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Sir Maurice Oldfield GCMG CBE (16 November 1915 – 11 March 1981) was a British intelligence officer and espionage administrator. He was the seventh director of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) from 1973 to 1978.
He was born on 16 November 1915 at his grandmother's farm just outside Youlgrave, a village in Derbyshire. He grew up at a house called Mona View in Over Haddon. He was the first of 11 children of Joseph Oldfield, tenant farmer, and his wife, Ada Annie Dicken.
He was educated at Lady Manners School before winning a scholarship to Victoria University of Manchester. There, he studied under the famous historian AJP Taylor and specialised in medieval history. He graduated with a first class degree and was elected to a fellowship.
During World War 2 he joined the British Army. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Intelligence Corps in July 1943. Most of his wartime service was in in Egypt at the headquarters of SIME (Security Intelligence Middle East) in Cairo. This was primarily a counter-
By the end of the war he had been promoted to major. In 1946, he was awarded an MBE.
After the war he joined the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), commonly known as MI6. From 1947 to 1949, he was deputy to Brigadier Douglas Roberts, the head of counter-
After two postings to Singapore (the first as deputy head, the second as head of the SIS regional headquarters) he was awarded the CBE. From 1959, he spent four years as the SIS representative in Washington DC. This was a key post, important for the maintenance of good relations between the SIS and the Central Intelligence Agency.
On his return, he became director of counter-
In 1979 the new prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, asked him to coordinate security and intelligence in Northern Ireland.
He died on the 11th March 1981.