Widow discovers her late husband of 64 years was a British spy

A widow was left stunned after discovering her husband of 64 years was a spy who took his double life secret to his grave.

Audrey Phillips, 85, knew Glyn as a family man and civil engineer who loved to play for his local football team — and had no inkling that he was recruited for an M15 operation at the age of 13.

The couple had two children, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Glyn passed away in 2015.

It was only after Glyn died that Audrey cleared his paperwork and found documents detailing his double life throughout the 40s, 50s and 60s — after they married.

The astonishing papers showed he became a spy when he was pulled out of school in 1944 by a nameless British Intelligence Force captain to work for Operation XX.

The op was an MI5 counter-espionage project which saw Nazi agents in Britain used by the British to broadcast misinformation back to their controllers in Germany.

Glyn was one of 20 young boys from around the country, recruited for his photographic memory, slight stature and love of horses.

He was then trained to crawl through concrete pipes into prisons — to talk to German POWs — then crawl back out.

But even after the war finished, Glyn’s secret mission days were not over, as the Captain continued to appear through his adult life — and well into his married life.

‘I was completely oblivious’

Audrey, of Trowbridge, Wilts., said she was “astonished” to read Glyn’s clandestine life story in 2017, after he died from Parkinson’s in January 2015 at the age of 83.

“I was completely oblivious,” said the retired home economics teacher, who has now published his life story into a book.

“I have so many questions now that will probably never get answered. Why did I not know?”

Glyn’s story tells how the only person who ever knew of his spy work was his father, who was approached by “the Captain” for permission.

As a 13-year-old spy, Glyn was made to attend the gym two afternoons a week, where he learned self-defense and was made to crawl through a concrete pipe, “fifteen feet by eighteen inches”.

His task was to crawl through the pipe and then make his way back out backwards.

He soon learnt that this was in preparation to pass messages through a similar pipe to prisoners that the Intelligence Force was supposed to rescue from a country house.

The elusive captain appeared three more times during Glyn’s adult life, each time with another mission for him — and each time he recalls asking him: “Do I have a choice?”

On one occasion, when Glyn was 18 or 19 years old, he even got paid £20 ($25) by The Captain for helping to capture two spies while working as a “calf dozer” for a plant firm — the equivalent of two weeks’ wages at the time.

He recalls that the man offered him a ‘free pass’ out of serving for two years in the army if he apprehended a spy feeding information from inside an army camp near to where Glyn was working.

Gunboat drama

On their final meeting, Glyn was approached by the captain who told him that he would be taken to Cornwall just days later to meet a boat which was due to arrive to pick up a “load of arms”.

He was told the boat would be intercepted by two gunboats — and that his job was to retrieve one of “our men” before the boat was boarded.

The Commander told him: “When loaded, it will be intercepted by two gunboats. The problem is, one of our men is on board and we have to get him off before the boat is boarded.”

Glyn’s job, the Commander told him, was to shine a searchlight on one of the gunboats to allow a small rubber dinghy to allow another Intelligence Force man to jump aboard and save the man.

Glyn writes in his story of his wife: “I look back now and think about what sort of life she must have had and how she put up with me.”

Audrey said: “I don’t think he was a particularly private man, usually — but I suppose he compartmentalized things. I wish I could ask him, ‘Why didn’t I know?’”

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