The Solitary Spy

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Of the 2.3 million National Servicemen conscripted during the Cold War, 4,200 attended the secret Joint Services School for Linguists, tasked with supplying much-needed Russian speakers to the three services. After training, they were sent to the front lines in Germany and elsewhere to snoop on Soviet aircraft in real time. Posted to RAF Gatow in Berlin, ideally placed for signals interception, author Douglas Boyd came to know Hitler’s devastated former capital. Pulling no punches, he describes SIGINT work, his subsequent arrest by armed Soviet soldiers, and how he was locked up without trial in solitary confinement in a Stasi prison. The Solitary Spy is a unique first-hand account of the terrifying experience of incarceration and interrogation in an East German political prison, from which Boyd eventually escaped, one step ahead of the KGB.