Who really killed Michael Collins?

Whatever about the official story, the reality appears to be that Collins was a very unpopular man with the British and Irish governments at the time of his death at Béal na Blath, so unpopular as possibly to lead to his killing by these governments, as many people then and since have always thought.


British Government

The British government were annoyed:

– at his role in the death of General Sir Henry Wilson and the attempted rescuing of his assassins;

– because he was basically hostile to Partition and was always anxious to help the Ulster Catholics as they faced an anti-Catholic pogrom (for example Collins was going to publish a book on the pogrom written by Father John Hassan, but after his death the Irish government suppressed it);

– maybe they were annoyed at his efforts to secure an early settlement of the Civil War (it may have been that the British hoped to use the Civil War as a kind of permanent ‘divide and rule’ strategy in Ireland, and were probably backing both sides including O’Higgins on the Free State side and Childers and maybe De Valera on the anti-Treaty side, and through Collins they were also arming both sides);

– and finally because he simply knew too much about the secret side of that government and they hoped to use the Civil War to finish him off and some others, clearing up ‘loose ends’ from the revolutionary period (for example Collins was very close to Moya Davies, the wife of Crompton Llewelyn Davies, a close friend of Lloyd-George’s and some say in charge of security/intelligence in the Post Office system in the UK and Ireland in this period. Also, as pointed out in Tim Pat Coogan’s book on Collins, he might have been close to unmasking Tim Healy as a British government agent.)(1)


Irish Government

The hostility from the Irish government seems to be because they just didn’t control him, he was too much of a loose cannon, getting them involved in enterprises that they had no real knowledge of. For example:

– the whole episode of the Collins-DeValera pact which seemed to bypass the Dail and hence the Cabinet somewhat;

– again the Wilson killing;

– his ownership of the process of drafting the Irish constitution (not letting the other experts on the subject, like Darrell Figgis, have their proper say maybe);

– again on Partition, including his involvement in the Belleek semi-invasion of the North and similar episodes.

Here is an account of this ‘loose cannon’ aspect to Collins of the period from Sean MacBride speaking in Glenties on the 19/8/1985, who obviously knew all these people:
“While all this was going on (Wilson’s assassination) there was very close collaboration between Collins and Rory O’Connor, and the IRA, in connection with the transfer of arms from the Four Courts to Donegal for use in the six counties. I was not involved directly in this operation but was very familiar with it, and was accidentally present at some of the discussions that took place. The negotiations were usually between Collins, Mulcahy and O’Duffy on the one hand and Rory O’Connor, Ernie O’Malley and sometimes Liam Lynch on the other hand. The last shipment of arms to leave the Four Courts for Donegal left on the day upon which the Four Courts were attacked, the 27th June 1922.” (2)
Obviously when he says the last shipment of arms went out then, it also meant that a shipment of arms went into the Four Courts from the Free State government at the same time (it was supposed to be a swap of arms, the Free State arming the anti-Treaty IRA in return for some of the latter’s arms supposed to be used in Ulster).

You can imagine the sort of confusion this type of intrigue created for the Irish government, that the perceived head of it was so intertwined with the Four Courts garrison just before that government bombed it. This business of Collins arming the anti-Treaty side, which is well known and confirmed elsewhere, was I think inspired by the British who wanted a Civil War, and to start it needed to arm both sides, but in Collins’ eyes was probably a prelude to an invasion of the North, again by both sides, and these two contradictory positions had to clash at some point.(3)

In any case it seems that both Collins and Griffith were put out to ‘Coventry’, as it were, in the weeks before both died, by the Irish government. Obviously Griffith was out of the loop staying in a nursing home, and Collins was out of the Irish cabinet at the time of his death, although this was a closely guarded secret. By the government of Ireland I mean the increasingly influential Kevin O’Higgins, allied to his uncle, the soon to be Governor-General Tim Healy, and in close concert with Alfred Cope, reputed to be MI6’s first representative here and certainly the confidential agent of Lloyd-George in Ireland. When Collins died the first message received by the Irish government about his death came to Higgins who was on duty in Portobello Barracks. Its extremely surprising to see Higgins occupying that position, who didn’t have any military experience or knowledge. Then the funeral arrangements for Collins, including the idea of transporting his body by sea – which stopped any crowds forming along the route – were handled by Cope. Anyway you can tell the atmosphere from this statement by his friend and senior military figure Commandant William James Brennan-Whitmore, who had met Collins in the week he died:
“A cabal under Kevin O’Higgins had sent Collins and Griffith to ‘Coventry’. Mick wanted to take his own way to clear up the mess. Griffith would not agree to such drastic action. That was the extent of the supposed quarrel. – At this period Michael Collins was a physically sick man, and had wasted away from his normal robustness.– It was an ideal time for an honourable settlement to the war, which was an outcome British Intelligence did not want. There was only one way, at this stage, by which even a lagging Civil War could be kept going, and that was the permanent removal of Collins. He had grown into the hearts of the people – even opponents had an affection for him. On all counts his removal was desirable.” (4)

So there has always been in fact some suspicion that Collins’ death was no accident, and a bit too convenient for a lone stray bullet at the time when it seems that elements in both governments were anxious to kill him. Also it has always been the case, that the main figure who comes into the frame with these suspicions, is his companion on that fatal trip, Major-General Emmet Dalton.
 
Emmet Dalton

The convoy that emerged around the corner at Béal na Blath held not only Collins, but also the senior National Army figure at that time in Cork, Major General Emmet Dalton, who had commanded the forces that took the Four Courts which started the war.

From a Nationalist family in Dublin he decided to join the British Army from the Irish Volunteers, in obedience to Redmond’s leadership in 1914/5. Redmond got him a Commission in the newly expanded British army, where he served during the war with great distinction and ended as a Major.(5)

Then he joined the IRA, and while trusted, because of the influence of his brother Charles a leading figure in Collins’ squad, he nonetheless struck the Volunteers as a quintessential British officer:
“Emmett Dalton was the typical British Officer, very neat, debonair, small fair toothbrush moustache, and spoke with a kind of affected accent.” (6)

But there had always been rumours that he was in intelligence during WW1, and there is a specific reference that he was ADC to none other than General Sir Henry Wilson.(7) Cormaic Mac Carthaig, a leading expert on the death of Collins which he wrote about in 1968 in the Irish language publication Agus, interviewed Dalton and from this Mac Carthaig was able to establish that he had been ADC to Wilson.(8) Also Michael O’Cuinneagain, the son of a Tyrone Sinn Fein MP and indefatigable Irish history researcher, proved that he was working for British Intelligence during WWII as well, in this case MI5.(9)

Furthermore, when interviewed by Cormac Mac Carthaig in July 1970 about Béal na Blath, he denied some things that are known to be true, and which he must have known at the time:
“thus he denied knowing that Collins had ceased to be Chairman of the Provisional Government and had become Commander-in-Chief in July 1922; despite the existence of documentary evidence that he been involved (see Ryan page 166), he denied knowing whether Collins had met neutral IRA members while in Cork; he claimed that ‘[Collins] did not discuss any matter other than of a military nature with me’; he continued to insist that Collins’ body was taken to the Bon Secours Hospital in Cork; and that his wireless message notifying Dublin of Collins’ death went via Valentia, New York and London, despite the operator who transmitted the message saying that he sent it directly to Dublin.” (10)
Dalton brought the body to the British military hospital in Cork, when other hospitals were nearer. Also the significance of the last point is that the British media had the story almost instantaneously (faster than the Irish media) which could be easily explained if the British were reading messages transmitted in such a long winded fashion (which probably they were, and it would go smoothly, as it always does, from British Intelligence to its media). But if it was only straight to Dublin it presents the possibility that the Dublin authorities were maybe in direct contact with British intelligence themselves.

About Dalton, its not just retrospective straws in the wind that we are talking about here, from researchers and historians long past the events in question. One of Collins’ close colleagues, and a then Commandant in the Irish army, the aforementioned William James Brennan-Whitmore, flat out accuses him of being a British agent and of killing Collins, in a 12/7/1968 Evening Herald article: http://www.orwellianireland.com/collins.jpg . He didn’t name him, but there was no doubt in anybody’s mind about who he was referring to.


Michael Bartholomew Corry

However this is not the end of the story. If you read the account given above about Dalton’s MI5 activities you will see mention of a memoir of his, where he states that:
“While I did not pull the trigger I saw no reason why I should not collect the reward.” (11)
The reward in question was for catching, or it seems killing, the killers of General Wilson, who Collins is accused of ordering the assassination of. But if Dalton didn’t pull the trigger who did?

Over the years quite a bit of attention has been drawn to the fact that his usual driver was dropped for the trip to Cork, and instead in Portobello Barracks he was assigned an ex-British Army private, or possibly Corporal, Michael B Corry as his driver for the trip and, as it happens, for the ambush.

Up to this article, not a lot was known about Corry, except that he was assumed to have been brought up in Cheshire in England and spoke with an English accent. Actually though he had a lot of Irish connections. His father was Luke Corry, a railway foreman or engineer thought to be from Clare, and his mother Catherine lived for quite a while until her death in 15/7/1948 at 87 North King Street in Dublin. Michael, while a ‘soldier’ and living at his mother’s address, married in 19/9/1917 Margaret Mary White from 40 Haughton’s Terrace, Arbour Hill, Stoneybatter, and they went to live at that latter address. After he retired from the Irish army he worked for many years driving a bus for C.I.E. in Dublin. His wife died in 26/1/1945 at 8 Ard Righ Place, Arbour Hill, and she is buried in the family plot in Glasnevin cemetery. There she is alongside Michael, Michael’s mother, his son Ignatius who died in 19/11/1925 aged 15 months, his daughter Margaret Mary who married John Madden in 16/7/1946, and another daughter Irene (Reni) Bernadette who died 13/7/2005 and who had married Francis Prior, a ‘security officer’ from Haywards Heath in Sussex.(12)

Michael died in 12 Ben Edair Road 23/9/1957 aged 72, of “Cardiac disease, no medical attendant”, which coincidentally was about when the first serious investigation was launched into the death of Collins.(13) This was by Rex Taylor for his book on Collins, researched during c.1956-9 and he had a difficult time with this work:
““Suffice to say that in 1959 I myself was threatened with physical harm if I persisted in delving into the mystery of Collins’ death. If there is no mystery, why was I threatened?”

During one of my [Michael O’Cuinneagain] many meetings with Captain Feehan we discussed the disclosure, in Taylor’s books, of threats and intimidation. Feehan told me that he met Taylor on a number of occasions and that Taylor believed that British Intelligence were responsible for the threats...Captain Feehan also stated that he was uneasy about the circumstances surrounding Taylor’s death and the activities of Special Branch Officers in its aftermath.” (14)
It was apparently Taylor who got Corry’s account of the ambush at Béal na Blath, which you can read here: http://sarasmichaelcollinssite.com/mccorry.htm.(15) But Denis Lenihan, who went through all the accounts of the ambush carefully, considered that this account was “so inconsistent with others as to be of doubtful validity.” (16) Its also strange that there are apparently two versions of this account, but only one is in the public domain.(17)

So some are looking at Corry as the real trigger man, because:
– of the coincidence of the unusual change of driver in Portobello;
– he was an ex-British soldier;
– of this paragraph published by the Sunday Times in 1968:
“(Collins was ambushed by his own followers near Cork, on August 22 1922. According to papers in the Lawrence [of Arabia] Archives he had been betrayed by his driver.)” (18)

That at any rate appears to be the real story. That Dalton witnessed the killing but the actual shot was probably by Corry.

by Brian Nugent, www.orwellianireland.com .
 
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Footnotes
‘O’Cuinneagain’ below is Michael O’Cuinneagain, On the Arm of Time (Tanatallon, Donegal Town, 1992) and ‘Lenihan’ is Denis Lenihan, The Death of Michael Collins, Who Pulled the Trigger (2014). O’Cuinneagain was the son of Patrick Cunningham, MP for Tyrone, and whose family are involved with Strathroy Dairy in Co. Tyrone. He also tapped into a very wide circle of knowledgeable Collins researchers in the 80s in Ireland, which even included a few people who knew him like Sean MacBride.

1. “he was also appointed legal adviser to the British Post Office with access to many of the intelligence-gathering activities of the state.”
( https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article/the-boy-who-would-not-grow-up ).
It was even said that information on the Cairo gang, those killed on Bloody Sunday, came from Crompton to Collins via Moya (O’Cuinneagain, p.102.).

2. O’Cuinneagain p.68.

3. Another source for example is Richard Walsh TD, a senior IRA officer in Mayo at the time:
“In pursuance of this agreed policy, an arrangement was come to between the two military organisations to the effect that an exchange of arms would take place, i.e., the anti-Treaty forces would hand over their rifles and other weapons they possessed to the Treaty forces in exchange for weapons got from the British by the pro-Treaty forces. The reason stated for this exchange was that when the exchange was completed it was proposed to attack the British forces at the posts held by them in the six Northern Counties. The British at this time had evacuated almost all Southern Ireland posts with the exception of a few coastal defence positions. The Provisional Government policy would be, in the event of the attacks on the Six Counties positions, to deny all responsibility for those attacks, and it was stated that to prevent their being involved in those attacks, it was absolutely necessary that none of the arms which the Provisional Government obtained from England should be identified if arms were captured during operations against British forces in the Northern Counties.”
(Richard Walsh, Bureau of Military History Witness Statement no.400, p.175-6.)

4. O’Cuinneagain p.87-8.

5. “I called at an office at the archway near the Queen’s theatre in Pearse St. [Dublin] and there I met J.P. Dalton – Emmet Dalton’s father – and from him I purchased for £25, six Mausers of the 1896 Spanish model pattern, and one 1877 Mauser Single-barreled rifle. A week later, Emmet Dalton arrived at my business premises in Ballyhaunis with the six rifles, but no ammunition. I had already received ammunition at this stage from Belfast through an Orangeman – I had only about 25 rounds. I took Emmet Dalton and my foreman, Pat Kennedy, who was in the Volunteers, to the police rifle range and we did our practice openly. Emmet Dalton told me that John Redmond was getting him a commission in the British army. Emmet Dalton was wearing a Christian Brothers cap at the time; he told me he was 18 years of age. His statement made me sad, because it cut straight across what he was then doing. I tried to persuade him not to join, but I was not successful.”
(Pat Moylett, Bureau of Military History Witness Statement no.767, p.3.)

6. Oscar Traynor, Bureau of Military History Witness Statement no. 340, p.80.

7. O’Cuinneagain p.97.

8. O’Cuinneagain p.100.

9. O’Cuinneagain p.102-3, see http://www.orwellianireland.com/armoftime2.jpg .

10. Lenihan p.23.

11. http://www.orwellianireland.com/armoftime2.jpg .

12. What was known about the driver before this article was written was:
– he was a Free State Army driver;
– had been in the British Army;
– was called Michael Corry but in other accounts he is described as ‘M B Corry’.
In the 1922 census of the Free State army you can see this Michael Corry listed as a driver. He was in the British Army, because his marriage certificate states he was a ‘soldier’ in 1917 and it is him because the address of his wife is the same as that address in the 1922 Free State army census. Also further research on him showed his middle name as Bartholomew, which obviously corresponds then to the ‘M B Corry’ reference.
The information on him and his family was compiled from: Birth, Death and Marriage Civil Records, and some newspaper death records, on the dates given; and from the records of Glasnevin cemetery.

13. According to the record of his death in the Irish Civil Registers of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

14. O’Cuinneagain p.103.

15. “which Taylor seems to have obtained” (Lenihan p.14.).

16. Lenihan p.34.

17. ‘Corry’s account, of which there is more than one version, but only one of which is available here’ (Lenihan p.17, quoting Eoin Neeson, The Life and Death of Michael Collins (Cork, 1968), p.121.)

18. Evening Herald 12/7/1968, p.10.
 
By the way Emmet's family, or his nephew anyway, also believed that he did it, as pointed out in this reference from the catalogue of the O'Mahony papers in the National Library (I got that reference from Talk Back on www.politicalirish.com .):
HSE7zD.png
.
 
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Zipporah's Flint

Active member
Emmet Dalton

The convoy that emerged around the corner at Béal na Blath held not only Collins, but also the senior National Army figure at that time in Cork, Major General Emmet Dalton, who had commanded the forces that took the Four Courts which started the war.

If you examine the actual events it is clear that he killed himself, maybe out of guilt for his treachery not just to Ireland but to friends and comrades as well, maybe guilt for some other reason. No one just walks out into the live fire in a situation like that not knowing that their chances of getting killed are extremely high.
 
Many thanks Anderson et al, anyway just to rehash some points there in case they are a little confusing:

Immediately before the outbreak of the Civil War the anti-Treaty side were supplied by arms given to them by Collins from British Army stocks that the Free State were getting. This seemed to happen all across Ireland and on a large scale.

From Collins' perspective, its supposed to be a swap, he gives them these arms, they give him whatever miscellaneous arms they have and he gives the latter to the Ulster IRA or stores them in dumps along the Border in preparation for an assault on the Six Counties. If the arms are captured or discovered by the British, they will blame the anti-Treaty side, because that's where the guns came from, and not Collins and the Irish government.

So far so good, but realistically, if people like Emmet Dalton were working for British Intelligence, then the British knew all long that this was happening. Personally I don't think they would have disliked this initially, because it served to arm the anti-Treaty side which encouraged them to fight the Civil War that I think the British wanted to see fought. (Remember, in theory this is just a 'swap' of weapons, but realistically where are the anti-Treaty side going to get large amounts of high quality weapons and equipment before this? During the War of Independence rifles, and where they had them, ammunition, were like gold dust, very rare and hard to come by. So when they get supplied from the Free State/ British Army stocks like this, it looks much more like arming the anti-Treaty side rather than just 'swapping' them.)

But Collins it seems was all along determined to turn this into an attack on the Six Counties and the British would clearly have to stop this. That comes across very much from the record of those months, and anyway we had the Boundary Commission coming down the tracks, which the British already no doubt were hay working but knew that Collins would never tolerate any back sliding on.

Also, just to reiterate again, remember too about Wilson. A Field Marshal, Baronet and MP, he had been the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, the very head of the British army, and was gunned down in cold blood on a London Street. While the British would go along with the fiction that it was the anti-Treaty side, for the purpose of starting the Civil War, they weren't fooled, it had Collins' men and method all over it, and it was, for them, unforgivable.

Hence Béal na Blath was no accident or random death in my opinion.
 

valamhic

Well-known member
Staff member
Footnotes
‘O’Cuinneagain’ below is Michael O’Cuinneagain, On the Arm of Time (Tanatallon, Donegal Town, 1992) and ‘Lenihan’ is Denis Lenihan, The Death of Michael Collins, Who Pulled the Trigger (2014). O’Cuinneagain was the son of Patrick Cunningham, MP for Tyrone, and whose family are involved with Strathroy Dairy in Co. Tyrone. He also tapped into a very wide circle of knowledgeable Collins researchers in the 80s in Ireland, which even included a few people who knew him like Sean MacBride.

1. “he was also appointed legal adviser to the British Post Office with access to many of the intelligence-gathering activities of the state.”
( https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article/the-boy-who-would-not-grow-up ).
It was even said that information on the Cairo gang, those killed on Bloody Sunday, came from Crompton to Collins via Moya (O’Cuinneagain, p.102.).

2. O’Cuinneagain p.68.

3. Another source for example is Richard Walsh TD, a senior IRA officer in Mayo at the time:
“In pursuance of this agreed policy, an arrangement was come to between the two military organisations to the effect that an exchange of arms would take place, i.e., the anti-Treaty forces would hand over their rifles and other weapons they possessed to the Treaty forces in exchange for weapons got from the British by the pro-Treaty forces. The reason stated for this exchange was that when the exchange was completed it was proposed to attack the British forces at the posts held by them in the six Northern Counties. The British at this time had evacuated almost all Southern Ireland posts with the exception of a few coastal defence positions. The Provisional Government policy would be, in the event of the attacks on the Six Counties positions, to deny all responsibility for those attacks, and it was stated that to prevent their being involved in those attacks, it was absolutely necessary that none of the arms which the Provisional Government obtained from England should be identified if arms were captured during operations against British forces in the Northern Counties.”
(Richard Walsh, Bureau of Military History Witness Statement no.400, p.175-6.)

4. O’Cuinneagain p.87-8.

5. “I called at an office at the archway near the Queen’s theatre in Pearse St. [Dublin] and there I met J.P. Dalton – Emmet Dalton’s father – and from him I purchased for £25, six Mausers of the 1896 Spanish model pattern, and one 1877 Mauser Single-barreled rifle. A week later, Emmet Dalton arrived at my business premises in Ballyhaunis with the six rifles, but no ammunition. I had already received ammunition at this stage from Belfast through an Orangeman – I had only about 25 rounds. I took Emmet Dalton and my foreman, Pat Kennedy, who was in the Volunteers, to the police rifle range and we did our practice openly. Emmet Dalton told me that John Redmond was getting him a commission in the British army. Emmet Dalton was wearing a Christian Brothers cap at the time; he told me he was 18 years of age. His statement made me sad, because it cut straight across what he was then doing. I tried to persuade him not to join, but I was not successful.”
(Pat Moylett, Bureau of Military History Witness Statement no.767, p.3.)

6. Oscar Traynor, Bureau of Military History Witness Statement no. 340, p.80.

7. O’Cuinneagain p.97.

8. O’Cuinneagain p.100.

9. O’Cuinneagain p.102-3, see http://www.orwellianireland.com/armoftime2.jpg .

10. Lenihan p.23.

11. http://www.orwellianireland.com/armoftime2.jpg .

12. What was known about the driver before this article was written was:
– he was a Free State Army driver;
– had been in the British Army;
– was called Michael Corry but in other accounts he is described as ‘M B Corry’.
In the 1922 census of the Free State army you can see this Michael Corry listed as a driver. He was in the British Army, because his marriage certificate states he was a ‘soldier’ in 1917 and it is him because the address of his wife is the same as that address in the 1922 Free State army census. Also further research on him showed his middle name as Bartholomew, which obviously corresponds then to the ‘M B Corry’ reference.
The information on him and his family was compiled from: Birth, Death and Marriage Civil Records, and some newspaper death records, on the dates given; and from the records of Glasnevin cemetery.

13. According to the record of his death in the Irish Civil Registers of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

14. O’Cuinneagain p.103.

15. “which Taylor seems to have obtained” (Lenihan p.14.).

16. Lenihan p.34.

17. ‘Corry’s account, of which there is more than one version, but only one of which is available here’ (Lenihan p.17, quoting Eoin Neeson, The Life and Death of Michael Collins (Cork, 1968), p.121.)

18. Evening Herald 12/7/1968, p.10.
There was a massive contingent of irregulars assembled at the scene earlier that evening and most of them went to the pub for refreshments.

Had Collins arrived earlier, not only would he be killed, everyone in the squad would be killed. So a plot by Dalton to kill him would have been futile because Dalton himself would be killed and Dalton must have feared for his life too.
 

valamhic

Well-known member
Staff member
If you examine the actual events it is clear that he killed himself, maybe out of guilt for his treachery not just to Ireland but to friends and comrades as well, maybe guilt for some other reason. No one just walks out into the live fire in a situation like that not knowing that their chances of getting killed are extremely high.
He said that they would not kill me in my own county!
 

valamhic

Well-known member
Staff member
Yes and the point is Val that Collins was seeking out the senior Republicans, who were all in that area on that day, including De Valera, in order to move forward with his peace proposals.
I would say that was right. But the fact remains they were out to kill him,
 

Declan

Administrator
Staff member
That is great stuff. I have a physical edition of Orwellian Ireland that I bought on Amazon and an electronic version of Brian Nugents other book.

Just looking at the shooting at the most basic level, a rifleman would be aiming for the chest so a lucky shot is somewhat unlikely to the head.
 

Hitsticle

Active member
That is great stuff. I have a physical edition of Orwellian Ireland that I bought on Amazon and an electronic version of Brian Nugents other book.

Just looking at the shooting at the most basic level, a rifleman would be aiming for the chest so a lucky shot is somewhat unlikely to the head.
I've only recently come across Nugent. Ordered a few of his books, the Toronto protocols and Sli na Firinne look really interesting. Not arrived yet though.
 

Declan

Administrator
Staff member

Hitsticle

Active member
It is The Defence of Conspiracies that I have in physical form, the Orwellian one is in electronic.

I might get this one to see how it turned out 10 years later

I've read up on Operation Lockstep, so I'm wondering how similar it is. Would you recommend 'The defense of Conspiracies'? Might pick up a copy.
 
Many many thanks for your kind comments, and I hope you like the books, anyway I think the truth really is stranger than fiction.

Here is a curious reference that I didn't know before anyway, from wikipedia on General Wilson:

"Wilson privately suspected Lloyd George of being "a traitor & a Bolshevist" (15 January 1920 – he expressed similar concerns on 27 May and 23 July – Calwell omitted most of these entries from his published version of Wilson's diaries). He was particularly concerned by the presence in May of a Soviet trade delegation led by Krasin, who on his second visit in August 1920 was accompanied by Kamenev, who was keen to make contacts in the UK and who was subsidising the Daily Herald.[331]

331. On 18 August Wilson confided his doubts in his deputy, Harington, and in Lt-Gen Sir William Thwaites, Director of Military Intelligence, and later that day he saw Churchill, who wrote to the Prime Minister recommending the expulsion of the Soviet emissaries. Wilson also shared his concerns with Sir Basil Thomson, in charge of anti-spying activities at the Metropolitan Police, Admiral Sir Montague Browning (Second Sea Lord), Vice-Admiral Sir Osmond de B. Brock (Deputy Chief of Naval Staff), Rear Admiral Sinclair (Director of British Naval Intelligence) and Trenchard (Chief of Air Staff)."

He was now newly in the Commons, which would allow him to talk about all this if he wanted to, and certainly he was opposing Lloyd-George.

Anyway I know thats probably a stretch too far, but really we are all fooled by and underestimate how much so many of our leaders have double lives like that. I was just listening to Roger Stone a while ago, an adviser on something like 7 Presidential campaigns, who pointed out how Nixon, Johnson, Truman and Kennedy, all owed their early political rise to the mafia, and I think this is true.
 
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