To betray your country for love – the story of spies Harry and Ethel

The Portland spy ring was one of the most famous during the Cold War. Spies steal top secret information about British nuclear underwater technology from the USSR.

Right in the heart of this spy ring is an unusual love affair

between its two British members, Harry Houghton and Ethel G.

But whether love – as Ethel has always said – is a strong enough motivation to betray your country – told in a video on BBC Reel.

The main target of the KGB, for which these spies work, is the underwater secrets of the West.

The Portland spy ring transmits classified information from its center in the South West of England, from a place called Portland, which is located on the southwest coast. It is there that Britain and NATO are conducting much of their secret underwater research, in particular the sonar study.

Two of the members of the spy circle are British. These are Harry Houghton and Ethel G. Their role is particularly key and the reason is that the two work where the British research (Underwater Detection Establishment) takes place. In other words, where all these secret sonar and torpedoes are being developed.

Houghton persuades G to give him secret documents,

which he then copied and passed on to the Soviet mediator, a man known as Gordon Lonsdale. In fact, he was a Soviet intelligence officer named Conon Molodi.

It is not clear exactly how much sensitive information the spies passed on to the Russians. But this included, for example, information about Britain’s first nuclear submarine.

MI5 uncovers the activities of Houghton and G, files them and puts them under surveillance.

“I appreciate how helpless you feel …

We knew it could happen at any time, but now that it’s up, I realize how awful you feel judging by my own thoughts, and I want you to know how I’m with you all this time, “Houghton wrote. .

The five spies in the Portland Spy Ring were arrested on January 7, 1961. The evidence against them was steadily accumulating, and after a trial in March of that year, they were found guilty.

Harry and Ethel received sentences of 15 years each.

The connection between them becomes known during the process. Their love affair is told by the newspapers. There you could see titles that quote Ethel – “I did everything for love.”

MI-5 continues to monitor the couple’s correspondence while they are in prison.

This is a letter that Harry sends to Ethel while they are both in prison. Ethel’s mother has just died, and this is undoubtedly a letter written with sympathy. It starts like this – “My dear Bunty”. Bunty was Ethel’s nickname. Harry tries to comfort her. And that sounds very heartfelt. You can feel some of Harry’s charm. Maybe that’s how we could explain why Ethel liked him and how he managed to persuade her to give him the secret documents, says Mark Dunton.

“Honey, all I can say is that I’m sorry

and this comes from the bottom of my soul. I wish I could tell you more and reassure you, but I’m sure you will understand, “he wrote.

Harry and Ethel were released from prison in 1970.

Once out, they become the subject of much publicity. Both are being persecuted by the press. There are stories in the newspapers about whether the couple will get married, and in the end they do, but in secret.

Would you do the same thing again, but without the part where you get caught –

this question is asked by journalists of both. Ethel replies, “Don’t be ridiculous,” and Harry adds, “She didn’t even know she was doing it.”