Surprising Neighbours

Above: Sten Submachine gun.
Photo courtesy of Imperial War Museum

A story appeared in the Daily Mail last week about Eileen Burgoyne of Twickenham who appeared to be a typical shy and retiring pensioner living quietly in a suburban street. Following her death at the age of 99, however, builders working on her former home found a stash of weapons and ammunition including a 9mm Sten submachine gun, causing the area to be cordoned off by police who initially feared a possible explosion from a bomb.

Along with the weapons, documents and other items were found which indicated that Miss Burgoyne was working for the Intelligence Services after the Second World War and among her roles was a job assisting in the interrogation of prisoners.

Today, there are many other unsung individuals who, after their active service, retire to a quiet life with their neighbours and family entirely unaware of their sacrifices and work behind the scenes for national security during their working lives.