Professor Boris Ford

DONALD MITCHELL's obituary of Boris Ford [27 May] does not refer to the pre-1950 years, writes N.P. Thomas. Ford was the leading figure of the wartime Army Bureau of Current Affairs set up to enlighten soldiers about the political aspects of the war. It was viewed with some suspicion by the generals. At the end of the war Ford and some of his colleagues reconstituted themselves as the civil Bureau of Current Affairs with the aim of becoming a resource centre for adult education.

At the time I was a neighbour and he told me this story. His wife remarked on a character who regularly lurked outside their house. They thought it might be some criminal "casing the joint". One day when Boris was at home and the figure was there, he phoned the local police station who said they would send a car round. As the house numbering was confusing in our area, Boris said he would meet them at the bottom of the road. This he did, but no sooner had he got in their car when the telephone came to life and he clearly heard the message "Cancel exercise, subject is MI5".