Dr Helen Fry
(C) Greg Morrison
Welcome to the official website of historian Dr Helen Fry.
Helen has authored and edited over 25 books covering the social history of the Second World War, including British Intelligence and the secret war, espionage and spies, and MI9 escape and evasion.
She is the foremost authority on the 'secret listeners' who worked at special eavesdropping sites operated by British Intelligence during WWII. Her groundbreaking research and extensive media coverage have shed light on one of the greatest intelligence deceptions of the war: the bugging of Hitler’s generals at Trent Park in North London, and thousands of prisoners of war at Latimer House and Wilton Park in Buckinghamshire.
Helen is the official biographer of MI6 spymaster, Colonel Thomas Joseph Kendrick. She has also extensively written about the 10,000 Germans who fought for Britain during WWII.
Thanks to her expertise, Helen has appeared in a number of documentaries, including David Jason’s Secret Service (Channel 5), Spying on Hitler's Army (Channel 4), and Secrets of the Spies (Britbox). She has provided advisory services for TV and drama, something that she particularly enjoys. Helen has covered the major D-Day commemorations in live BBC broadcasts from Normandy, and she regularly appears in media interviews and podcasts.
Helen is an ambassador for the National Centre for Military Intelligence (NCMI) and serves as a trustee of both the Friends of the Intelligence Corps Museum and the Medmenham Collection. She works in London.
Helen is a recent recipient of the Lifetime Contribution Award for Jewish Military History and Education, awarded by The Jewish Military Association (AJEX).
WOMEN IN INTELLIGENCE
Helen's latest book is a groundbreaking history of women in British Intelligence spanning the 20th century.
The book provides an incredible account of the efforts of women across two world wars, with tales of bravery and heroism. Many new stories are told for the first time, shining a light on the hidden legacy of women in intelligence from World War One to World War Two.
'Women in Intelligence' is now available for purchase in the UK and USA, both online and in all good bookshops.
The book has made the honorary list of Waterstones' Best Books of 2023, in the Military History category.
SPYMASTER: THE MAN WHO SAVED MI6
The elusive British Spy who fooled Hitler and the Nazis...
Named among The Daily Mail's Best Biographies of 2021.
Included in Waterstones' Top History Books of 2021.
Thomas Joseph Kendrick was one of the British Secret Service’s most senior spymasters of the 20th century. From tracking Communist agents across Europe in the 1920s to Nazi spies in the 1930s, he was placed as MI6 head of station in Vienna. There he crossed paths with the British spy and (later) traitor Kim Philby and Communist Edith Tudor-Hart, figures that would go on to rock the MI6 for decades. Kendrick entered the dangerous world of double agents and foreign spies...
Dubbed ‘the elusive Englishman' by Hitler’s Secret Service, his real identity baffled the Abwehr, until he was finally denounced by a double agent.
Kendrick's arrest by the Gestapo and ‘Soviet-style’ interrogation caused panic in Whitehall as the whole the European network of British spies was at risk. The spymaster refused to give up the SIS network...
Behind all this, he had quietly saved over 25,000 Austrian Jews from certain death in the Holocaust - a legacy that has yet to be recognised.
He soon disappeared from the public eye, but went on to orchestrate the longest spying operation against Nazi Germany but from within Britain's shores.
THE WALLS HAVE EARS
The Daily Mail's War Book of the Year 2019.
At the outbreak of World War Two, MI6 Spymaster Thomas Kendrick arrived at the Tower of London to establish a top-secret operation. German prisoners' cells were to be bugged, and listeners would be installed behind the walls to record and transcribe their private conversations.
This mission proved so effective that it was later replicated at three additional sites, providing the Allies with crucial insight into new technology being developed by the Nazis. In this astonishing history, Helen Fry uncovers the inner workings of the bugging operation.
Upon their arrival at stately homes such as Trent Park in North London, high-ranking German generals and commanders were subjected to a phoney interrogation before being treated as guests, wined and dined at exclusive clubs, and encouraged to talk. Thus, the Allies gained access to some of Hitler's most closely guarded secrets and the individuals most entrusted with protecting them.
A secret life of spies, deception and British Intelligence in three of Britain's country houses...
MI9: ESCAPE AND EVASION
Shortlisted for The Duke of Wellington Medal in Military History 2021.
The Forgotten Secret Service of WWII...
When Allied fighters were trapped behind enemy lines, one branch of military intelligence provided them with a way out: MI9. The organisation established clandestine routes that zigzagged across Nazi-occupied Europe, allowing soldiers and airmen to find their way back home. Secret agents and resistance fighters risked their lives and those of their families to conceal the men.
Drawing on declassified files and eyewitness testimonies from Europe, Helen Fry provides a significant reassessment of MI9's wartime role, including its relationship to MI6.
“Fry has undertaken prodigious research… The book is a fitting tribute to the hundreds of men and women who risked their lives in assisting Allied escapees, and a welcome salute to those who broke out of their PoW camps that they might be returned to the battlefront.”
— Giles Milton, The Sunday Times