Colin Figures

Colin Figures

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Colin Figures

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Sir Colin Frederick Figures KCMG, OBE (1 July 1925 – 8 December 2006) was Head of the British Secret Intelligence Service (known as MI6) from 1981 to 1985. He was deputy secretary and Intelligence Co-ordinator of the Cabinet Office from 1985 to 1989.


Figures was born in Birmingham, the son of Frederick Figures, an insurance executive, and his wife Muriel. He was educated at King Edward's School, Birmingham and served in The Worcestershire Regiment from 1945 until 1948, during which time he studied Russian at Cambridge, and served in Romania and Hungary. He read French and Russian at Pembroke College, Cambridge after being demobilised in 1948, and joined the SIS when he graduated in 1951.

After a period in London, he served in Germany, served in Amman during the Suez Crisis, in Warsaw, and in Vienna during the Prague Spring, before returning to London. He moved from Eastern bloc espionage in 1973 to supervise SIS activities in Northern Ireland. The following year, SIS was involved in the Falklands War, seeking to prevent Argentina obtaining stocks of Exocet missiles to be carried by their Super Etendard attack...
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