Actual "Spy Retirement Home" Was the Real Inspiration for "The Prisoner" TV Series
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Actual "Spy Retirement Home" Was the Real Inspiration for "The Prisoner" TV Series

The actual place which was used to house "incompetent" spies until after WWII, and how it became the inspiration for "The Prisoner" series.

Amazingly, more than 30 years after the ending of the television series "The Prisoner" intelligence has newly been declassified that demonstrates that such a location, an estate called Inverlair Lodge near Spean Bridge, in Scotland was actually taken over by the SOE, Special Operations Executive, an organization that was instituted to oversee warfare other than combat, such as sabotage and spying operations. The operation at Inverlair was called "Number 6 Special Workshop School" or, more often,  "the cooler" by London SOE staff, and was set up to house people who had trained in espionage or as saboteurs, but turned out to be considered ineffective, unsuitable for duty or just incompetent or "too difficult to handle" by the SOE.

The research documents, which were from the Archives at Kew, and led to a book, "British Intelligence: Secrets, Spies and Sources" published by the National Archives, which has been authored by Stephen Twigge, Edward Hampshire and Graham Macklin, points out that the inmates were basically seen as having too much information about the SOE, secret operations, and, since many were foreign nationals which had been brought to England for training, they could not be released because they were a risk to secrecy, and were a risk if allowed to come under control of enemy forces. It was because of the information these inmates had that their freedom was considered a risk to the war effort, and so the center was kept open until after the war ended.  The residents were there for many reasons, including one who apparently "so remarkably ugly" as to be recognizable anywhere, as well as those who were basically viewed as too risky to hold information and do secretive works, the persons held there were not treated badly, but not considered safe to allow in public, or to return to any active role in the public sector.

Although it was supposedly based upon this SOE  secret camp, "The Prisoner " did not reveal a great deal of the information about this camp, but it is believed that Patrick McGoohan's character, Number 6, borrowed the name of the camp, "Number 6" as his title,  even this small bit of information was kept secret until 2008. It has always been speculated that the camp was changed, before the end of the war to hold not only spies who posed a greater threat being in the service or in public, but possibly spies who were suspected of having too much information about particular situations, or  ones who had demonstrated an unwillingness to keep secrets which could be embarrassing to the government, and one has to wonder what became of those people who were removed from their homeland, held without any consideration of rights for wartime purposes, and if the same  sort of events have been used recently for similar cause.

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