Not that much is known of Dudley himself -- very passionate about uniforms, “a sharp little man with bright, quick eyes,” who was “nocturnal” in his habits. No one’s saying he was gay, of course. But at the least, Dud was queer enough to be a star in our books: he helped win the war AND did a mean turn in drag. Mind you, the spy game has always been pretty gay, at least outside of America -- the Brits used to recruit from Oxford and Cambridge universities, and the profession attracted a healthy percentage of upper-class homos. At one stage, the Brits’ secret service was so infiltrated by agents from Russian’s Comintern, that the network was referred to as the “Homintern.” And the Russians, while outwardly frowning on gayness, were fast to send out handsome young agents to entrap their gay English counterparts and blackmail them.
The best-known of these scandals was the so-called “Cambridge Five” spy ring, five Cambridge posh chaps who all passed secrets to the Russians in the Cold War. Homsexual secrets, turncoat commies, lovers’ rivalries; this one had it all. It's such a great story they even made a movie based on the events: the excellent 1986 Blunt, starring Anthony Hopkins and Ian Richardson. The best line is when Richardson (Sir Anthony Blunt) walks in on ex-lover Hopkins (Guy Burgess) and a young man after a night of revelry. “Don’t worry, poppet,” says Burgess to the lad “it’s just the missus.” And MacLean, leaving, says to the butler “if he needs bum, he’s welcome to him.”
So, here’s to drag-queen spies and bum!
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