George Kennedy Young

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George Kennedy Young
Born(1911-04-08)8 April 1911
Dumfries, Dumfriesshire, Scotland, United Kingdom
Died9 May 1990(1990-05-09) (aged 79)
Charing Cross Hospital, London, England, United Kingdom[1]
OccupationDeputy director of MI6

George Kennedy Young, CB, MBE, M.A. (8 April 1911 – 9 May 1990) was a deputy director of MI6, and later involved in British conservative politics. He was also a merchant banker.


George K. Young attended St. Andrews University, University of Burgundy, University of Giessen and Yale University. Before the Second World War he was on the editorial staff of the Glasgow Herald. He was commissioned (1940) as an officer in the King's Own Scottish Borderers regiment but later transferred to British Intelligence. In his book Inside Intelligence, Anthony Cavendish, a friend and colleague of Young, includes a seventeen-page summary of Young's career (Young also wrote the foreword for this book). According to Cavendish, Young's intelligence career started in the Second World War. He was employed first in Africa and later in Italy and North West Europe where his work involved 'playing back' captured enemy agents as channels for disinformation. Young became an expert in the methods of the Italian Fascist police system and those of the German secret services.

Following the war, after a brief return to journalism, Young returned to the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) as head of its Vienna station, where he was involved in running agents in south east Europe. In 1949 he was made head of SIS's economic requirements section (R6), their point of contact with the Treasury, the Board of Trade and the Bank of England. In 1951 he was appointed controller of SIS operations in the 'Middle East Area' which stretched from Morocco to Afghanistan down to Ethiopia. Here he became involved in implementing the Anglo-American decision to remove the Iranian leader Mossadeq and reinstate the Shah. According to Cavendish the Shah later said of Young that "In times of crisis he is a man who can take decisions and throw caution to the winds. Young is a man who believes that friendship cuts both ways and that Britain should stand by her friends even at the risk of offending others." In 1953 Young was recalled to London to take over as SIS Director of Requirements and in 1956, during the Suez crisis, he was again put in charge of Middle East Operations. In 1959 he was appointed Vice Chief of the Secret Service. His dissatisfaction with the Macmillan government led him to resign as Deputy of MI6 in 1961 and enter merchant banking.

G.K. (as he was popularly referred to) subsequently became Chairman of the Society for Individual Freedom. He was also an early and leading member of the Conservative Monday Club serving on several of its policy committees (Chairman of the Action Fund 1967-69), (Chairman, Economics Committee) and Executive Council. He was virulently opposed to immigration, supporting Enoch Powell's line, and helped found the club's immigration committee. After losing an acrimonious election for the position of club chairman to Jonathan Guinness in 1974 in which he had been supported by the British National Front,[2] he set up another far-right group called Tory Action. In 1976, Young, assisted by Frederic Bennett, created the private army 'Unison'.[3]

A London-based Czech spy, Jan Mrazek has cited Young as a likely conspirator in a plot to undermine Edward Heath.[4] David Leigh wrote that Young was closely associated with alleged attempts to undermine the Labour government of Harold Wilson in the mid-1960s, that he regarded the Tory government of Edward Heath as virtually socialist, and planned action to remove those he considered enemies of the state: "a security counter-action need cover no more than 5,000 persons, including some 40 M.P.s., not all of them Labour; several hundred journalists and media employees, plus their supporting academics and clerics; the full-time members and main activists of the C.P.G.B. and the Socialist Workers' Party; and the directing elements of the 30 or 40 bodies affecting concern and compassion for youth, age, civil liberties, social research, and minority grievances."[5]

Young gave his views on the role of the spy in a circular issued during the late '50s, quoted by George Blake:

"In the press, in Parliament, in the United Nations, from the pulpit, there is a ceaseless talk about the rule of law, civilised relations between nations, the spread of democratic processes, self-determination and national sovereignty, respect for the rights of man and human dignity.
'The reality, we all know perfectly well is quite the opposite and consists of an ever-increasing spread of lawlessness, disregard of human contract, cruelty and corruption. The nuclear stalemate is matched by the moral stalemate.
'It is the spy who has been called on to remedy the situation created by the deficiencies of ministers, diplomats, generals and priests.
'Men's minds are shaped of course by their environments and we spies, although we have our professional mystique, do perhaps live closer the realities and hard facts of international relations than other practitioners of government. We are relatively free of the problems of status, of precedence, departmental attitudes and evasions of personal responsibility, which create the official cast of mind. We do not have to develop, like Parliamentarians conditioned by a lifetime, the ability to produce the ready phrase, the smart reply and the flashing smile. And so it is not surprising these days that the spy finds himself the main guardian of intellectual integrity."

In November 2015, John Mann, Labour MP for Bassetlaw said information provided to him indicated that Young was involved in a right-wing Conservative group which gathered details on alleged paedophiles within the House of Commons. Young, also known as 'GK' who died in 1990, was not named as a paedophile but Mann described him as a “manipulator” who had been involved in “dubious” political activities, including a campaign to set up a private army.[6]


  1. ^ "Young, George Kennedy (1911–1990)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. 2004. Retrieved 20 March 2018. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  2. ^ Walker, Martin (1978). The National Front. Fontana Second Edition. p.122 and 124-131
  3. ^ Vallely, Paul (22 February 2002). "The Airey Neave Files". The Independent. London. Retrieved 3 February 2009.
  4. ^ Corera, Gordon (25 June 2012). "Heath Caper: A Czech blackmail plot against Ted Heath?". BBC News. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  5. ^ David Leigh, The Wilson Plot, Heinemann, London 1988
  6. ^ Barrett, David (5 November 2015). "Former MI6 deputy director George Kennedy Young is 'key figure' in missing child abuse dossier, says MP". The Daily Telegraph. London.


  • Young, George K., Masters of Indecision, Methuen, London, 1962.
  • Young, George K., Merchant Banking - Practice & Prospects, London, 1966.
  • Young, George K., Finance and World Power, London, 1968.
  • Young, George K., Who Goes Home, Monday Club, London, May 1969, (P/B).
  • Young, George K., Who is My Liege - Loyalty and Betrayal in our Time, London, 1972.
  • Young, George K., Subversion and the British Riposte, Ossian, Glasgow, 1984, ISBN 0-947621-02-4
  • Young, George K., The Final Testimony of George Kennedy Young, published Lobster Magazine 19, 1990 [1]


  • Copping, Robert, The Story of the Monday Club, Current Affairs Information Service, London, April 1972, (P/B).
  • Various dust-jacket summary biographies.
  • Cavendish, Anthony, Inside Intelligence, Harper Collins, London, 1997
  • Blake, George, No Other Choice, Jonathan Cape, London, 1990

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