Guy Vivian SOE T Section (Belgium)

Guy Vivian

Guy Vivian was born to a British father and Belgium mother in Antwerp and left Belgium in 1935 to work for the GPO (General Post Office) in Britain as a linguist and switchboard operator. From 1939 to 1940 he served with the Royal Signals and was with the BEF in Cherbourg.

Although he married his Belgium wife at an early age the SOE assessors were concerned about his extra-marital activities especially after Vivian told one of the training staff that whilst living in Cherbourg, he had a flat where he gave English lessons to young girls and his flat was like a brothel.

On 13 April 1943 Vivian was sent to France by Lysander because it was easier to land in France than in Belgium, with instructions to organise a courier network to allow mail to be passed between Belgium and London. There is little information in his personal file and his last contact with London is dated 23 April 1943.  It is known he was arrested by the SD at 43 bis Rue des Belles-Feuilles in Paris where they found a document which blew his cover, but the nature of this document is unknown.

SOE concerns over “his intense interest in women” proved to be his undoing: the SD were investigating the death of a woman who had last been seen in his company and was later described as a spy, but it is not known whether she was a German agent or a paid informant.  As instructed during training, If Vivian discovered she was working for the Germans, he most likely eliminated her, but if this were the case, he failed to leave the area and cover his tracks which he was also instructed to do.

It has been said Vivian was shot by the Germans at the Fort du Mont-Valérien in the Paris suburbs sometime in November 1943, but it has not been explained why he was not buried until 4 December 1943.  

Alan Malcher

Author: Alan Malcher

Military historian and defence commentator

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