TWO MEN who spied on the Russians during the Cold War from on board their trawlers were taken out on a special trip on the Humber yesterday.
The trip on HMS Pickle ,a replica of the ship which bought news of the victory at Trafalgar, was in recognition of their efforts in the 1960s when MI6 ran a scheme in which skippers took photographs of Russian ships.
Ex skipper Mason Redfearn, 82, was first introduced to the “debonair” Cdr John Brookes after returning from fishing in 1963 and was sent to London to hone his skills.
For the next decade he took pictures on trips to the White Sea. “I had a weighted bag and if there was any chance of us being boarded I had to dump my camera, telescope and everything over the side and get rid of it,” he recalled.Click To Tweet
Deckhand Sid Withers, now 84, took part in a trip on Arctic Galyard with Cdr Brookes and other agents, when they thought they were about to be boarded by a large Russian ship, manned by white-suited officers, who spoke to them in impeccable English, after their nets got snagged off Murmansk. Mr Withers, who has never given interviews before, said the officers had been monitoring signals coming from shore and the wheelhouse was full of their equipment. They panicked and “got rid of the stuff they gathered – put in on the fire in the engine room and dumped some over the side,” he said.