Papers of John Murray (born 1908), clerk and civil servant, 1925-1989

Scope and Content

The bulk of the collection consists of personal papers of John Varicopulos / John Murray. Theseinclude: British passports issued in England, Kovno in Lithuania and Riga in Latvia between 1925 and1945 (MS 293/1); soldier's service and pay book including a form showing transfer to theIntelligence Corps, 1943-1946 (MS 293/2); International Student Identity Card, 1973 (MS 293/3); andUniversity of Nottingham Cripps Hall Guild card, c. 1973 (MS 293/4);

Also present are black and white copy photographs showing: marriage certificate of John and NoraMurray; Nora and John Murray taken after their wedding; and Nora Murray, on her own and with VivienLeigh on the film set of Anna Karenina. The original photographs were taken between 1942 and about1949. 1989 (MS 293/5);

A copy of John Murray's book, 'A Spy Called Swallow' (London: W.H. Allen, 1978) is annotated witha manuscript dedication and acknowledgements to the staff and students of the University ofNottingham. 1978-1979 (MS 293/7).

Administrative / Biographical History

John Varicopulos was born in Blackpool, Lancashire on 7 January 1908. In 1937 he assumed the nameJohn Murray. Murray worked as a short-hand typist until about 1935 when he moved to Riga in Latviato become a tobacco merchant. He married Nora (ne Korzhenko), a Russian spy, in 1942 in Archangel,Russia. They fled to England where John enlisted in the British army in 1943. After beingdemobilised from the Intelligence Corps in 1946, Murray took a number of different jobs. He workedin an ice-cream factory, at H.M. Prison Holloway, and at the Zoological Society of London. Heundertook a course in history at the University of Nottingham in 1972-1973, and subsequentlydedicated his first book to the staff and students of that year. The book, 'A Spy Called Swallow'(London: W.H. Allen, 1978) tells the story of how he met his wife.


The collection has been divided by document type into series. Within these series, items havebeen arranged chronologically where possible.

Access Information

ACCESS: Accessible to all registered readers.


Other Finding Aids

  • This description is the only finding aid available for the collection. Copyright on thedescription belongs to The University of Nottingham.

Conditions Governing Use

REPROGRAPHIC: Reprographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposesonly, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.

COPYRIGHT: Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult.Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advancein writing from the Keeper of Manuscripts and Special Collections (email

Custodial History

The collection was given to the University of Nottingham's Department of Manuscripts and SpecialCollections in two parts; in December 1978 and November 1994.


  • John Murray A Spy Called Swallow (London: W.H. Allen, 1978)