Greville Wynne
Greville Maynard Wynne was a British spy
SPY is a three-letter acronym that may refer to:* SPY , ticker symbol for Standard & Poor's Depositary Receipts* SPY , a satirical monthly, trademarked all-caps* SPY , airport code for San Pédro, Côte d'Ivoire...

 famous for his involvement with, and imprisonment as a result of, the espionage activities of Oleg Penkovsky
Oleg Penkovsky
Oleg Vladimirovich Penkovsky, codenamed HERO ; April 23, 1919, Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia, Soviet Russia, – May 16, 1963, Soviet Union), was a colonel with Soviet military intelligence in the late 1950s and early 1960s who informed the United Kingdom and the United States about the Soviet Union...



Wynne was an electrical engineer, trained at the University of Nottingham
University of Nottingham
The University of Nottingham is a public research university based in Nottingham, United Kingdom, with further campuses in Ningbo, China and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia...

, and a businessman. He was recruited to MI5
The Security Service, commonly known as MI5 , is the United Kingdom's internal counter-intelligence and security agency and is part of its core intelligence machinery alongside the Secret Intelligence Service focused on foreign threats, Government Communications Headquarters and the Defence...

 just before World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. He was transferred to MI6 and assisted with the 1959 defection of the Soviet intelligence officer, Major Kuznov.

He was an intermediary for the important Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n spy Oleg Penkovsky
Oleg Penkovsky
Oleg Vladimirovich Penkovsky, codenamed HERO ; April 23, 1919, Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia, Soviet Russia, – May 16, 1963, Soviet Union), was a colonel with Soviet military intelligence in the late 1950s and early 1960s who informed the United Kingdom and the United States about the Soviet Union...

, who was engaged in selling arms and weapons secrets to British intelligence. Penkovsky's activities were revealed by Jack Dunlap
Jack Dunlap
Jack E. Dunlap was a United States Army sergeant stationed at the National Security Agency who later became a spy for the Soviet Union in the early 1960s.-NSA spying activities:...

, a double-agent working for the KGB
The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

. The KGB swiftly drew the conclusion that there was a mole in their ranks and set about uncovering him.

The Soviets concluded that one of the likely conduits of information would be a British diplomat in Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

. George Blake
George Blake
George Blake is a former British spy known for having been a double agent in the service of the Soviet Union. Discovered in 1961 and sentenced to 42 years in prison, he escaped from Wormwood Scrubs prison in 1966 and fled to the USSR...

, a Soviet mole inside MI6, had already pointed out Ruari and Janet Chisholm
Janet Chisholm
Janet Chisholm , born Janet Anne Deane, was a British MI6 agent during the Cold War.She was born in India and educated in Berkshire studying Russian and French. After school, she worked in London before joining the Allied Control Commission and moving to West Germany...

 as MI6 operators in the British embassy in Moscow.

Penkovsky's visits to an adjacent building identified him as a likely source of the leaks. He was arrested, giving up Wynne's name. The Chisholms were expelled from Moscow for behaviour incompatible with their diplomatic status. Wynne was arrested in Budapest
Budapest is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, it is the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre. In 2011, Budapest had 1,733,685 inhabitants, down from its 1989 peak of 2,113,645 due to suburbanization. The Budapest Commuter...

 and extradited
Extradition is the official process whereby one nation or state surrenders a suspected or convicted criminal to another nation or state. Between nation states, extradition is regulated by treaties...

 to the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. He was convicted of spying on 11 May 1963 and sentenced to eight years in prison; Penkovsky was sentenced to death and executed. Wynne was released in exchange for the spy Gordon Lonsdale in 1964.

Wynne wrote about his time as a spy in a book entitled The Man from Odessa, first published in 1981. He preceded this book with The Man from Moscow: The Story Of Wynne and Penkovsky (1967) and published in the USA as Contact on Gorky Street: a British Agent's Own First-Hand Account of His Mission to Moscow (1968). This was one of the early examples of a book being published about secret work that the government never expected to be made public.

Wynne died of throat cancer at Cromwell Hospital in London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 on 28 February 1990, aged 71.

Portrayal in popular culture

Wynne was portrayed by David Calder
David Calder (actor)
David Calder is a British actor.Calder was born in Portsmouth, England, and trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. His most high profile TV roles include Det. Insp...

 in the 1985 BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 television serial Wynne and Penkovsky, and by Peter Lindford in the 2007 BBC Television
BBC Television
BBC Television is a service of the British Broadcasting Corporation. The corporation, which has operated in the United Kingdom under the terms of a Royal Charter since 1927, has produced television programmes from its own studios since 1932, although the start of its regular service of television...

In film, television programming and staged theatre, docudrama is a documentary-style genre that features dramatized re-enactments of actual historical events. As a neologism, the term is often confused with docufiction....

 Nuclear Secrets
Nuclear Secrets
Nuclear Secrets, aka Spies, Lies and the Superbomb, is a 2007 BBC Television docudrama series which looks at the race for nuclear supremacy from the Manhattan Project through to the Pakistani nuclear weapons.-Production:...


Further reading

  • Nigel West, Seven Spies Who Changed the World. London: Secker & Warburg, 1991 (hard cover). London: Mandarin, 1992 (paperback).
  • Greville Wynne, The Man From Moscow. London: Hutchinson & Co, 1967 (hard cover). London: Arrow, 1968 (paperback).
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