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Welcome to the official site of historian Dr Helen Fry.

 

Helen has written and edited over 25 books. Her works cover the social history of the Second World War: including British Intelligence and the secret war; spies and espionage; and MI9 escape and evasion. 

 

She is the leading expert on the 'secret listeners' at special eavesdropping sites by British intelligence in WWII. She has been at the forefront of widespread media coverage and in-depth research of the greatest intelligence deception 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 recognised as the official biographer of MI6 spymaster, Colonel Thomas Joseph Kendrick. 

She has also written extensively about the 10,000 Germans who fought for Britain in WWII.

 

 

Because of her expertise, she has been involved in a number of documentaries – including David Jason’s Secret Service for Channel 5 and Spying on Hitler's Army for Channel 4. She has conducted advisory work for TV and drama; something which she particularly enjoys, and has covered the major D-Day commemorations in live BBC broadcasts in Normandy. She appears regularly in media interviews and podcasts. 

Helen is an ambassador for the National Centre for Military Intelligence (NCMI), a trustee of the Medmenham Collection, and President of The Friends of the National Archives. She works in London.

 

 

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NEW AND OUT NOW!

SPYMASTER: THE MAN WHO SAVED MI6 
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The elusive British spy who fooled Hitler and the Nazis...
 
 

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 10,000 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.



 

 

HELEN'S BESTSELLING HISTORY.... 
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At the outbreak of World War Two, MI6 spymaster Thomas Kendrick arrived at the Tower of London to set up a top secret operation: German prisoners' cells were to be bugged and listeners installed behind the walls to record and transcribe their private conversations.
 
This mission proved so effective that it would go on to be set up at three further sites - and provide 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.
 
On arrival at stately homes like Trent Park in North London, high ranking German Generals and commanders were given a `phoney' interrogation, then treated as `guests', wined and dined at exclusive clubs, and encouraged to talk. And so it was that the Allies gained access to some of Hitler's most closely guarded secrets - and from those most entrusted to protect them.

A secret life of spies, deception and British intelligence in three of Britain's country houses... 

Paperback - Out Now!

MI9: A History of the Secret Service for Escape and Evasion in World War II 
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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 helped them escape: MI9. The organization set up clandestine routes that zig-zagged across Nazi-occupied Europe, enabling soldiers and airmen to make their way home. Secret agents and resistance fighters risked their lives and those of their families to hide the men.
 
Drawing on declassified files and eye-witness testimonies from Europe, Helen Fry provides a significant reassessment of MI9’s wartime role, including its relationship to MI6. 



 

CAN YOU HELP?

 
Helen is currently working on a history of women in intelligence from WWI to WWII. If you have a relative who may be relevant to this research, do get in touch. 

And, if you have interesting spies stories of WWII in your family or any link to the subjects on the website or have archival material, please contact Helen here.

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