eventually working directly under party secretary John Gollan. This put her in a position to pass information from Gollan's office to her MI5 handlers.[2] The Telegraph speculates that she may have been the inside agent who provided crucial information for two important MI5 operations described in Peter Wright's book Spycatcher.

In 1978, Pirie retired from the Party. By this time it had been much weakened by Soviet invasions of Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968. The Party paid her pension until her death.[2]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Pirie

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Re: Another memorable woman: Julia Pirie, life long communis

Postby re-rose rose » Mon Jun 27, 2016 8:20 pm

Note the mention of the SOE recruiting from the FANY's...many of those girls, like the WRAAFS and the WRNS, were swept into careers that could never have imagined for themselves.

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Re: Another memorable woman: Julia Pirie, life long communis

Postby nate » Mon Jun 27, 2016 9:48 pm

I'd never heard of the FANYs but they sound impressive!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Aid ... g_Yeomanry
It was formed as the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry in 1907 as a first aid link between the field hospitals and the front lines, and was given the yeomanry title as all its members were originally mounted on horseback.

A small part of FANY - highly secret at the time and later famous - served as a parent unit for many women who undertook espionage work for the Special Operations Executive. Recruits were trained in one of four fields: Motor Transport, Wireless Telegraphy, Codes or General. They worked on coding and signals, acting as conductors for agents and providing administration and technical support for the Special Training Schools. Their work was top secret and often highly skilled. Members operated in several theatres of war, including North Africa, Italy, India and the Far East.[11] Thirty-nine of the 50 women sent into France by SOE were FANYs of whom 13 were captured and murdered by the Gestapo.[12] Many decorations, of both the UK and other countries, were awarded for their service and outstanding courage. Among these, four of the highest UK decorations were the George Cross awarded to Odette Hallowes (who was incarcerated and tortured, but survived the war), to Violette Szabo and Noor Inayat Khan (both perished in captivity and were decorated posthumously). Nancy Wake's awards included the George Medal.[13][14]

Elsewhere abroad, FANY agents served the Finnish Government;[15] a section was attached to the Polish Army; and a Kenyan section, formed in 1935, was made the official East African unit by the War Office in August 1941, and was very active during the war. This section took women from all over the southern half of Africa.

A memorial at St Paul's Church, Knightsbridge commemorates 52 named members who were killed on active service with the Corps in the Second World War.[16]
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