Maurice Oldfield was chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (also known as MI6) from 1973 to 1978. Summoned from retirement by Margaret Thatcher to become security coordinator in Northern Ireland, he served only briefly before retiring once more due to ill health in 1980. He died, aged sixty-five, the following year. Subsequently, in 1987, Thatcher told Parliament that his positive vetting clearance had been withdrawn at the time of his final retirement following his confession that he had ‘from time to time engaged in homosexual activities’. There was no suggestion that security had been compromised.
Martin Pearce, his nephew, was motivated to write this book partly to record family information left out of earlier accounts of the life of Maurice (as he was known within MI6) and partly to rescue his reputation from stories surrounding the way his career ended. Pearce obviously venerated