REED, Ronald Thomas 1916-1995. Military intelligence agent. Ronnie Reed’s father was killed in France when Ronnie was less than a year old, and he grew up in the King’s Cross area of London, becoming a choirboy at St Pancras Church. With his boyhood friend Charles Chilton (later Head of the BBC Light Programme) he developed a life-long interest in ‘ham’ radio, eventually qualifying as an electrical engineer and, in the mid-1930s, joining the BBC. In 1940 he was summoned to Wormwood Scrubs Prison at the request of those interrogating a recently arrived German spy who had agreed to collaborate (rather than be shot), to supervise the spy’s first call back to Germany. Reed was thereafter seconded to MI5 for the remainder of the War. Eddie Chapman, probably this country’s most successful triple agent (and the subject of the film Triple Cross) later presented him with the Iron Cross which Chapman had been awarded by the unsuspecting Germans. By the early 1950s Reed, by now married with two sons and living in Upper Norwood, was a senior officer in MI5, in charge of the section dealing with Russian spies. In 1957 he was seconded to the Foreign Office, and posted for three years to New Zealand, where he helped set up the equivalent of MI5. On their return he and his wife Mary bought 2 Court Lane Gardens, where they continued to live after his retirement in 1976.
Ronnie Reed was a resident of Dulwich for thirty-five years, and was active in the Dulwich Society Trees Sub-Committee, so that it is particularly fitting that he is commemorated by an oak planted at the junction of Turney and Burbage Roads, under which his ashes were placed.