(With apologies to Len Deighton, this is my attempt at a humorous, poetic tribute to Harry Palmer, cold war hero of The Ipcress File and Funeral in Berlin)

Insubordinate Sergeant Palmer ,

blinking blondly: what a charmer !

Searchlight spectacles, off just for bed ,

Reads your field reports by cocking his head .

But Harry’s file’s not in the tray ;

Even his Zodiac’s gone astray .

Another scam? Bird on expenses?

Clerical error, Ministry of Defence’s?

Mozart and champignons, one-fifty a year?

He’s legged it to Berlin for some bitte beer.”

A British warrant officer would never leave his lighter,

let alone official secrets, with some Russian blighter.”

Isn’t there some rule that all our moles

should at least hold a Fellowship at All Souls?”

When the bandstand’s quiet and the cold war’s done

He’ll send us a postcard to tell us who won.

Has he really defected? An ugly rumour …

but I shall miss that sense of humour.