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Death announced of former MI5 DG Sir Patrick Walker

Published date: 19 Oct 2021

We are saddened to announce that Sir Patrick Walker, Director General of MI5 between 1988-1992, died on 13 October following a long illness.

Born in 1932 in Kuala Lumpar, Sir Patrick was educated at Kings’ School Canterbury. After reading Modern History at Trinity College Oxford, Patrick joined the Overseas Civil Service. He spent six years as an assistant District Commissioner in Uganda, before joining the Security Service at the end of 1962. From counter-espionage, to a secondment to government, to counter- terrorism, he rose through the ranks before becoming Director of both the Irish and international counter-terrorist sections. He was appointed Deputy Director General in 1986, and became the 12th Director General of MI5 in 1988.

During his term of office he oversaw MI5’s transition through the end of the Cold War. He led MI5 into a new period of openness, with the enactment of the Security Service Act 1989, which put MI5 on a statutory footing. The Act acknowledged the function of MI5 for the first time: prior to 1989, successive UK governments had denied MI5’s existence.

Sir Patrick retired in 1992, having been awarded the KCB in 1990. On retirement, he became Chairman of the International Committee of the Leonard Cheshire Foundation, a global health and welfare charity advocating for disability rights. He joined the board of governors of the Nene College in 1997, later becoming Chairman and steering them to full university status as the University of Northampton. He was also on boards of several local organisations and charities in Northamptonshire.

Current MI5 Director General, Ken McCallum, offered his condolences on behalf of the entire organisation:

‘Sir Patrick’s career was characterised by his energy and enthusiasm, often winning high praise as a dynamic Intelligence Officer, most notably in the field of counter-terrorism. He was a responsive, active leader, who never failed to have the welfare of his staff at heart.

‘Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with his wife of 66 years, Susan, their three children and his extended family’.


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