Sir Claude Dansey

(1876—1947) intelligence officer

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(1876–1947), assistant chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, from 1939 to 1945. He served in intelligence in Africa (1900–9), was recruited into MO5, the forerunner of MI5, in 1914 and ran English port security, and worked for MI6 on a freelance basis during the 1920s before being appointed head of its Rome station in 1929. In 1936 he was dismissed, ostensibly under a cloud, but really to set up, using commercial cover, the ‘Z’ Organization. This paralleled MI6's organization on the Continent whose operations Dansey suspected the Germans had penetrated. During the war he acted as the éminence grise to the head of MI6, Menzies. Although he had a great gift for rubbing other secret staff officers up the wrong way, he had several successes in persuading the governments-in-exile to provide him with spies in Europe. He also supervised the work of MI9 and was notorious for his total discretion. He was knighted in 1943.

From The Oxford Companion to World War II in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Second World War.

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