Patrick Beesly

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Patrick Beesly
Born 27 June 1913
Died 16 August 1986
Occupation Author
Nationality British
Genres history

Patrick Beesly (27 June 1913 – 16 August 1986) was a British author and intelligence officer during World War II.

Beesly was the son of Gerald Beesly and his wife Helen (née Chamberlain) who was a cousin of Neville Chamberlain. Beasley attended Oundle School following which he read history at Trinity College, Cambridge. Like his brother Richard Beesly, who obtained an olympic gold medal in rowing, he had an interest in boats and became captain of the boat club. He received further education at Bonn, Vienna, and Brussels.

Just before World War II, he joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) in June 1939, became a Sub-Lieutenant (Special Branch), and was appointed to the Naval Intelligence Division (NID 2), in the section concentrating on France, Spain, and the Benelux countries. Subsequently he became assistant to Lieutenant Commander (later Vice Admiral) Sir Norman Denning in the Operations Intelligence Centre (July 1940). His first assignment was with the activities of armed merchant raiders but from 1941 until the end of the war with Germany he worked on submarine tracking as Deputy to Commander Rodger Winn. He was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and acted as Intelligence Officer to the Commander in Chief, Germany, at Flesburg and Minden.

He left the military in December 1945, receiving the American Legion of Merit (rank of Legionnaire) for his wartime services. He then made a career in private industry with Henry Hope & Sons Ltd, becoming its Managing Director in 1967 before retiring in 1974. Since by that time bans on writing about the intelligence services had been relaxed, he began writing about Intelligence operations. His first book, Very Special Intelligence in 1977 was well received, and he proceeded to write others on related themes.


  • Very Special Intelligence Hamish Hamilton (1977). An account of British Naval Operational Intelligence Centre OIC.
  • Very Special Admiral Hamish Hamilton (1980). A biography of Vice Admiral John Godfrey, director of Naval intelligence in World War II
  • Room 40 Hamish Hamilton (1982). An account of Naval Intelligence during World War I.


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