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Apr 27, 2012 8:00 PM

A spy lives in the Foothills

TUCSON - Hidden in the foothills of Tucson is a spy, a British spy from World War II. After 50 years of secrecy, he is now telling his story.

Patrick Ellam lived more life by the age of 26 than many of us will in a lifetime. After meeting him, you realize that to him, it's not really a big deal. He was just having fun. Still, he is considered to be one of only a dozen people responsible for keeping the atomic bomb out of Hitler's hands.

As a young man, Ellam was bright and energetic. He was also headstrong and non-compliant - the perfect combination for a spy.

"And they taught me how to take a gun off a man. You simply take the gun away and stick a knife in him," said Ellam.

With a British sense of humor, Ellam writes about his adventures as a spy in his book, "Things I Remember." Once he smuggled a man out of the country, which he often did, but this man discovered a factory where the Germans were working on a new kind of bomb.

"That apparently was the atom bomb, but luckily we stopped them from having them before they ever got them. But it was just one job," said Ellam.

One day he discovered that he was working with a German spy, so he rigged the German's parachute not to open, something that still saddens him to this day. "I didn't feel the enemy were bad people. They were just people that happened to be born in a place that was fighting our place," said Ellam. "My job was to kill those guys. Their job was to kill me. I didn't feel unkind about it. It was just some stupid thing that some stupid government had chosen to do."

Ellam's work in World War II was top secret for decades.

"I didn't tell a single soul including my father for 50 years," he said. The secret is out now. A spy lives among us.

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