Colin Figures

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.

Colin Figures

Born1 July 1925
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Died8 December 2006 (aged 81)
Esher, United Kingdom
Alma materPembroke College, Cambridge
OccupationBritish intelligence officer
Spouse(s)Pamela Ann Timmis
Childrena son and two daughters
Parent(s)Frederick and Muriel Figures
Spying career
AllegianceUnited Kingdom Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
ServiceSecret Intelligence Service (SIS/MI6)
Active1951 – 1985
RankChief of the Secret Intelligence Service
Operation(s)Suez Crisis
Prague Spring
Falklands War


Figures was born in Birmingham, the son of Frederick Figures, an insurance executive, and his wife Muriel.[1] He was educated at King Edward's School, Birmingham[2] and served in The Worcestershire Regiment from 1945 until 1948,[2] during which time he studied Russian via the Inter-Service Language Course at Cambridge, and served in Romania and Hungary.[2] He read French and Russian at Pembroke College, Cambridge after being demobilised in 1948, and joined the SIS when he graduated in 1951.[2]

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.[2] He moved from Eastern bloc espionage in 1973 to supervise SIS activities in Northern Ireland.[2] He became deputy head of SIS in 1979 and its ninth Chief in 1981.[2] 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 aircraft.[3] He received an OBE in 1969 and CMG in 1978, and advanced to KCMG in 1983.[2]

He retired from SIS in 1985, and became Intelligence Co-ordinator at the Cabinet Office.[2] He finally retired in 1989.[2]

He married Pamela Ann Timmis in 1956.[1] He suffered from Parkinson's disease in later life, and died in Esher.[1] He was survived by his wife, and their son and two daughters.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Obituary: Sir Colin Figures The Independent, 29 December 2006
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Obituary: Sir Colin Figures The Times, 15 December 2006
  3. ^ Obituary: Sir Colin Figures Daily Telegraph, 21 December 2006
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Dick Franks
Chief of the SIS
Succeeded by
Sir Christopher Curwen
Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service

The Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service serves as the head of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS, also commonly known as MI6), which is part of the United Kingdom intelligence community. The Chief is appointed by the Foreign Secretary, to whom he directly reports. Annual reports are also made to the Prime Minister.The chief of the Secret Intelligence Service typically signs letters with a "C" in green ink. This originates from the initial used by Captain Sir Mansfield Smith-Cumming, RN, when he signed a letter "C" in green ink. Since then the chief has been known as 'C'.

Christopher Curwen

Sir Christopher Keith Curwen, (9 April 1929 – 18 December 2013) was a British Intelligence officer specialising in South East Asia who was Head of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) from 1985 to 1989.

Deaths in December 2006

The following is a list of notable deaths in December 2006.

Entries for each day are listed alphabetically by surname. A typical entry lists information in the following sequence:

Name, age, country of citizenship at birth, subsequent country of citizenship (if applicable), reason for notability, cause of death (if known), and reference.

Dick Franks

Sir Arthur Temple "Dick" Franks (13 July 1920 – 12 October 2008) was Head of the British Secret Intelligence Service from 1979 to 1982.

King Edward's School, Birmingham

King Edward's School (KES) is an independent day school for boys in Edgbaston, an area of Birmingham, England. Founded by King Edward VI in 1552, it is part of the Foundation of the Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham.

It is a boys' school, although it shares the site, and is twinned, with King Edward VI High School for Girls (KEHS). Whilst the two schools are run completely separately, dramatic arts, societies, music and other events are often shared; the schools also share a couple of hockey pitches and several clubs. The shared area is called Winterbourne after the nearby Winterbourne Botanic Garden.

Secret Intelligence Service

The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), commonly known as MI6, is the foreign intelligence service of the government of the United Kingdom, tasked mainly with the covert overseas collection and analysis of human intelligence (HUMINT) in support of the UK's national security. SIS is a member of the country's intelligence community and its Chief is accountable to the country's Foreign Secretary.Formed in 1909 as a section of the Secret Service Bureau specialising in foreign intelligence, the section experienced dramatic growth during World War I and officially adopted its current name around 1920. The name MI6 (meaning Military Intelligence, Section 6) originated as a flag of convenience during World War II, when SIS was known by many names. It is still commonly used today. The existence of SIS was not officially acknowledged until 1994. That year the Intelligence Services Act 1994 (ISA) was introduced to Parliament, to place the organisation on a statutory footing for the first time. It provides the legal basis for its operations. Today, SIS is subject to public oversight by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal and the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee.

The stated priority roles of SIS are counter-terrorism, counter-proliferation, providing intelligence in support of cyber security, and supporting stability overseas to disrupt terrorism and other criminal activities. Unlike its main sister agencies, the Security Service (MI5) and Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), SIS works exclusively in foreign intelligence gathering; the ISA allows it to carry out operations only against persons outside the British Islands. Some of SIS's actions since the 2000s have attracted significant controversy, such as its alleged acts of torture and extraordinary rendition.Since 1995, SIS has been headquartered in the SIS Building in London, on the South Bank of the River Thames.

The Woodpeckers (Rugby union team)

The Woodpeckers were a combined Oxford and Cambridge touring rugby team, founded in 1948 by Colin Figures while at Pembroke College, Cambridge.

The team colours were a 'woodpecker'-green shirt, grey shorts and green hose.

As well as Colin Figures, other members of the team included former Guardian rugby union correspondent, David Frost.

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