Christopher Curwen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the politician, see Christopher Curwen (MP).
Christopher Curwen
Allegiance United Kingdom Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
Service Secret Intelligence Service (SIS/MI6)
Rank Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service
Award(s) KCMG

Born (1929-04-09)9 April 1929
Died 18 December 2013(2013-12-18) (aged 84)
Nationality British
Occupation Intelligence officer
Alma mater Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge

Sir Christopher Keith Curwen, KCMG (9 April 1929 – 18 December 2013) was a British Intelligence officer specialising in South East Asia who was Head of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) from 1985 to 1989.

Curwen was educated at Sherborne School and Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge after which he was commissioned into the 4th Queen's Own Hussars in 1948, serving in Malaya.[1] He joined SIS in 1952 and was posted to Thailand in 1954 and Vientiane, Laos in 1956. He returned to the service's London headquarters in 1958, had another spell in Bangkok from 1961 and then two years in Kuala Lumpur.

Curwen spent three years as SIS liaison officer in Washington D.C. from 1968 and was then head of station in Geneva.[2] He was deputy to Sir Colin Figures from 1980 and succeeded him as Chief of the Service in 1985.[3] His tenure was notable for the successful exfiltration from Moscow of the KGB officer and British agent Oleg Gordievsky.[4]


  1. ^ Burke's Peerage and Gentry
  2. ^ MI6 - 50 years of Special Operations, by Stephen Dorril, Page 753, Harper Collins, 2001, ISBN 1-85702-701-9
  3. ^ Cloaked Dagger
  4. ^ Obituary: Sir Christopher Curwen Daily Telegraph, 24 December 2013
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Colin Figures
Chief of the SIS
Succeeded by
Sir Colin McColl