Adrian McLaughlin joined the 1st Battalion Queen Victoria’s Rifles (King’s Royal Rifle Corps), a Territorial Army unit, with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant on 15 January 1938. He transferred from the Swindon Battalion in late 1940 and in 1941 was proposed for work with Military Intelligence. He then joined the Special Operations Executive on 6 July 1942 as part of the Russia (D/P) Section which was engaged in liaison with the N.K.V.D and was promoted to the rank of Captain. He was posted to Moscow in November 1943, under the command of Brigadier George Hill, sailing from Loch Ewe as part of the mercantile convoy JW54A. He completed his services in Moscow, with the rank of Major, in late 1945, having been appointed Head of D/P Section in May 1945. He then served as part of the Allied Control Commission until he was released from military service on 28 June 1946.

He wrote a history of the Russian Section (PRO – HS7/187) and in later years (1971) wrote the fifth volume of the secret history of SOE, which dealt with SOE’s affairs in Eastern Asia and can be found in the National Archives (PRO – CAB 102/653). The first four volumes were written by William MacKenzie and published by St Ermin’s Press.

He joined the Foreign Office and was posted to the British Embassy in Prague as Vice-Consul where, in June 1950, he was named in a political trial of thirteen Czechoslovak patriots which followed the pattern of those that could be seen in Bulgaria, Rumania and Hungary (copying those which had occurred in the Soviet Union). Some of those involved in the trial were executed and Adrian McLaughlin was expelled from Czechoslovakia.