Vernon George Waldegrave Keel

Managing Real Estate Broker with Fathom Realty PB00068179

Vernon George Waldegrave Kell was born in Great Yarmouth, England back in 1873 to Waldegrave and Georgiana.  He graduated from the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, commissioned into the South Staffordshire Regiment in 1894.  He was promoted to lieutenant in 1896. 

He fought in the Boxer Rebellion in 1900.  He could speak German, Italian, French and Polish.  Stationed in Tientsin on the intelligence staff, he was also the foreign correspondent of The Daily Telegraph, being promoted to captain in 1901.  In 1909, he was selected by the War Office and the Admiralty to head the newly formed Secret Service Bureau.  Working during WWI he was dealing with the Indian seditionist movement in Europe.

What you may not know about Sir Vernon George Waldegrave Kell is that he was the founder and first Director of the British Security Service, otherwise known a MI5.  He was known as K.  to date he is the longest-serving head of any British government department during the 20th century.

He died in 1942, he was 68.

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Comments (18)

Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Happily Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

Good morning, James Dray 

this is as good as you're getting today!!!  not much on this dude!!  feel free to dig deeply into this book....

Jan 23, 2021 02:52 AM
Barbara Tattersall
Keller Williams Realty Metropolitan (Keene,NH) - Keene, NH

He's a secret!

Jan 23, 2021 04:21 AM
Raymond E. Camp
Ontario, NY

Good morning James,

I have heard of K and figured out where the K came from.

Make yourself an astonishing day.

Jan 23, 2021 04:24 AM
Brian England
Ambrose Realty Management LLC - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

So many secrets in the world and I am sure if we knew the truth about some things it wouldn't surprise us and we would be appalled.

Jan 23, 2021 04:57 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

A nice history lesson about Britain's M-15, James. Shame that "K" died so young.

Jan 23, 2021 04:57 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, James, for sharing this story.

Take care, be safe and enjoy the weekend.

Jan 23, 2021 05:29 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning James. Sir Vernon certainly led an interesting life. Enjoy your day.

Jan 23, 2021 05:49 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning James Dray - usually those people and the details stay hidden but get uncovered after time.

Jan 23, 2021 06:02 AM
Rocky Dickerson
Realty One Group - Las Vegas, NV
Superior Service!

Hey there James Dray so is this why in the Bond movies we have M and Q?

Jan 23, 2021 09:37 AM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


Although I have read many spy novels, I had not heard of Sir Keel, AKA. "K".  Happy Saturday!

Jan 23, 2021 01:04 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi James- All I know is Q from James Bond- However, he certainly accomplished quite a bit. 

Jan 23, 2021 01:16 PM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co Notary Services retired RE Broker

Isn't there a "K" in the Bond movies or perhaps I'm thinking of Men In Black. Eitherway this reminded me of Bond, James Dray Bond 🙄

Jan 23, 2021 04:23 PM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi James Dray - James Bond had Mr. Keel or K to thank!

Jan 23, 2021 05:13 PM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

I had no idea who is the founder and the first director are the british Security Service was. Thank you for another learning lesson  James Dray 

Jan 23, 2021 09:09 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Most of this was news to me but certainly an interesting read! Thanks for telling a few "secrets."

Jan 24, 2021 04:03 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

James just to be clear I commented on your post I wonder where my comment dissappeared to? Strange it was not a bad comment, Endre


Jan 25, 2021 12:15 AM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

Boxer rebellion was the most messed up military conflict. An illeterate Dowager declared War on every nation in her nephew's name. He was a poppet child king. She got much of what she did not want. My aunt got a scholarship from US returned indemnity as a boxer rebellion scholar at Columbia U.  Other 7 nations kept the money and demanded more territory and concession. Several nations had no missionary presence and got compensated!  Dowager died later by poison the emperor first so they die same week. Shortly their Dynasty was overthrown. It became a Republic.

Feb 09, 2021 10:45 AM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

That the gentleman was referred to as "K" reminds me of a James Bond movie.

Aug 21, 2021 06:43 AM