“The Cambridge Spies – Friendship, Betrayal and Alcohol”
In 1961 a member of the KGB defected to the West and brought with him sensational
information of a “Ring of Five” – Russian spies within British secret intelligence and diplomatic
circles. All had been to prestigious schools in England and were never considered possible
candidates for betraying their country. Recruited together at Cambridge University in the 1930s
they worked their way into the heart of the Establishment, passing back thousands of documents
to the Russian intelligence service as they went. Their unbelievable ascent to top positions was
not affected by their frequently bad behaviour (which always went unpunished) but the group
eventually unravelled as one after another their identities were discovered.
Taking in a much wider cast of eccentric characters both in Britain and abroad, this entertaining
talk will take us through the story from its roots in the English Class System in the 1930s to
Washington DC, Beirut and other Cold War locations.
Mark Wilkins was born in Hove, Sussex, in 1979 and grew up on the south coast of England.
He studied History and Geography at King’s College, London. Following university he trained
as a Chartered Accountant and started learning German at evening classes before realizing he
would need to live in Germany to learn it properly. In 2007 he took a year’s sabbatical and
enrolled in a language school in Hannover with the intention of returning to the UK once he
had mastered the grammar. 16 years later he is still attempting to do so and works for a leading
international accounting firm in Düsseldorf beside enjoying music in the Tonhalle and Opera.