Blake, a member of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), became affiliated with the communist ideology while serving as a prisoner of war in Korea. He said he volunteered to work for the Soviet Union after witnessing the atrocities of U.S. army in North Korea.In 1953 Blake informed Soviet intelligence of US and British plans to build a tunnel into the Soviet-occupied zone of Berlin to surveil landline communications at the Soviet Army headquarters. The Soviets unearthed the tunnel two years later, after carrying out an elaborate operation in which they fed western spies misinformation. The intelligence leak and the Soviet operation was only discovered by MI6 after Blake was exposed as a double agent, nearly ten years later.
A Polish defector exposed Blake as a Soviet spy in 1961. He was convicted on spying charges in Britain and sentenced to 42 years in prison. In October 1966, he made a bold escape from Wormwood Scrubs prison in West London with help from several people he met while in custody. Blake spent two months hiding at his assistant’s place and was then driven across Europe to East Berlin inside a wooden box attached under a car.
In the Soviet Union he was feted as a hero, decorated with top medals, and given a country house outside Moscow. Blake maintained contacts with other British double agents, including Donald Maclean and Kim Philby, members of the so-called Cambridge Five.
He received the country’s Order of Friendship in 2007. In a statement made in 2017 Blake pointed out that the Soviet Union had become his “second motherland".
He never regretted for his support of the Soviet Union: "The Communist ideal is too high to achieve ... But I am optimistic, that in time, and it may take thousands of years, that humanity will come to the viewpoint that it would be better to live in a Communist society where people were really equal", had once said.