May, Allan Nunn

(1911–2003)
   An important British nuclear physicist, May worked for the GRU rezidentura in Ottawa from 1943 to 1945 for very little money—approximately $500. May’s motivation is thought to have been both ideological and personal. He believed that it was his duty as a scientist to provide Moscow with scientific intelligence. Moreover, he apparently enjoyed the life of being a spy. When Igor Gouzenko defected in September 1945, he brought information that showed May was a controlled Soviet agent. The information provided details about May’s contact instruction with the GRU in London, where he had returned at the end of the war. The British Security Service (MI5) was unable to catch May with a Soviet case officer but did trap him into making a full confession. May was tried and convicted of violating the Official Secrets Act. His defense was that he had never betrayed the interests of the United Kingdom but had only assisted the work of a wartime ally. He served less than seven years in prison and then vanished behind the Iron Curtain. Post mortem examinations of Soviet espionage in the nuclear program suggested that May was an outstanding and capable agent, and that the information he provided was invaluable to Soviet scientists in building a nuclear bomb.
   See also Enormoz.

Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. . 2014.

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