Linn Farrish

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Olympic medal record
Men's rugby union
Representing the  United States
Gold medal – first place 1924 Paris Team competition

Linn Markley Farrish (October 3, 1901 – September 11, 1944) was an American rugby union player and alleged spy.


Farrish competed in the 1924 Summer Olympics. He was a member of the American rugby union team, which won the gold medal.[1]


Farrish was a member of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during the Second World War. While acting as the OSS liaison officer to Josip Tito's Yugoslav Partisans he was also allegedly serving Soviet intelligence but there is no evidence for this beyond his sharing certain information with Tito's troops. Biographer Mark Ryan states "Patriotic Farish would never do anything to harm his beloved USA.".[2] Fitzroy Maclean jocularly referred to him in his memoir Eastern Approaches as "my American chief of staff". Farish died in an aircraft crash in the Balkans in September 1944. Farish's code name in Soviet intelligence, and as deciphered in the Venona project is "Attila". He was also referred to as "Lawrene of Yugoslavia" (as was William M. Jones).

Farish is referenced in the following Venona project decryption: 1397 KGB New York to Moscow, 4 October 1944

Sent into Yugoslavia as a secret agent, he mapped out the region for areas which could be used as landing strips. He then flew in and out of Yugoslavia, rescuing hundreds of fliers who had bailed out of crippled planes in the Balkans. He spent three 90-day periods in Yugoslavia, each time parachuting in, and then surveying the area by plane, crashing in the Balkan Mountains on the third trip. He was given the Distinguished Service Cross


  • John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America, Yale University Press (1999), pgs. 194, 195.


  1. ^ profile
  2. ^ For The Glory – Mark Ryan (JR Books)