Klop Ustinov was Britain’s most ingenious spy – codenamed U35. He wasn’t licensed to kill, he was authorised to tell tall stories that bemused and beguiled the enemy into revealing their deepest secrets. From the Russian Revolution to the Cold War he bluffed and tricked his way into the confidence of Soviet commissars and Gestapo Gruppenführer.
He was a bon viveur whose nickname meant bedbug, so-called by a very understanding wife on account of his extraordinary capacity to hop from woman’s bed to another in the service of the King. He was descended from Russian aristocrats and Ethiopian princesses but fancied himself the perfect Englishman.
He passed on his talent as a raconteur to his famous son, the actor Peter Ustinov, but Klop’s untold story is more amazing and entertaining than any of Peter’s chat show anecdotes.
He had an informant at the highest level inside the German intelligence service, he dealt with defectors and traitors, his interrogations revealed the innermost workings of the Nazi regime and the KGB.
Yet for the most part his story has remained untold. Now those who knew him well reveal the man behind the carefully contrived clownish image and the archives of Britain, the United States and Germany give up their secrets.
I have many years experience in journalism, including 12 years as reporter and deputy news editor of the Mail on Sunday. In my years as a freelance archive researcher I have come up with a string of exclusive stories. My family history research varies from one of Britain's earliest lottery winners - a 17th century East End tailor - to Kate Middleton's ancestors. Work for authors covers Amazon explorers, Caribbean privateers and Norway's role in the First World War. Research locations include The National Archives, British Library, London Metropolitan Archives, Society of Genealogists, National Maritime Museum, Churchill Archives and Cambridge University Library. Get in touch for details of hourly and daily fees.