Forster, Leonard Wilson, 1913-1997
by Peter Skrine
- 17 Apr 2016
- 978-0-19-726209-2 hbk
Extract relating to military intelligence work:
During the Second World War he found himself, like many another high-flying young academic at Bletchley Park. Transformed into a naval officer and, from 1941, attached to the Foreign Office like the subject of his Basle doctoral thesis [the poet Georg Rudolf Weckherlin (1584-1653)], he was employed in breaking German codes and carrying out other types of intelligence work, and ended the war as a Lietuenant-Commander RNVR (Sp.). He never spoke about his war, or, at least, never outside a close circle. One can therefore only speculate about its long-term influence on him. It may, however, be surmised that the experience sensitised him to the relationship between public persona and private individual, and to the contrast between the candid acts of free human beings in safe surroundings and the subterfuges and secrecies forced upon human beings in darker days.