Radio interceptor for GCHQ;

Radio interceptor for GCHQ;

Born: April 7, 1921; Died: September 27, 2013.

JOCK Kane, who has died aged 92, flew as a radio operator on RAF bombers during the Battle of the Atlantic, in North Africa, in the invasion of Italy, in Yugoslavia and in Greece. After the war, the lad from Coatbridge, who had joined the RAF straight out of school, went on to work for British intelligence as a radio interceptor for GCHQ during the Cold War, feeding intercepted information from the Soviet Union and its allies to the famous Bletchley Park code-breaking centre in Buckinghamshire. For part of that time, he was based at the Foreign Office's top-secret "Y listening station" at Hawklaw, outside Cupar, Fife, monitoring radio communications from Soviet naval vessels.

In the intelligence community, he was perhaps best-known for criticising GCHQ, accusing it of corruption, laxness in security and hushing up what he called inappropriate sexual behaviour among some of its staff based overseas, notably in Hong Kong where he had worked. He said his concern was simply that such information would benefit Britain's enemies but nowadays he would fashionably be called a whistleblower.

Although his revelations happened in the 1970s, they have found an echo in the latest accusations against GCHQ based on information from Edward Snowden, the fugitive former employee of the US National Security Agency. Mr Kane made his allegations in two books, both of which were quashed by British intelligence - and physically seized by Special Branch - but inevitably leaked to the press. After such a dramatic career, he was happy to retire to Barton on Sea, Hampshire, where he became a popular milkman and school bus driver.

He was born in Coatbridge and attended what was then St Patrick's High School, brought up by his father and aunts because his mother had died when he was two. After his 18th birthday, with war looming, he joined the RAF and trained as a radio operator in Blackpool. After the outbreak of war, he was assigned to bombers over the Atlantic, calibrating radar signals to help ensure the safety of allied vessels against the threat of German submarines. He later served with RAF squadrons backing up allied ground forces in North Africa and Italy, and, towards the end of the war, supporting pro-allied forces in Yugoslavia and Greece. It was in Greece that he met a young anti-Nazi partisan called Alexandra, who had been helping British and other allied forces escape. They married in 1949.

Mr Kane's skills as a radio operator had come to the notice of GCHQ and they recruited him soon after the war, posting him, partly due to his accent but to his delight, north of the border to Hawklaw in Fife. The listening station on a ridge above Cupar was billed as a long-distance radio station. Unbeknowns to the locals, it was actually a key factor in the allied war effort, initially supplying the raw material which Bletchley Park (X-Station) would then de-code, giving the allies a massive advantage against first the Nazis and later the Soviets.

By the time Mr Kane got there, the threat was from the Soviets and, to a large extent, his big boss was the US. His job was to intercept morse code, telephone, telex, radar or other signals emanating from behind the so-called Iron Curtain. Conversations he picked up from Soviet bloc agents - often via British embassies - were passed on to MI6 and thereafter to the US National Security Agency (where the most recent whistleblower, Mr Snowden, would work many years later). For GCHQ, Mr Kane served in Belfast, Aden, Istanbul, Singapore and Hong Kong.

It was in Hong Kong, where he and his GCHQ colleagues were based at RAF Little Sai Wan, in the 1970s that he first chronicled the fact that Chinese cleaners were freely collecting classified material from wastepaper baskets. He worked that out after intercepting telephone communications between Chinese intelligence agents. His allegations of sexual misconduct were also hushed up by his superiors but a British TV programme -- World in Action -- later alleged that male GCHQ staff in Hong Kong were using a massage service which promised "we go all the way." One of Mr Kane's colleagues at GCHQ, Geoffrey Prime, resigned in 1977 after being revealed as a Soviet KGB spy, and was sentenced to two separate jail terms: one, 35 years, for being a traitor, and two, for sexual offences against young girls (for which he served three years).

As an ex-RAF man in retirement in Barton on Sea, east of Bournemouth, Jock Kane loved watching young paragliders take off from the local Barton cliffs. During the war years, his parachute to him had meant life or death. In his later years, most of the local residents had no idea what Jock - their milkman, the man who drove their kids to school - had done in his life. According to his family, he liked it that way.

He had been long divorced from his first wife Alexandra when she died in 1999. He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Cynthia, and by his two sons from the first marriage.