An extract from Bill & Shirley


'Bill’s last year, the end of his journey, was a catastrophe. In the spring of 1974 he was arrested and charged with an offence under the Official Secrets Act, specifically, of holding clandestine meetings with a recently arrived member of the Russian Embassy called Dimitri Razgovorov, the presumption — and it was only ever that — being that he was passing secrets to him. He came to trial in the High Court in February of 1975. He was acquitted, but over the ensuing autumn and winter months he was the target, not to say victim, of a press campaign orchestrated by the weekly newspaper, Truth.

It was widely believed that Bill’s death at the end of September 1975 was hastened by the pressure of this public humiliation ... In essence, he had lost his place in society, or at any rate been reassigned to another altogether different and malign one.

At a supper hosted by his younger brother Ted and his wife, Judy, at their home in Eastbourne, Bill apologised to the family for his foolish behaviour. It was a poignant moment as we sat drenched in late summer evening sun in their beautiful garden.'


Read the full extract, courtesy of ReadingRoom, here