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Subject

Sir Mansfield Cumming

Person  Male  Born 1/4/1859  Died 14/6/1923

First Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6.

Born as Mansfield George Smith. Began his career in the navy aged 13, but suffering severe sea-sickness he was retired in 1885, and married for the first time that year. After his first wife's death he married again in 1889 and as part of the marriage settlement changed his surname first to Smith-Cumming and then Cumming. See William Burdett-Coutts for other men who have similarly honoured their wives.  

He was appointed head of a spying section in 1909 with Germany being the main target, and then Russia. After the war he became the head of all foreign espionage and remained so until his death. He initialled papers 'C' and that has lead to all subsequent chiefs being known as 'C'.

In 1914 he lost a leg in a car crash, in which his son who had been driving was killed. Died at home, 1 Melbury Road.

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Sir Mansfield Cumming

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Sir Mansfield Cumming

Sir Mansfield Cumming, 1859 - 1923, first Chief of the Secret Service lived h...

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