Fascinating talk on life as a Cold War spy

Peter Williams in Potsdam in 1982
Peter Williams in Potsdam in 1982
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There’s a rare opportunity to hear a fascinating talk from a real-life former Cold War spy at 7.30pm on Wednesday, November 27, at Buckingham Parish Church.

Maj Gen Peter Williams CMG, OBE was the commanding officer of Buckingham rector Will Pearson-Gee when the two men were in the Coldstream Guards together.

Will Pearson-Gee and Maj Gen Williams.

Will Pearson-Gee and Maj Gen Williams.

Now Rev Pearson-Gee has invited the distinguished former intelligence officer to give a talk about his life as a licensed spy against the Soviet army in East Germany.

In My Life As a Cold War Spy, Maj Gen Williams will describe his experiences as a military spy on the ground in East Germany operating against the Soviets.

It’s a unique chance to hear an insider’s view of espionage at a time of great international tension under the threat of nuclear war, opening a window on to a chilly le Carréian world.

Money raised from the talk will support the church and its work in the community.

Maj Gen Peter Williams today

Maj Gen Peter Williams today

Rev Pearson-Gee said: “This is going to be a cracker. He’s a very good speaker and he’s very amusing as well.

“He was my company commander in Hong Kong in 1987 and then again he was my commanding officer on a tour in East Tyrone in Northern Ireland in 1992.

“In Hong Kong we spent a couple of months in the jungle together. It’s a very unforgiving environment and we really got to know each other very well. I’m very fond of him.

“No doubt he’ll take the mickey out of me.”

Maj Gen Williams spent over 30 years in the Coldstream Guards.

During the Cold War he served as a regimental intelligence officer in Berlin from 1973 to 1975 and then in West Belfast. After studying Russian and German, he spent more than four years as a military spy in Berlin and East Germany in the 1980s.

He was awarded an MBE for his success as an intelligence collector and analyst.

Rev Pearson-Gee said: “This is seriously gritty stuff, being tailed by the KGB and trying to outrun them and hide from them so you could go into areas you weren’t meant to be and take pictures.

“He managed to come back with evidence the Soviets had developed a new weapons system for their tanks, on the basis of which Nato had to redesign their own weapons systems. The whole thing’s a game of cat and mouse.”

From 1993 to 1994, Maj Gen Williams commanded his Coldstream Guards armoured infantry battalion group in central Bosnia on UN peacekeeping operations during the civil war there, for which he was honoured with an OBE.

He was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) and retired from the A rmy in December 2005.

Tickets £10 on the door (students £4, schoolchildren free) to include a glass of wine or a soft drink.