MI6 Interviews of Francis McCullagh

When Captain Francis McCullagh was interrogated in Lubjanka, he refused the offer to work as a double agent for the Soviet Union.  Eventually, he was released with dozens of other prisoners and crossed the frontier into Finland on 15 April 1920.  He was picked up by the head of the MI6 section, John Scale, who debriefed him in Helsingfors before he returned to England on the SS Dongola with the Reverend Frank North and a young Dmitri Tolstoy disguised as the son of his nanny, Lucy Stark.

In London, he was interviewed again by a Military Intelligence officer, Commander Boyce, at the Savoy Club Adelphi at the end of May and then in June by Lord Emmott’s Committee to Collect Information on Russia, which reported to the Prime Minister, David Lloyd George.  The information McCullagh gives in these interviews is quite different to the story he tells in his memoir published the following year.  For more on this, see Chapter 11 of Churchill’s Abandoned Prisoners.


2 thoughts on “MI6 Interviews of Francis McCullagh

  1. Do you think the memoir or the interviews best represent his experiences, Rupert? He seems quite a Mercurial character to me.


  2. I believe the memoir reveals more about his instincts and is consistent with his 1912 book about the war in Tripoli. I think also that he might have felt a tad guilty that the PoWs he left behind were languishing somewhere in Siberia, so the MI accounts are quite defensive, compared with the memoir. In these interviews, he portrays himself as a loyal intelligence officer whereas in his book, he shows that he is an independent observer. As any embedded correspondent will tell you that is a very difficult trick to finesse.


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