SIS Centenary 1909-2009
To mark the centenary of the Service in 2009, the Foreign
Secretary agreed to the preparation of a volume of SIS' history
covering 1909 to the early Cold War. Written by Professor Keith
Jeffery of Queen's University Belfast 'MI6 - A history or SIS
1909-1949' was published in September 2010
Professor Jeffery had access to material in the SIS archive to
allow him to complete his book. However, the archive itself remains
closed to the public. SIS commitment to the protection of
intelligence sources is paramount and the book does not reveal
operational details which remain sensitive.
MI6: A Century in the Shadows
BBC Radio 4 broadcast three programmes on SIS between 27th July
and 10th August 2009. The presenter was Security Correspondent
Gordon Corera. Against the backdrop of the Service's 100-year
history, he explored what has changed and what has stayed the
He examined the role of an intelligence service in government,
the nature of intelligence, events where intelligence has made a
difference and surrounding issues such as accountability, secrecy
and ethics. Exceptionally, the then C agreed to give the BBC
an on-the-record interview around the main themes; this is the
first time such an interview has taken place.
Commemorative Plaque at Westminster Abbey
October 1909 saw the formation of the services that became SIS,
MI5 and GCHQ. On 14th October 2009, to mark the centenary,
Her Majesty the Queen and Prime Minister Gordon Brown attended a
short service in the Cloisters of Westminster Abbey to acknowledge
the service of past, present and future staff of SIS, MI5 and
GCHQ. The Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary, who are
responsible for the three services, were also in attendance.
Her Majesty witnessed the presentation to Westminster Abbey of a
plaque as pictured above which bears the Royal Cypher, the
initials of the three services and the inscription:
"RECOGNISING SERVICE AT HOME AND ABROAD PROTECTING THE UNITED
KINGDOM SINCE 1909"
Restoration of Cumming's Grave
1st April 2009 was the 150th anniversary of the birth of the
first 'C'. In our centenary year SIS observed the event by
restoring Mansfield Cumming's Grave to its original
condition and held a private rededication ceremony.