Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Real James Bond

Back into the Lion's Den

Captain George Hill
Captain George Hill

In November 1918, Reilly found his way back to London, where he immediately reported to 'C' about his Russian exploits. During his meeting, he boldly requested to return to Russia on another mission, which 'C' later approved. According to Cook, Reilly's new assignment was to choose an assistant and travel with him to Russia to gather "important information about the Black Sea coast and South Russia," which was necessary at the time, especially since the British government was planning to help the anti-Bolshevik Whites Army defeat the Russian government.

Reilly and his new partner, SIS agent Capt. George Hill, set off to Russia in late December and arrived on Christmas Eve. The men immediately set about their work, collecting secret information from key operatives who were most familiar with the political situation and the ongoing war between the Red Army and the Whites Volunteer Army. Reilly and Hill's diligence and bravery paid off and in January 1919, both men were awarded the Military Cross for distinguished services. 

British Military Cross
British Military Cross

Several months after he received his medal, Reilly returned to New York City where he was reunited with Nadine. Even though the couple was happy to see each other things between them had drastically changed during Reilly's long absence. It wasn't long before they amicably split and filed for divorce soon thereafter. Surprisingly, all the way through the divorce, Reilly was still able to keep it secret that they were never legally married in the first place.

Within a matter of months Reilly met another woman, Caryll Houselander, with whom he developed a new relationship. Ever the adventurer, Reilly also started a new mission at around the same time. It seemed that he was just not the kind of man to stay pinned to anyone place, or person for that matter, for any length of time.

Boris Savinkov
Boris Savinkov

His new mission involved going to Poland to collect intelligence about a possible truce between the Poles and Russians, who were embroiled in a war at the time. During one of his visits to the country, he met with anti-Bolshevik assassin and revolutionist Boris Savinkov, and they together devised a plan to topple the Russian government. Reilly's campaign against the Bolsheviks became a personal one because of his pure hatred of Communist ideology and his hopes to benefit politically and financially from the installation of a new regime.

Reilly invested vast sums of his own money, as well as that of the SIS and private backers, to fund his and Savinkov's campaign. Eventually, Reilly ran out of money and also favor with the SIS, who became increasingly irritated with him. In 1922 the SIS officially severed all links with Reilly, something that devastated him entirely, Cook suggested in his book. It would prove to be the beginning of a downward spiral for Reilly.

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