Last update: 16 May 2023 - Dernière mise-à-jour: 16 mai 2023
Georges Bégué, MC
1911 - 1993
God Save the Queen La Marseillaise
This website is dedicated to the memory of Georges Bégué. Born in Périgueux (France) on November 22, 1911,
he was a wartime officer in the Special Operations Executive (SOE). He was a key figure in terms of the
SOE establishing a network of British trained agents in France. He died in Falls Church, Virginia, on December 18, 1993.
He was also a loving father and husband.
Georges Bégué was the first SOE Section F agent to successfully parachute into France during the night
of May 5th/6th 1941. He landed between Valençay and Levroux. Having trained as a "pianist" (or wireless
operator), he was the crucial link in the development of several networks of SOE agents which
provided a powerful focus of resistance activities.
He is also credited with the invention of the
system of using messages personnels to embed coded messages for SOE agents - messages personnels were broadcast in the
overseas services of the B.B.C. You can watch this
BBC report on the attribution of the use of
messages personnels for coded messages to Georges Bégué.
On October 24th, following 4 days of arrests from setting up a mousetrap at the Villa des Bois in Marseilles,
Georges Bégué was captured by the Vichy police. Approximately 10 SOE agents were arrested and sent
to Beleyme prison in Périgueux where the poorest of environmental conditions prevailed. Thanks to an
intervention by the U.S. embassy in Vichy, the group was transferred during March 1942 to the prison camp
in Mauzac. With
well-laid plans worked out by Mme Bloch outside and Georges Bégué inside (which included his making
a duplicate key based on individuals' observations of the actual key), the group escaped on July 16, 1942.
They were given provisional shelter 30 miles away from Mauzac in the middle of a forest. On July 23, they
then proceeded in groups of two to Lyons after which they proceeded through the Pyrenées into Spain.
Although the group which included Georges Bégué was caught in the train at Figueras and interned at
Franco's notorious camp at Miranda do Ebro, they did finally reach England. Their escape was made into a
television movie called "Adieu Mauzac - Part I"
and "Adieu Mauzac - Part II" -
(if you click on the links, you will be redirected to the hour-long YouTube movies/videos featuring
Georges Bégué and his experiences in wartime France starting with his first landing in Valençay in
May 1941 - this French documentary was produced in B/W in the early 1970's.)
Most interestingly, you can view and
hear George Bégué being interviewed in a later segment of the "Adieu Mauzac" movie from 1970.
Once back in England in October 1942, Georges Bégué was awarded the MC
and was appointed Signals Officer in F Section under Maurice Buckmaster.
We can find numerous publications with entries which describe the distinguished career enjoyed by Georges Bégué:
In addition to the
Military Cross (MC), Georges Bégué had been appointed MBE (Military) and also to the Légion d'Honneur.
- "The F Section Memorial" - 1992
- "SOE Archives - First Steps by SOE to start Operations in France"
- "Daily Telegraph - January 29, 1994"
- "The Times - February 2, 1994"
- "British Paper Article - circa 1943"
- "La lune est pleine d'éléphants verts" - 1979
- "SOE in France" by M.R.D Foot - 1966
- "An Army of Amateurs" by Philippe de Vomécourt, Doubleday
& Company, Inc - 1961
- "F Section, SOE - The Buckmaster Networks" by Marcel Ruby,
Leo Cooper Ltd - 1988
- "Inside S.O.E. - The Story of Special Operations in Western
Europe 1940-1945" by E.H. Cookridge, Arthur Barker Ltd, 1966
- "The Resistance - World War II" by Russell Miller - 1979
- "Between Silk and Cyanide - The Story of SOE's Code War" by Leo Marks - 1998
- SOE Action in France:
- Articles in the "Icare - Revue de l'aviation française - SALON 1971" whose editorial states: "UN HOMMAGE A MAX HYMANS
pour le dixième anniversaire de sa disparition. Nous nous sommes
employés à réunir un grand nombre de ceux qui ont eu le privilège de le connaître, quelles que soient
leurs opinions, en nous inspirant de cette ouverture d'esprit dont a su faire preuve, tout au long de
sa vie et de sa carrière, Max Hymans serviteur de l'Etat, homme de la Résistance et pour finir président
d'Air France unanimement regretté.". A good number of articles were basically a tribute to Max Hymans for his contributions to the aviation
industry and the French Résistance. It turns out that there are a number of articles related
to the Resistance/SOE including one from Georges Bégué. These are provided below in the order they appear in the publication:
- "Undercover - The Men and Women of the SOE" by Patrick Howarth, 1980.
Medals awarded to Georges Bégué during his years of distinguished service
Georges Bégué's "Carte de Résistant" - dated 15 April 1946
To learn more about what it meant to be a "pianist" or SOE wireless operator in the field during WWII,
please consult this extract from M.R.D Foot's book "SOE in France".
Aside from operating a Type B Mark II radio as the one below, Georges Bégué also had experience with
the much lighter Type A Mark III, the Paraset
and the more compact MCR-1 (often called the "biscuit" as it could be concealed
in a biscuit tin).
Suitcase radio which belonged to Georges Bégué - Type B MK II
(He would have taken a similar model with him in 1941 - it weighed over 32 lbs!)
Silk code as those used by Georges Bégué in WWII
Georges Bégué during happiest of times in France, likely in the mid to late 1930's.
Georges Bégué (right) with wife Rosemary and Cadet (left) - early 1940's
Rosemary Bégué explaining some correspondence sent to her husband (May 1999)
Daughter Brigitte showing one of her father's many medals (May 1999)
Rosemary & Brigitte with their warm smiles and charm! (May 1999)
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