While a student at the University of Cambridge, Philby became a communist and in 1933 a Soviet agent. A memorial to him stands in the Kuntsevo Cemetery, in the Russian capital. Updates? Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. "Philby's father nicknamed his son Kim after the … Kim Philby died in 1988. Thereafter he worked as a journalist in Beirut until fleeing to the Soviet Union in 1963. Harold "Kim" Philby was a senior officer in Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, known as MI6, who began his work for the Soviet Union as a spy in 1934. By the end of World War II, Philby had become head of counterespionage operations for MI-6, in which post he was responsible for combating Soviet subversion in western Europe. After all, they won the war.'". In contrast to Blake, Philby and Burgess – and to a less extent Maclean – suffered from nostalgia for Britain. Kim Philby, byname of Harold Adrian Russell Philby, (born January 1, 1912, Ambala, India—died May 11, 1988, Moscow, Russia, U.S.S.R.), British intelligence officer until 1951 and the most successful Soviet double agent of the Cold War period.. Kim Philby would have been 76 years old at the time of death or 103 years old today. He never promised to give up, but once, completely unexpectedly, he suddenly said, 'I'm afraid I'm going to lose you, I'm not going to drink any more.' Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. Kim Philby, byname of Harold Adrian Russell Philby, (born January 1, 1912, Ambala, India—died May 11, 1988, Moscow, Russia, U.S.S.R.), British intelligence officer until 1951 and the most successful Soviet double agent of the Cold War period. In 1955, Harold Macmillan, then Foreign Secretary, issued a statement confirming that there was no evidence that Kim Philby was a Soviet agent. In the United States, the Walker family sold the…. Kim Philby, the most successful of the Cambridge spies, tried to drink himself to death in Moscow because he was disillusioned with communism … He worked as a journalist until 1940, when Guy Burgess, a British secret agent who was himself a Soviet double agent, recruited Philby into the MI-6 section of the British intelligence service. Of the five, Philby is believed to have been most successful in providing secret information to the Soviets. Philby was later awarded the Order of Lenin and made a KGB general. A plaque in his honour was unveiled by the head of the foreign intelligence service at its headquarters in Moscow in December. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership, This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Kim-Philby, The History Learning Site - Biography of Kim Philby, Spartacus Educational - Biography of Kim Philby, Kim Philby - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). "I tried everything to save him; after all, he was killing himself. Philby died in Moscow in 1988 at the age of 76, receiving the funeral of a hero of the Soviet Union. "It was winter and we were going out for a walk and I found one of my boots had disappeared. He was the only survivor of … Kim leapt up and shouted, 'Whoever is rude to my wife is rude to me!' It was a bit too late as all the damage was already done, for starters. Additionally, what did Kim Philby do? Harold ‘Kim’ Philby was a member of the ‘Cambridge Five’ spy ring. In 1949 he was sent to Washington to serve as chief MI-6 officer there and as the top liaison officer between the British and U.S. intelligence services. Kim Philby’s father, a Saudi adviser, was also involved in intelligence and betrayal after being exploited by MI6 to win a propaganda war in the Middle East. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Read the essential details about Kim Philby that includes images, quotations and the main facts of his life. "But he never got aggressive, and just went to bed. We got together in our cabin to discuss our plans. The footage sheds long-awaited new light on Philby: Despite making headlines around the world and inspiring books and films about his exploits, the … By coincidence another book about Philby has appeared simultaneously, Kim Philby: the Unknown Story of the KGB’s Master Spy (Biteback, £20), written by another former friend and MI6 operative, Tim Milne, who died in 2010. Philby's work led to the deaths of dozens of British agents, making him a reviled traitor once he was exposed in Britain. Philby, Burgess and MacLean – Spy Scandal of the Century, a BBC drama produced for TV in 1977, covers the period of the late 1940s, when British intelligence investigated Kim Philby's colleague Donald Maclean until 1955 when the British government cleared Philby because it did … Philby had defected to the Soviet Union from Beirut in 1963, and was treated with respect, but felt isolated. But I do have a strong sense of being in Moscow with him and my family,” she said. John Philby, the eldest son of Soviet spy Kim Philby, who was a double agent and the notorious Third Man in the Cambridge spy ring of the 1930s, has died in England. Philby did officially leave MI6 but remarkably was soon taken back. Kim Philby, called the ''spy of the century'' because of his work for the Soviet Union while a senior officer in British intelligence, died Wednesday in Moscow, the Foreign Office said. But in Russia he is still admired as a hero. Kim Philby was born on January 1, 1912 and died on May 11, 1988. "If he continued drinking, he got inebriated quickly and changed in front of your eyes," she said. He was 76. Corrections? • Wife claims defector tried to drink himself to death, Kim Philby in Russia in 1968, five years after defecting. Philby's less attractive personal qualities were matched by a charm to which many of his MI6 colleagues succumbed. Charlotte Philby in Moscow with her father John, after Kim Philby died in 1988 (Photo: Charlotte Philby) I imagine there was a light breeze as my … He went on to serve the KGB for 54 years. He was apparently responsible for the deaths of many Western agents whose activities he betrayed to the Soviets during the 1940s and early ’50s. It seems that after WWII secret services refrained from killing each other’s personnel. Philby later recalled: "So it was a date well remembered, because it … Kim Philby. Born in Ambala, Punjab, India, Philby was the son of Harry St. John Philby, a British Army officer, diplomat, explorer, author, and Orientalist who converted to Islam[2] and was advisor to King Ibn Sa'ud of Saudi Arabia. While a student at the University of Cambridge, Philby became a communist and in 1933 a Soviet agent.He worked as a journalist until 1940, when … He and Pukhova married in 1971, when he was 59 and she was 38. "His alcoholism was suicide," she told the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper. According to an account which Philby later filed for The Times, the car was hit by an artillery shell in the small village of Caude. You should have seen his face.". The gang of British spies who ended up in Moscow in the 1950s and 1960s were employed in KGB training schools and international research institutes. "Kim believed in a just society and devoted his whole life to communism. British intelligence officer and Soviet spy. While working as a senior member of British intelligence, he spied on behalf of the Soviet KGB and NKVD from the early… Kim Philby, British intelligence officer until 1951 and the most successful Soviet double agent of the Cold War period. Philby, Burgess and MacLean – Spy Scandal of the Century, a BBC drama produced for TV in 1977, covers the period of the late 1940s, when British intelligence investigated Kim Philby's colleague Donald Maclean until 1955 when the British government cleared Philby because it did … ", Pukhova, now 78, said she was irritated by stories about Philby's drink problem, but admitted he wasn't always able to stick to his two-glass rule. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Long after the Soviet Union they spied for collapsed in 1991, Philby remains a hero in Russia. He had got afraid that I would leave, and hidden the boot.". Kim Philby was born on January 1, 1912 and died on May 11, 1988. He was known for passing more than 900 British documents over to the KGB. It was the day that Neville Chamberlain declared war on Nazi Germany. Born in India in 1912, Philby became a communist sympathiser after leaving Cambridge and began working as a KGB informer in the mid 1930s in London. He was 65. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. After Burgess’s and MacLean’s defections, suspicion fell on Philby, and he was relieved of his intelligence duties in 1951 and dismissed from MI-6 in 1955. Kim Philby was born on 1 January 1912 in the Punjab region of India. Harold "Kim" Philby. Harold (Kim) Philby, the son of the diplomat, Harry St John Bridger Philby, was born in Ambala, India, in 1911. Kim was 76 years old at the time of death. Philby died in the city in 1988, 25 years after defecting to the Soviet Union, where he was employed as an occasional consultant to the KGB helping to prepare spies for missions to the west. media caption During the 1950s and early 1960s Kim Philby denied being a Soviet agent while working for MI6. “Kim” Philby’s oldest son, has penned an extensive account of her memories of her grandfather. Aileen Furse & Kim Philby. He was born in 1915 in Danville, Indiana, where his father, an attorney, died ten months after … The most notorious, Kim Philby, defected to the Soviet Union in 1963 and wrote his memoirs a few years later. Harold (Kim) Philby, the last surviving member of the triumvirate of spies who shook the British espionage system to its marrow 30 years ago, died Wednesday in Moscow. Mr Roberts, 73, died last year on Jersey and the Philby photos are being sold at auction by his estate. While holding this highly sensitive post, he revealed to the U.S.S.R. an Allied plan to send armed anticommunist bands into Albania in 1950, thereby assuring their defeat; warned two Soviet double agents in the British diplomatic service, Burgess and Donald MacLean, that they were under suspicion (the two men consequently escaped to the Soviet Union in 1951); and transmitted detailed information about MI-6 and the Central Intelligence Agency to the Soviets. There he settled in Moscow and eventually reached the rank of colonel in the KGB, the Soviet intelligence service. The Hick From Indiana Who Nailed Master Spy Kim Philby. He was apparently responsible for the deaths of many Western agents whose activities he betrayed to the Soviets during the 1940s and early ’50s. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Likewise, how did Kim Philby die? However, Pukhova said the fear that she would leave had helped her husband temper his intake in later years. "He once even said that it was the easiest way to bring life to an end. It was a miracle. Likewise, the Philby–Burgess–Maclean spy ring, which penetrated the highest circles of Britain’s MI-6 intelligence agency, provided the Soviets with a tremendous amount of information on British and Allied military and counterintelligence operations during and after World War II. Kim Philby Birthday and Date of Death. And here he was struck by disappointment, brought to tears. Birthday: January 1, 1912 Date of Death: May 11, 1988 Age at Death: 76 He defected to the USSR in 1963, where he died in 1988 at the age of 76. In the later years of his life a senior KGB officer who bumped into him described Philby as an “alcoholic wreck”. He was educated at Aldro prep school and Westminster S… And he kept his word to the end." Maclean bequeathed Blake his library of books, including Trollope, Macaulay's History of England, Morley's Life of Gladstone, and the Macmillan and Eden memoirs. "There was one funny incident," she remembered. He was nicknamed after the protagonist in Rudyard Kipling's novel Kim about a young Irish Indian boy who spies for the British in India during the 19th century. Kim died when I was five, so I had a limited amount of direct interaction. Philby published a book, My Silent War (1968), detailing his exploits. Pukhova said he was a "special" and principled man. Born in 1946, Dudley ‘Tommy’ Philby is the third of Kim’s five children with his second of four wives, Aileen Furse Philby. Kim Philby was probably the most successful double spy in history. In the Cold War some sons of privilege betrayed Britain in the service of tyranny. We searched every corner until Kim suddenly struck himself on the head with his hand, went to a cupboard and brought back the boot. He died in Moscow in 1988. George Blake, who is still alive, got on well with him than with Philby. Harold Adrian Russell "Kim" Philby (1 January 1912 – 11 May 1988) was a British intelligence officer and a double agent for the Soviet Union. Harold Adrian Russell "Kim" Philby (1 January 1912 – 11 May 1988) was a British intelligence officer and a double agent for the Soviet Union. ", His habit was fuelled by his sorrow over what he saw around him, she added. Omissions? He reported to the Soviet NKVD from the Spanish civil war under the guise of a correspondent for the Times, and in 1940 joined the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS, or MI6), becoming a double agent and passing many secrets to the Kremlin. "I said something to the escort and he just stayed silent, sitting, leafing through his magazine. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. The two-drink tradition remained but in time there was no longer a need to hide the bottle, she added. In 1963 he was revealed to be a member of the Cambridge Five, a spy ring which passed information to the Soviet Union during World War II and in the early stages of the Cold War. They met each other socially but soon fell out. Charlotte Philby, daughter of John Philby, H.A.R. "Kim said to me, 'I came here totally fully of information, I wanted to give everything I had but no one was interested," explained Pukhova. It was a mystery. H. A. R. (Kim) Philby, the double agent whose betrayal of his country and his social class indelibly marked British politics, has died in Moscow, officials … Philby had other less damaging routines: a cup of Russian tea at 7am and English tea with milk at 5pm, drunk from a fine porcelain cup. John Philby, who has died aged 65, was the eldest son of the Russian spy Kim Philby, unmasked in 1963 as a double agent and the notorious Third Man in the Cambridge spy ring of the 1930s. "Once, a big group of us were on a trip on the Volga: Kim and I and, of course, his KGB escort, and the escort's daughter. Kim Philby drank while Guy Burgess, who was gay, missed his friends in London, including Anthony Blunt whose spying activities, though known to the government, were kept under wraps until they were exposed much later, in 1979. Philby seems to have been a lifelong and committed communist whose primary devotion lay toward the Soviet Union rather than his native country. Solomon was a good friend of Kim Philby and she introduced him to Aileen at her home on 3rd September 1939. Heart failure . Rufina Pukhova, his Russian-Polish wife, said Philby struggled to control his drinking by downing only two glasses of cognac a night and then handing her the bottle to hide. He was 76. Macmillan was, of course, Prime Minister by 1962, when the Soviet double agent George Blake was caught, and Kim could no longer hide the truth. When Philby died in Moscow in 1988 at the age of … While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies. Photograph: Daily Mail/Rex Features. Aileen died in 1957, when Tommy was just 11 years old; his contact with his father was cut off as soon as the double spy defected to the USSR in January 1963. Some could never quite come to terms that he was a traitor. Clare Hollingworth celebrates her 105th birthday at … Donald Maclean, although arrogant and someone who liked a drink too, was regarded as more convivial. His drinking made him paranoid that his wife would abandon him. Kim Philby, the most successful of the Cambridge spies, tried to drink himself to death in Moscow because he was disillusioned with communism and tortured by his own failings, his last wife has said in an interview. 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