Our thanks to Henry Kott for this background piece on Milford:
Crabtree is the son of a Scottish father, Andrew Crabtree of Glenmorangie, and a French mother, Monique Courvoisier. The boy Milford Crabtree spent most of his life abroad, becoming multi-lingual in German and French, because of his father, a salesman, who travelled, in ladies undergarments. Milford becomes an orphan when his parents die in a climbing accident in the Alps, at the age of eleven years.
The Crabtree family motto is sufficit Orbis (Latin for "peace is not enough"). This dates back to an ancestor Thomas Crabtree, although his relationship to Milford Crabtree is not clear. "This is an excellent motto of which I, of course, am proud," said Milford Crabtree curtly. He looked pointedly at his watch. "Now, I'm afraid we really must get to work. I must declare my department."
After the death of his parents, he continues to live with his aunt, Miss Chardonnay Crabtree, in the village of Upper Scrotum, where he completed his pre-school education. He later briefly attended Eton College at around 12 or so, but withdrew after four terms because of problems with a girl from the town. He is said to have lost his virginity at the age of sixteen years on his first visit to Paris. Crabtree is removed from Eton and sent to Fettes College in Edinburgh, Scotland, to the school of his father. According to Pearson, Crabtree briefly attended the University of Geneva.
Service in the Royal Navy
After university Crabtree joins the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve rising to commander. He maintains this rank in British intelligence.
After joining the RNVR, Crabtree is sent to the United States, Hong Kong, and Jamaica, and joined other organisations such as the SOE or SIS 00-section, or as head of an undercover unit of the Royal Naval mission behind enemy lines at times of hostility.
Crabtree is a civil servant working in the Department of Defence as a Principal Officer, the civilian equivalent of capital appreciation in the Royal Navy.
Crabtree earns his 00 status after two ‘tasks’; first, the murder of a Japanese spy, on the 36th floor of the ARC at the Rockefeller Centre in New York, and for the murder of a Norwegian double agent who betrayed two British agents. Crabtree travels to Stockholm with a knife and killed a man in his sleep.
Milford Crabtree is reserved about his licence to kill, if the mission can be achieved without killing, he will disobey orders and not kill if he doesn’t feel it to be necessary. Milford Crabtree is haunted by memories of a Mexican gunman that he killed with his bare hands early in his career. Crabtree hates those who kill non-combatants, including women. It was part of his profession to kill people. He never wanted to do so, but when he had to kill he did so because he knew how and why. As an undercover officer, who holds the rare Double-O prefix - a licence to kill - it is his duty to be cool and treat death like a surgeon. If it happens, it happens. Regret is unprofessional – “worse still it is the beetle was awaiting death in the soul. Nevertheless, he kills, if necessary. Crabtree has a casual attitude toward his death, acknowledging that he may be killed if captured.