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Cold War exploits help inspire new spy hero from Lincolnshire writer

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: December 15, 2013

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A former British intelligence officer during the Cold War has written and published two books detailing the exploits of fictional spy John Reddisson.

Freddy Johnson, now 80, mixes fiction with fact in the two novels that deal with the early and later years of Reddisson's nomadic and colourful career.

Mr Johnson, who settled in Lincolnshire in 2002, was, for three years, a British Liaison Officer (BLO) to a Soviet Military Mission (SOXMIS) in West Germany at the height of the Cold War. But rather than write an autobiography about his time in the Army, Mr Johnson opted to introduce some creativity in detailing the exploits of his main character Reddisson.

"Both are self-contained books but together they constitute one continuous account of the John Reddisson saga, said Mr Johnson, who began writing them last November.

"The hero of the typing was the middle finger of my right hand which did 46,000 of the 72,000 words of book one and 75,000 out of the 102,000 words in the follow-up.

"Fortunately, no Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) developed. The books are not autobiographies. They are both novels in which fiction is mingled with fact."

Mr Johnson had some interesting times during his period as a BLO with SOXMIS at Bunde and in the course of his duties he learned to speak fluent Russian.

"The Royal Military Police used to detain Russian soldiers who were out spying on our exercises and I had to go and attend to their situation," recalls Mr Johnson. "They were always freed.

"Sometimes the Soviets would lie up overnight in nearby woods or copses and do their observation. It was certainly a very interesting time.

"The Soviets were interested in what we were doing in West Germany in the same way the British Army watched them in East Germany. The Cold War ran from 1945 to 1990 – ending with the reunification of Germany."

On his return to England, Mr Johnson married wife Ingeborg and became Principal of the Folkestone English Language School until 1998 when the couple retired to a villa in Andalucia in Spain.

But life proved to be equally as eventful in the Spanish sun. The couple narrowly escaped a mountainside fire and the villa itself was only saved from destruction by the lack of trees around its concrete structure.

The pair finally settled in Bracebridge Heath where Mr Johnson, prompted by family requests, decided to sit down and write the novels.

"They are unusual because when they are compared to many modern novels, they have no sex, violence or swearing in them," he added.

He self-published both books through Grosvenor House and they are available online at Amazon.

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