Cecil Day Lewis

Cecil Day Lewis

Document reference: KV 2/1385

Cecil Day Lewis (1904-1972) the poet and author (of detective novels under the pseudonym Nicholas Blake), was appointed Poet Laureate in 1968 (and was the father of actor Daniel and cookery writer and broadcaster Tamasin Day-Lewis). During the Second World War he worked for the Ministry of Information. He first came to MI5's attention in 1933 in intercepted correspondence with Harry Pollitt, head of the Communist Party of Great Britain.

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This file includes copies of intercepted mail, police enquiry and extracts from Secret Intelligence Service reports, including the decision that there was no justification for seeking a Home Office warrant on Lewis, and general correspondence about his employment in the Ministry, including a warning about Lewis' communist sympathies. There is a letter to Major V Vivian at the Secret Intelligence Service on Lewis, Stephen Spender and W H Auden, all supporters of the Communist Party, which states "Harry Pollitt incidentally thinks less than nothing of their value to the party." The file also includes two exit permit applications to allow Lewis to travel to Ireland in 1940 and 1941, the second in Lewis's own hand.