Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Real James Bond

A Man on a Mission

Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Lenin

Prior to his first mission Reilly was provided with detailed orders which he failed to follow from the first day. Instead of going to Archangel as ordered he went to Murmansk where he was immediately arrested for failing to provide British agents stationed there with the proper documentation. Reilly spent a short period imprisoned in the brig of the HMS Glory but was released when he provided a commander with a coded message which was clearly constructed by the British intelligence agency, Spence said.

Robert Bruce Lockhart
Robert Bruce Lockhart

Reilly then traveled to Petrograd and then in May to Moscow, where he pulled an unauthorized stunt that almost ended his career as a spy. He presented himself at the Kremlin as an emissary sent by British Prime Minister David Lloyd George and demanded to meet with Lenin to discuss the new Bolshevik government's future aims and objectives, Cook said. Reilly was never permitted to see Lenin but did manage to arrange a meeting with the leader's aide, Vladimir Bruevich, who revealed little if any useful information. Reilly's superiors later confronted him about his "dramatic debut at the Kremlin" but Reilly denied everything, except having visited it on the day in question, Cook further stated.

Reilly's audacious episode could have likely ended his career but instead the SIS kept decided to let him continue his reconnaissance work. Soon after, Reilly allegedly joined forces with the head of the British Mission in Moscow Robert Bruce Lockhart and designed an elaborate plot to overthrow the Bolshevik government. It is not clear whether the British government was behind the scheme but what was certain is that both men used their positions and contacts to further their objective.          

Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky

Reilly and Lockhart's plan (commonly referred to as "The Lockhart Plot") was to intercept Lenin and Trotsky, Lenin's war commissar, during a meeting at Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre on September 6, 1918 and arrest them. There is some debate whether they planned to give Lenin and Trotsky over to allied forces upon arrest or actually shoot them, yet in the end it didn't matter. An informer alerted the Bolsheviks about the conspiracy, which put a prompt end to Reilly and Lockhart's plans. Both men were later tried in absentia, found guilty for plotting to kill Lenin and sentenced to death. Reilly and Lockhart managed to escape Russia before the Bolsheviks got a hold of them.

Categories
Advertisement