Guy Liddell

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Guy Maynard Liddell (born November 8, 1892 in London , † December 2, 1958 ) was a British intelligence officer .


A talented violoncello player, Liddell planned to become a professional musician in his youth and studied music in Germany until the beginning of the First World War . He served in the Royal Field Artillery until the end of the war and was awarded the Military Cross . From 1919 he worked for the Special Branch of the London Police , which worked closely with the domestic intelligence service MI5 . In October 1931 he moved to MI5 and became deputy head of Division B, responsible for counter-espionage . Initially employed as an expert on Russian subversion, in the late 1930s he also had the activities of fascist groups such as Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists and Archibald Ramsay'sRight Club ” put under surveillance. In 1940 he was appointed director of Division B, which he held until the end of the war.

During the war years, Liddell was responsible for setting up and implementing the “ double cross system ”: For years, German spies smuggled into Great Britain were exposed, arrested and in numerous cases “ turned around ” in order to deceive their German clients with manipulated information ( double cross ). The greatest success of the double-cross system is the misleading of Hitler and the high command of the Wehrmacht about the attack point of the Allied invasion on June 6, 1944 . Weeks later, on the German side, the landing in Normandy was only regarded as a diversionary maneuver, instead a later main attack on the Channel coast near Calais was expected.

After the war, from 1945 to 1952, Liddell was deputy general manager of MI5. His longstanding contacts with Soviet spies Guy Burgess and Anthony Blunt prevented his further promotion, although a later investigation revealed that he had never known of their espionage activities.

Liddell was married since 1926 in a less than happy marriage to Calypso Baring, the daughter of Cecil Baring, 3rd Baron Revelstoke . After she separated from him and moved to the United States with their four children, the couple divorced in 1943.

In 2005 the British government released the publication of Liddell's diaries which he had kept during his years in office and which had been a well-kept MI5 secret for decades under the code name "Wallflowers".


  • Christopher Andrew: The Defense of the Realm. The authorized History of MI 5 . London 2009.
  • Nigel West (= Rupert Allason ): The Guy Liddell Diaries . Extracts