Fifty years ago Britain had just emerged from the coldest winter of the 20th century when some protesters emerged to stoke the fire of protest and rattle the establishment. The Spies for Peace, as they called themselves, were a small group of peace activists who not only marched and shouted, but also broke into a government bunker, stole the secrets they found there and published the then Conservative government’s plans for the aftermath of nuclear war.
The Spies for Peace were young and idealistic, but they were also smart. They wanted to break the secretive absurdities of the state, but they did not want to be arrested for doing so. Only my late father, Nicolas Walter, has previously been named as one of the group, and now, 50 years on, my mother, Ruth Walter, is also happy to be identified.
The Spies secretly created a pamphlet in which they explained what they had discovered about the regional seats of government that would spring into action in the event of nuclear war. They duplicated 3,000 copies of the pamphlet, destroyed the originals, even threw the typewriter they had used into a canal, and posted them to members of the peace movement, plus journalists, celebrities and MPs.